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ID Date Author Type Categoryup Subject
  14429   Sat Feb 2 21:53:24 2019 KojiUpdateVACovernight leak rate

The pressure of the main volume increased from ~1mtorr to 50mtorr for the past 24 hours (86ksec). This rate is about x1000 of the reported number on Jan 10. Do we suspect vacuum leak?


Overnight, the pressure increased from 247 uTorr to 264 uTorr over a period of 30000 seconds. Assuming an IFO volume of 33,000 liters, this corresponds to an average leak rate of ~20 uTorr L / s.


Attachment 1: Screen_Shot_2019-02-02_at_21.49.33.png
  14430   Sun Feb 3 15:15:21 2019 gautamUpdateVACovernight leak rate

I looked into this a bit today. Did a walkthrough of the lab, didn't hear any obvious hissing (makes sense, that presumably would signal a much larger leak rate).

Attachment #1: Data from the 30 ksec we had the main vol valved off on Jan 10, but from the gauges we have running right now (the CC gauges have not had their HV enabled yet so we don't have that readback).

Attachment #2: Data from ~150 ksec from Friday night till now.

Interpretation: The number quoted from Jan 10 is from the cold-cathode gauge (~20 utorr increase). In the same period, the Pirani gauge reports a increase of ~5 mtorr (=250x the number reported by the cold-cathode gauge). So which gauge do we trust in this regime more? Additionally, the rate at which the annuli pressures are increasing seem consistent between Jan 10 and now, at ~100 mtorr every 30 ksec.

I don't think this is conclusive, but at least the leak rates between Jan 10 and now don't seem that different for the annuli pressures. Moreover, for the Jan 10 pumpdown, we had the IFO at low pressure for several days over the chirstmas break, which presumably gave time for some outgassing which was cleaned up by the TPs on Jan 10, whereas for this current pumpdown, we don't have that luxury.

Do we want to do a systematic leak check before resuming the pumpdown on Monday? The main differences in vacuum I can think of are

  1. Two pieces of Kapton tape are now in the EY chamber.
  2. Possible resiudue from cleaning solvents in IY and EY chambers are still outgassing.

This entry by Steve says that the "expected" outgassing rate is 3-5 mtorr per day, which doesn't match either the current observation or that from Jan 10.

Attachment 1: Jan10_data.png
Attachment 2: Feb1_data.png
  14431   Sun Feb 3 20:52:34 2019 KojiUpdateVACovernight leak rate

We can pump down (or vent) annuli. If this is the leak between the main volume and the annuli, we will be able to see the effect on the leak rate. If this is the leak of an  outer o-ring, again pumping down (or venting) of the annuli should temporarily decrease (or increase) the leak rate..., I guess. If the leak rate is not dependent on the pressure of the annuli, we can conclude that it is internal outgassing.

  14432   Mon Feb 4 12:23:24 2019 gautamUpdateVACpumpdown 83 - leak tests

[koji, gautam]

As planned, we valved off the main volume and the annuli from the turbo-pumps at ~730 PM PST. At this time, the main volume pressure was 30 uTorr. It started rising at a rate of ~200 uTorr/hr, which translates to ~5 mtorr/day, which is in the ballpark of what Steve said is "normal". However, the calibration of the Hornet gauge seems to be piecewise-linear (see Attachment #1), so we will have to observe overnight to get a better handle on this number.

We decided to vent the IY and EY chamber annular volumes, and check if this made anu dramatic changes in the main volume pressure increase rate, presumably signalling a leak from the outside. However, we saw no such increase - so right now, the working hypothesis is still that the main volume pressure increase is being driven by outgassing of something from the vacuum.

Let's leave things in this state overnight - V1 and V5 closed so that neither the main volume nor the annuli are being pumped, and get some baseline numbers for what the outgassing rate is.

Attachment 1: PD83.png
  14434   Tue Feb 5 10:11:30 2019 gautamUpdateVACleak tests complete, pumpdown 83 resumed

I guess we forgot to close V5, so we were indeed pumping on the ITMY and ETMY annuli, but the other three were isolated suggest a leak rate of ~200-300 mtorr/day, see Attachment #1 (consistent with my earlier post).

As for the main volume - according to CC1, the pressure saturates at ~250 uTorr and is stable, while the Pirani P1a reports ~100x that pressure. I guess the cold-cathode gauge is supposed to be more accurate at low pressures, but how well do we believe the calibration on either gauge? Either ways, based on last night's test (see Attachment #2), we can set an upper limit of 12 mtorr/day. This is 2-3x the number Steve said is normal, but perhaps this is down to the fact that the outgassing from the main volume is higher immediately after a vent and in-chamber work. It is also 5x lower rate of pressure increase than what was observed on Feb 2.

I am resuming the pumping down with the turbo-pumps, let's see how long we take to get down to the nominal operating pressure of 8e-6 torr, it ususally takes ~ 1 week. V1, VASV, VASE and VABS were opened at 1030am PST. Per Chub's request (see #14435), I ran RP1 and RP3 for ~30 seconds, he will check if the oil level has changed.


Let's leave things in this state overnight - V1 and V5 closed so that neither the main volume nor the annuli are being pumped, and get some baseline numbers for what the outgassing rate is.

Attachment 1: Annuli.png
Attachment 2: MainVol.png
  14436   Tue Feb 5 19:30:14 2019 gautamUpdateVACMain volume at 20 uTorr

Pumpdown looks healthy, so I'm leaving the TPs on overnight. At some point, we should probably get the RGA going again. I don't know that we have a "reference" RGA trace that we can compare the scan to, should check with Steve. The high power (1 W) beam has not yet been sent into the vacuum, we should probably add the interlock condition that shuts off the PSL shutter before that.

Attachment 1: PD83.png
  14438   Thu Feb 7 13:55:25 2019 gautamUpdateVACRGA turned on

[chub, steve, gautam]

Steve came by the lab today. He advised us to turn the RGA on again, now that the main volume pressure is < 20 uTorr. I did this by running the RGAset.py script on c0rga - the temperature of the unit was 22C in the morning, after ~3 hours of the filament being turned on, the temperature has already risen to 34 C. Steve says this is normal. We also opened VM1 (I had to edit the interlocks.yaml to allow VM1 to open when CC1 < 20uTorr instead of 10uTorr), so that the RGA volume is exposed to the main volume. So the nightly scans should run now, Steve suggests ignoring the first few while the pumpdown is still reaching nominal pressure. Note that we probably want to migrate all the RGA stuff to the new c1vac machine.

Other notes from Steve:

  • RP1 and RP3 should have their oil fully changed (as opposed to just topped up)
  • VABSSCI adn VABSSCO are NOT vent valves, they are isolating the annuli of the IOO and OMC chambers from the BS chamber annuli. So next time we vent, we should fix this!
  • Leak rate of 3-5 mTorr/day is "normal" once the system has been pumped for a few days. Steve agrees that our observations of the main volume pressure increase is expected, given that we were at atmosphere.
  • Regarding the upcoming CES construction
    • Steve recommends keeping the door along the east arm, as it is useful for bringing equipment into the lab (end door access is limited because of end optical tables)
    • Particle counter data logging should be resumed before the construction starts, so that we can monitor if the lab is getting dirtier
  • OSEM filters (new ones, i.e. made according to spects in D000209) are in the Clean Cabinet (EX). They are individually packaged in little capsules, see Attachment #1. So the ones I installed were actually a 2002 vintage. We have 50pcs, enough to install new ones on all the core optics + spares.
  14440   Thu Feb 7 19:28:46 2019 gautamUpdateVACIFO recovery

[rana, gautam]

The full 1 W is again being sent into the IMC. We have left the PBS+HWP combo installed as Rana pointed out that it is good to have polarization control after the PMC but before the EOM. The G&H mirror setup used to route a pickoff of the post-EOM beam along the east edge of the PSL table to the AUX laser beat setup was deemed too flaky and has been bypassed. Centering on the steering mirror and subsequently the IMC REFL photodiode was done using an IR viewer - this technique allows one to geometrically center the beam on the steering mirror and PD, to the resolution of the eye, whereas the voltage maximization technique using the monitor port and an o'scope doesn't allow the former. Nominal IMC transmission of ~15,000 counts has been recovered, and the IMC REFL level is also around 0.12, consistent with the pre-vent levels.

  14452   Thu Feb 14 15:37:35 2019 gautamUpdateVACVacromag failure

[chub, gautam]


One of the XT1111 units (XT1111a) in the new vacuum system has malfunctioned. So all valves are closed, PSL shutter is also closed, until this is resolved.


  1. Chub alerted me he had changed the main N2 line pressure, but this did not show up in the trend data. In fact, the trend data suggested that all 3 N2 gauges had stopped logging data (they just held the previous value) since sometime on Monday, see Attachment #1.
  2. We verified that the gauges were being powered, and that the analog voltage output of the gauges made sense in the drill press room ---> So this suggested something was wrong at the Vacuum rack electronics rack.
  3. Went to the vacuum rack, saw no obvious indicator lights signalling a fault.
  4. So I restarted the modbus process on c1vac using sudo systemctl restart modbusIOC.service. The way Jon has this setup, this service controls all the sub-processes talking to gauges and TPs, so resatrting this master process should have brought everything back.
  5. This tripped the interlock, and all valves got closed.
  6. Once the modbus service restarted, most things came back normally. However, V1, V3, V4 and V5 readbacks were listed as "UNDEF".
  7. The way the interlock code works, it checks a valve state change request against the monitor channel, so all these valves could not be opened.
  8. We confirmed that the valves themselves were operational, by bypassing the itnerlock logic and directly actuating on the valve - but this is not a safe way of running overnight so we decided to shut everything down.
  9. We also confirmed that the problem is with one particular Acromag unit - switching the readback Dsub connector to another channel (e.g. V1 --> VM2) showed the expected readback.
  10. As a further check - I connected a windows laptop with the Acromag software installed, to the suspected XT1111 - it reported an error message saying "USB device may be damaged". Plugging into another XT111 in the crate, I was able to access the unit in the normal way.
  11. The phoenix connector architecture of the Acromags makes it possible to replace this single unit (we have spare XT1111 units) without disturbing the whole system - so barring objections, we plan to do this at 9am tomorrow. The replacement plan is summarized in Attachment #2.

Pressure of the main volume seems to have stabilized - see Attachment #3, so it should be fine to leave the IFO in this state overnight.


  1. What caused the original failure of the writing to the ADC channels hooked up to the N2 gauges? There isn't any logging setup from the modbus processes afaik.
  2. What caused the failure of the XT1111? What is the failure mode even? Because some other channels on the same XT1111 are working...
  3. Was it user error? The only operation carried out by me was restarting the modbus services - how did this damage the readback channels for just four valves? I think Chub also re-arranged some wires at the end, but unplugging/re-connecting some cables shouldn't produce this kind of response...

The whole point of the upgrade was to move to a more reliable system - but seems quite flaky already.

Attachment 1: Screenshot_from_2019-02-14_15-40-36.png
Attachment 2: IMG_7320.JPG
Attachment 3: Screenshot_from_2019-02-14_20-43-15.png
  14453   Thu Feb 14 18:16:24 2019 JonUpdateVACVacromag failure

I sent Gautam instructions to first try stopping the modbus service, power cycling the Acromag chassis, then restarting the service. I've seen the Acromags go into an unresponsive state after a strong electrical transient or shorted signal wires, and the unit has to be power cycled to be reset.

If this doesn't resolve it, I'll come in tomorrow to help with the Acromag replacement. We have plenty of spares.


[chub, gautam]


One of the XT1111 units (XT1111a) in the new vacuum system has malfunctioned. So all valves are closed, PSL shutter is also closed, until this is resolved.


  14456   Fri Feb 15 11:58:45 2019 JonUpdateVACVac system is back up

The problem encountered with the vac controls was indeed resolved via the recommendation I posted yesterday. The Acromags had gone into a protective state (likely caused by an electrical transient in one of the signals) that could only be cleared by power cycling the units. After resetting the system, the main volume pressure dropped quickly and is now < 2e-5 torr, so normal operations can resume. For future reference, below is the procedure to safely reset these units from a trouble state.

Vacromag Reset Procedure

  • TP2 and TP3 can be left running, but isolate them by closing valves V4 and V5.
  • TP1 can also be left running, but manually flip the operation mode on the front of the controller from REMOTE to LOCAL. This prevents the pump from receiving a "stop" command when its control Acromag shuts down.
  • Close all the pneumatic valves in the system (they'll otherwise close automatically when their control Acromags shut down).
  • On c1vac, stop the modbusIOC service. Sometimes this takes ~1 min to actually terminate.
  • Turn off the Acromags by flipping the "24 V" on the back of the chassis.
  • Wait ~10 sec, then turn them back on.
  • Start the modbusIOC service. It may take up to ~1 min for all the readings on the MEDM screen to initialize.
  • Ensure that the rotation speed of TP1,2,3 are still all nominal.
  • If pumps are OK, open V4, V5, and V7, then open V1. This restores the system to the "Maximum pumping speed" state.
  • Flip the TP1 controller operation state back to REMOTE.
  14458   Fri Feb 15 18:41:18 2019 ranaUpdateVACVac system is back up

If the acromags lock up whenever there is an electrical spike, shouldn't we have them on UPS to smooth out these ripples? And wasn't the idea to have some handshake/watchdog system to avoid silently dying computers?


The problem encountered with the vac controls was indeed resolved via the recommendation I posted yesterday. The Acromags had gone into a protective state (likely caused by an electrical transient in one of the signals)

  14460   Fri Feb 15 19:50:09 2019 ranaUpdateVACVac system is back up

The acromags are on the UPS. I suspect the transient came in on one of the signal lines. Chub tells me he unplugged one of the signal cables from the chassis around the time things died on Monday, although we couldn't reproduce the problem doing that again today.

In this situation it wasn't the software that died, but the acromag units themselves. I have an idea to detect future occurrences using a "blinker" signal. One acromag outputs a periodic signal which is directly sensed by another acromag. The can be implemented as another polling condition enforced by the interlock code.


If the acromags lock up whenever there is an electrical spike, shouldn't we have them on UPS to smooth out these ripples? And wasn't the idea to have some handshake/watchdog system to avoid silently dying computers?


The problem encountered with the vac controls was indeed resolved via the recommendation I posted yesterday. The Acromags had gone into a protective state (likely caused by an electrical transient in one of the signals)


  14461   Fri Feb 15 20:07:02 2019 JonUpdateVACUpdated vacuum punch list

While working on the vac controls today, I also took care of some of the remaining to-do items. Below is a summary of what was done, and what still remains.

Completed today

  • TP2/3 overcurrent interlock raised from 1 to 1.2 A. This was tripping during normal operation as the pump accelerates from low-speed (standby) to normal-speed mode.
  • Interlock conditions on VABSSCO/VABSSCI removed. Per discussion with Steve, these are not vent valves, but rather isolation valves between the BS/IOO/OMC annuli. The interlocks were preventing the valves from opening, and hence the IOO and OMC annuli from being pumped.
  • Channel exposed for interlocking in-vacuum high-voltage drivers. The channel name is C1:Vac-interlock_high_voltage. The vac interlock service sets this channel's value to 0 when the main volume pressure is in the range 3 mtorr-500 torr, and to 1 otherwise.
  • Annuli pumping integrated into the set of recognized states. "Vacuum normal" now refers to TP1 and TP2 pumping on the main volume AND TP3 pumping on all the annuli. The system is currently running in this state.
  • TP1 lowered to the nominal speed setting recommended by Steve: 33.6 krpm (560 Hz).

Still remaining

  • Implement a "blinker" input-output signal loop between two Acromags to detect hardware failures like the one today.
  • Add an AC power monitor to sense extended power losses and automatically put the system into safe shutdown.
  • Migrate the RGA to c1vac. Still some issues getting the serial comm working.
  • Troubleshoot the SuperBee (backup) main volume Parani gauge. It has not communicated with c1vac since a serial adapter was replaced two weeks ago. Chub thinks the gauge was possibly damaged by arcing during the replacement.
  • Scripting for more automated pumpdowns.
  • Generate a bootable backup hard drive for c1vac, which could be swapped in on a short time scale after a failure.
  14462   Fri Feb 15 21:15:42 2019 gautamUpdateVACdd backup of c1vac made
  1. Connected one of the solid-state drives to c1vac. It was /dev/sdb.
  2. Formatted the drive using sudo mkfs -t ext4 /dev/sdb
  3.  Mounted it as /mnt/backup using sudo mount /dev/sdb /mnt/backup
  4. Started a tmux session for the dd, called DDbackup
  5. Started the dd backup using  sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=64K conv=noerror,sync
  6. Backup completed in 719 seconds: need to test if it works...
controls@c1vac:~$ sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=64K conv=noerror,sync
[sudo] password for controls: 
^C283422+0 records in
283422+0 records out
18574344192 bytes (19 GB) copied, 719.699 s, 25.8 MB/s
  • Generate a bootable backup hard drive for c1vac, which could be swapped in on a short time scale after a failure.
  14487   Wed Mar 20 12:31:30 2019 JonUpdateVACDoing vac controls work

I'm rebooting the IOLAN server to load new serial ports. The interlocks might trip when the pressure gauge readbacks cut out.

  14488   Wed Mar 20 19:26:25 2019 JonUpdateVACProtection against AC power loss

Today I implemented protection of the vac system against extended power losses. Previously, the vac controls system (both old and new) could not communicate with the APC Smart-UPS 2200 providing backup power. This was not an issue for short glitches, but for extended outages the system had no way of knowing it was running on dwindling reserve power. An intelligent system should sense the outage and put the IFO into a controlled shutdown, before the batteries are fully drained.

What enabled this was a workaround Gautam and I found for communicating with the UPS serially. Although the UPS has a serial port, neither the connector pinout nor the low-level command protocol are released by APC. The only official way to communicate with the UPS is through their high-level PowerChute software. However, we did find "unofficial" documentation of APC's protocol. Using this information, I was able to interface the the UPS to the IOLAN serial device server. This allowed the UPS status to be queried using the same Python/TCP sockets model as all the other serial devices (gauges, pumps, etc.). I created a new service called "serial_UPS.service" to persistently run this Python process like the others. I added a new EPICS channel "C1:Vac-UPS_status" which is updated by this process.

With all this in place, I added new logic to the interlock.py code which closes all valves and stops all pumps in the event of a power failure. To be conservative, this interlock is also tripped when the communications link with the UPS is disconnected (i.e., when the power state becomes unknown). I tested the new conditions against both communication failure (by disconnecting the serial cable) and power failure (by pressing the "Test" button on the UPS front panel). This protects TP2 and TP3. However, I discovered that TP1---the pump that might be most damaged by a sudden power failure---is not on the UPS. It's plugged directly into a 240V outlet along the wall. This is because the current UPS doesn't have any 240V sockets. I'd recommend we get one that can handle all the turbo pumps.

For future reference:

Pin 1: RxD

Pin 2: TxD

Pin 5: GND

Standard: RS-232

Baud rate: 2400

Data bits: 8

Parity: none

Stop bits: 1

Handshaking: none



Attachment 1: IMG_3146.jpg
  14489   Wed Mar 20 20:07:22 2019 JonUpdateVACDoing vac controls work

Work is completed and the vac system is back in its nominal state.


I'm rebooting the IOLAN server to load new serial ports. The interlocks might trip when the pressure gauge readbacks cut out.


  14490   Thu Mar 21 12:46:22 2019 JonUpdateVACMore vac controls upgrades

The vac controls system is going down for migration from Python 2.7 to 3.4. Will advise when it is back up.

  14491   Thu Mar 21 17:22:52 2019 JonUpdateVACMore vac controls upgrades

I've converted all the vac control system code to run on Python 3.4, the latest version available through the Debian package manager. Note that these codes now REQUIRE Python 3.x. We decided there was no need to preserve Python 2.x compatibility. I'm leaving the vac system returned to its nominal state ("vacuum normal + RGA").


The vac controls system is going down for migration from Python 2.7 to 3.4. Will advise when it is back up.


  14494   Thu Mar 21 21:50:31 2019 ranaUpdateVACProtection against AC power loss

agreed - we need all pumps on UPS for their safety and also so that we can spin them down safely. Can you and Chub please find a suitable UPS?


However, I discovered that TP1---the pump that might be most damaged by a sudden power failure---is not on the UPS. It's plugged directly into a 240V outlet along the wall. This is because the current UPS doesn't have any 240V sockets. I'd recommend we get one that can handle all the turbo pumps.

  14509   Tue Apr 2 18:40:01 2019 gautamUpdateVACVac failure

While glancing at my Vacuum striptool, I noticed that the IFO pressure is 2e-4 torr. There was an "AC power loss" reported by C1Vac about 4 hours (14:07 local time) ago. We are investigating. I closed the PSL shutter.

Jon and I investigated at the vacuum rack. The UPS was reporting a normal status ("On Line"). Everything looked normal so we attempted to bring the system back to the nominal state. But TP2 drypump was making a loud rattling noise, and the TP2 foreline pressure was not coming down at a normal rate. We wonder if the TP2 drypump has somehow been damaged - we leave it for Chub to investigate and give a more professional assessment of the situation and what the appropriate course of action is.

The PSL shutter will remain closed overning, and the main volume and annuli are valved off. We spun up TP1 and TP3 and decided to leave them on (but they have negligible load).

Attachment 1: vacFail.png
  14511   Wed Apr 3 09:07:46 2019 gautamUpdateVACVac failure

Overnight pressure trends don't suggest anything went awry after the initial interlock trip. Some watchdog script that monitors vacuum pressure and closes the PSL shutter in the event of pressure exceeding some threshold needs to be implemented. Another pending task is to make sure that backup disk for c1vac actually is bootable and is a plug-and-play replacement.

Attachment 1: vacFailOvernight.png
  14512   Wed Apr 3 10:42:36 2019 gautamUpdateVACTP2 forepump replaced

Bob and Chub concluded that the drypump that serves as TP2's forepump had failed. Steve had told me the whereabouts of a spare Agilent IDP-7. This was meant to be a replacement for the TP3 foreline pump when it failed, but we decided to swap it in while diagnosing the failed drypump (which had 2182 hours continuous running according to the hour counter). Sure enough, the spare pump spun up and the TP2fl pressure dropped at a rate consistent with what is expected. I was then able to spin up TP1, TP2 and TP3. 

However, when opening V4 (the foreline of TP1 pumped by TP2), I heard a loud repeated click track (~5Hz) from the electronics rack. Shortly after, the interlocks shut down all the TPs again, citing "AC power loss". Something is not right, I leave it to Jon and Chub to investigate.

  14514   Wed Apr 3 16:17:17 2019 JonUpdateVACTP2 forepump replaced

I can't explain the mechanical switching sound Gautam reported. The relay controlling power to the TP2 forepump is housed in the main AC relay box under the arm tube, not in the Acromag chassis, so it can't be from that. I've cycled through the pumpdown sequence several times and can't reproduce the effect. The Acromag switches for TP2 still work fine.

In any case, I've made modifications to the vacuum interlocks that will help with two of the issues:

  1. For the "AC power loss" over-triggering: New logic added requiring the UPS to be out of the "on line power, battery OK" state for ~5 seconds before tripping the interlock. This will prevent electrical transients from triggering an emergency shutdown, as seems to be the case here (the UPS briefly isolates the load to battery during such events).
  2. PSL interlocking: New logic added which directly sets C1:AUX-PSL_ShutterRqst --> 0 (closes the PSL shutter) when the main volume pressure is 3 mtorr-500 torr. Previously there was a channel exposed for this interlock (C1:Vac-interlock_high_voltage), but c1aux was not actually monitoring it. Following the convention of every vac interlock, after the PSL shutter has been closed, it has to be manually reopened. Once the pressure is out of this range, the vac system will stop blocking the shutter from reopening, but it will not perform the reopen action itself. gautam: a separate interlock logic needs to be implemented on c1aux (the shutter machine) that only permits the shutter to be opened if the Vac pressure range is okay. The SUS watchdog style AND logic in the EPICS database file should work just fine.

After finishing this vac work, I began a new pumpdown at ~4:30pm. The pressure fell quickly and has already reached ~1e-5 torr. TP2 current and temp look fine.


However, when opening V4 (the foreline of TP1 pumped by TP2), I heard a loud repeated click track (~5Hz) from the electronics rack. Shortly after, the interlocks shut down all the TPs again, citing "AC power loss". Something is not right, I leave it to Jon and Chub to investigate.

Attachment 1: IMG_3180.jpg
  14515   Wed Apr 3 18:35:54 2019 gautamUpdateVACPSL shutter re-opened

PSL shutter was re-opened at 6pm local time. IMC was locked. As of 10pm, the main volume pressure is already back down to the 8e-6 level.

  14517   Fri Apr 5 01:10:18 2019 gautamUpdateVACTP3 forepump is also noisy

Is this one close to failure as well?

  14546   Tue Apr 16 22:06:51 2019 gautamUpdateVACVac interlock tripped again

This happened again, about 30,000 seconds (~2:06pm local time according to the logfile) ago. The cited error was the same -

2019-04-16 14:06:05,538 - C1:Vac-error_status => VA6 closed. AC power loss.

Hard to believe there was any real power loss, nothing else in the lab seems to have been affected so I am inclined to suspect a buggy UPS communication channel. The PSL shutter was not closed - I believe the condition is for P1a to exceed 3 mtorr (it is at 1 mtorr right now), but perhaps this should be modified to close the PSL shutter in the event of any interlock tripping. Also, probably not a bad idea to send an email alert to the lab mailing list in the event of a vac interlock failure.

For tonight, I only plan to work with the EX ALS system anyways so I'm closing the PSL shutter, I'll work with Chub to restore the vacuum if he deems it okay tomorrow.

Attachment 1: Screenshot_from_2019-04-16_22-05-47.png
Attachment 2: Screenshot_from_2019-04-16_22-06-02.png
  14550   Wed Apr 17 18:12:06 2019 gautamUpdateVACVac interlock tripped again

After getting the go ahead from Chub and Jon, I restored the Vacuum state to "Vacuum normal", see Attachment #1. Steps:

  1. Interlock code modifications
    • Backed up /opt/target/python/interlocks/interlock_conditions.yaml to /opt/target/python/interlocks/interlock_conditions_UPS.yaml
    • The "power_loss" condition was removed for every valve and pump inside /opt/target/python/interlocks/interlock_conditions.yaml
    • The interlock service was restarted using sudo systemctl restart interlock.service
    • Looking at the status of the service, I saw that it was dying ~ every 1 second.
    • Traced this down to a problem in/opt/target/python/interlocks/interlock_conditions.yaml  when the "pump_managers" are initialized - the way this is coded up, doesn't play nice if there are no conditions specified in the yaml file. For now, I just commented this part out. The git diff  below:
  2. Restoring vacuum normal:
    • Spun up TP1, TP2 and TP3
    • Opened up foreline of TP1 to TP2, and then opened main volume to TP1
    • Opened up annulus foreline to TP3, and then opened the individual annular volumes to TP3.
controls@c1vac:/opt/target/python/interlocks$ git diff interlock.py
diff --git a/python/interlocks/interlock.py b/python/interlocks/interlock.py
index 28d3366..46a39fc 100755
--- a/python/interlocks/interlock.py
+++ b/python/interlocks/interlock.py
@@ -52,8 +52,8 @@ class Interlock(object):
         self.pumps = []
         for pump in interlocks['pumps']:
             pm = PumpManager(pump['name'])
-            for condition in pump['conditions']:
-                pm.register_condition(*condition)
+            #for condition in pump['conditions']:
+            #    pm.register_condition(*condition)

So far the pressure is coming down smoothly, see Attachment #2. I'll keep an eye on it.

PSL shutter was opened at 645pm local time. IMC locked almost immediately.

Update 11pm: The pressure has reached 8.5e-6 torr without hiccup. 

Attachment 1: Screenshot_from_2019-04-17_18-11-45.png
Attachment 2: Screenshot_from_2019-04-17_18-21-30.png
  14574   Thu Apr 25 10:32:39 2019 JonUpdateVACVac interlocks updated

I slightly cleaned up Gautam's disabling of the UPS-predicated vac interlock and restarted the interlock service. This interlock is intended to protect the turbo pumps after a power outage, but it has proven disruptive to normal operations with too many false triggers. It will be reenabled once a new UPS has been installed. For now, as it has been since 2001, the vac pumps are unprotected against an extended power outage.

  14575   Thu Apr 25 11:27:11 2019 gautamUpdateVACPSL shutter re-opened

This activity seems to have closed the PSL shutter (actually I'm not sure why that happened - the interlock should only trip if P1a exceeds 3 mtorr, and looking at the time series for the last 2 hours, it did not ever exceed this threshold). I saw no reason for it to remain closed so I re-opened it just now.

I vote for not remotely rebooting any of the vacuum / PSL subsystems. In the event of something going catastrophically wrong, someone should be on hand to take action in the lab.

  14631   Wed May 22 22:50:13 2019 gautamUpdateVACPumpdown prep

I did the following:

  1. Checked the ETMY OSEM sensing matrix and OSEM actuation matrix - more on this later, but everything seems much more reasonable than it was prior to this vent.
  2. Checked that the IMC could be locked with the low-power beam
  3. Aligned the Y-arm cavity using the green beam. Then tweaked the TT1/TT2 alignment until I saw IR flashes in TRY.
  4. Repeated #2 for the X arm, using the BS to control the beam pointing.
  5. Confirmed that the AS beam makes it out of the vacuum. It is only ~30uW in a large (~1cm dia) beam, so not the clearest spot on an IR card, but looks pretty clean, no evidence of clipping. I removed an ND filter on the AS port camera in order to better see the beam on the CRT monitor, this should be re-installed prior to ramping the input power to the IMC again.
  6. With the PRM aligned, I confirmed that I could see resonant flashes in the POP QPD.
  7. With the SRM aligned, I confirmed that I could see SRC cavity flashes on the AS camera.

I think this completes the pre-pumpdown alignment checks we usually do. The detailed plan for tomorrow is here: please have a look and lmk if I missed something. 

  14634   Thu May 23 15:30:56 2019 gautamUpdateVACPumpdown underway - so far so good!

[chub, koji, gautam]

  1. We executed the pre-pumpdown tasks per the checklist - heavy doors were on by ~1030am.
  2. We were thwarted by the display of c1vac becoming unresponsive - the mouse cursor moves, but we could not interact with any screens. Connecting to c1vac by ssh with the -X option, we could interact with everything. Using top, we saw that the load average was reporting ~8 - this is pretty high! The most demanding processes were the modbus IOC and some python processes, presumably connected with the interlocks. We tried stopping the interlock systemctl process, kill -9ing the heavy processes, but to no avail. Next, we tried killing the X display proces, but this also did not fix the problem. Finally, we did a soft reboot of c1vac - the machine came back up, but still no interactivity. So we moved asia, the EY laptop, to the vacuum station for this pumpdown. We will fix the situation once the vacuum is in the nominal state.
  3. The actual pumpdown commenced by first evacuating the EY and IY annular volumes with the roughing pump. There is an interlock condition that prevents V6 from being opened if the PRP gauge reports < 0.25 torr (this is to protect against oil backstreaming from the roughing pumps I believe). To get around this, we gave the roughing pumps some work by exposing the annular line to the atmospheric pressure of the EY and IY annuli. In a few minutes, both of these reported < 1 torr.
  4. Main volume pumping started around noon - we have been going down in pressure steadily at ~3 torr/min (Koji has a nice python utility made that calculates the rate from the pressure channel).
  5. At the time of writing, after ~3.5 hrs of pumping, we are at 25 torr. I will keep going till ~1 torr, and then valve off the main volume until tomorrow, when Chub and I will work on getting the turbo pumps exposed to the main volume. Pausing at 355pm while I go for the colloquium. Resumed later in the evening, stopping for today at 500 mtorr.
  6. In preparation for the increased load on TP2 and TP3, I spun them up to the "high RPM mode" from their nominal "Standby mode".

Close up photos of the EY and IY chambers may be found here.

Update on the display manager of c1vac: I was able to get it working again by running sudo systemctl restart display-manager. Now I can interact with the MEDM screens on c1vac. It is a bit annoying that this machine doesn't have the users directory so I don't have access to the many convenient StripTool templates though - maybe I'll make local copies tomorrow for the pumpdown.

Attachment 1: pumpdownPres.png
  14636   Fri May 24 11:47:15 2019 gautamUpdateVACIFO is almost at nominal vacuum

[chub, gautam]

Overnight, the pressure of the main volume only rose by 10 mtorr, so there was no need to run the roughing pumps again. So we went straight to the turbos - hooked up the AUX drypump and set it up to back TP2. Initially, we tried having both TP2 and TP3 act as backing pumps for TP1, but the wimpy TP3 current was always passing the interlock threshold. So we decided to pump down with TP3 valved off, only TP2 backing TP1. This went smooth - we had to keep an eye on P2, to make sure it stayed below 1 torr. It took ~ 1 hour to go from 500 mtorr to 100 mtorr, but after that, I could almost immediately open up RV2 completely. A safe setting to run at seems to be to have RV2 open by between 0.5 and 1 turn (out of the full range of 7 turns) until the pressure drops to ~100 mtorr. Then we can crank it open. We are, at the time of writing, at ~8e-5 torr and the pressure is coming down steadily.

I had to manually clear the IG error on the CC1 gauge, and re-enabled the High Voltage, so that we have a readback of the main volume pressure in that range. I made a script to do this (enable the HV, the IG error still has to be cleared by pushing the appropriate buttons on the Hornet), it lives at /opt/target/python/serial/turnHornetON.py. I guess it'll take a few days to hit 8e-6 torr, but I don't see any reason to not leave the turbos running over the weekend.

Remaining tasks are (i) disconnect the roughing pump line and (ii) pump down the annuli, which will be done later today. Both were done at ~2pm, now we are in the vacuum normal config. I'll turn the two small turbos to run on "Standby Mode" before I head home today. I think TP3 may be close to end-of-life - the TP3 current went up to 1A even while evacuating the small volume of the annular line (which was already at 1 torr) with the AUX drypump backing it. The interlock condition is set to trip at 1.2A, and this pump is nominally supposed to be able to back TP1 during the pumpdown of the main volume from 500 mtorr, which it wasn't able to do.

Attachment 1: pumpdown_20190524.png
  14640   Mon May 27 11:37:13 2019 gautamUpdateVACc1vac is unresponsive

I've been monitoring the status of the pumpdown remotely with ndscope lookbacks of C1:Vac-CC1_pressure. Today morning, I saw that the channel was putting out a constant value (signature of EPICS server being frozen). caget did not work either. Then I tried ssh-ing into c1vac to see if there were any issues but I was unable to. The machine isn't responding to ping either. The EPICS value has been frozen since ~1030pm PDT 26 May 2019.

I will try and head to campus later today to check on it. Isn't an email alert or soemthing supposed to be sent out in such an event?

  14641   Tue May 28 09:51:33 2019 gautamUpdateVACc1vac hard-rebooted

The vacuum itself was fine - CC1 gauge reported a pressure of 1.3e-5 torr. Note to self: the C1:Vac-CC1_HORNET_PRESSURE channel, which is the analog readback of the Hornet gauge and which is hooked up to an Acromag ADC in the c1auxex chassis, is independent of the status of the c1vac machine, and so can serve as a diagnostic.

However, I was unable to interact with c1vac in any way, the monitor hooked up directly to it was showing a frozen display. So I hard-rebooted the system. It took a few minutes to come back online - but even after 10 minutes of waiting, still no display. In the process of the reboot, several valves were closed off - when the EPICS processes restart, there are momentary instances where the readback channels get an "undefined" value, which prompts the main interlock process to transition to a "SAFE" state. 

Running df -h, I saw that the /var partition was completely full. Maybe this was somehow interfering with the machine running smoothly? Two files in particular, daemon.log and daemon.log.1 were ~1GB each. The contents of these files seemed to be just the readbacks for the caget and caput commands. So I cleared both these files, and now the /var partition usage is only 26%. I also got the display back up and running on the physical monitor hooked up to the c1vac machine's VGA port. Let's see if this has improved the stability situation. The CPU load is still high (~6-7), with most of this coming from the modbus process. Why is this so high? c1susaux has more Acromag units but claims a much lower load of 0.71. Is the CPU of the c1vac machine somehow inferior?

In the meantime, I ssh-ed into c1vac and restored the "Vacuum normal" valve config. During this little escapade, the main volume pressure rose to ~6e-5 torr. It's coming back down smoothly.

Unrelated to this work: we had turned the RGA off for the vent, I powered it back on and re-initialized it this morning.

Attachment 1: Screen_Shot_2019-05-31_at_12.44.54_PM.png
  15140   Wed Jan 22 16:19:47 2020 JonUpdateVACTP3 controller errors

Gautam and I debugged a communications problem with TP3 that was causing its python service to fail. We traced the problem back to the querying of the pump controller for its operational parameters (speed, voltage, temp). Some small percentage of the time (~5%, indeterministically), the pump controller is returning an invalid response which causes the service to shut itself down and signal a NO COMM error.

As a temporary fix, I wrapped the failing query in an exception handler to continue past this particular error. However, we suspect the microprocessor in the TP3 controller may be beginning to fail. There is a spare controller sitting right next to it in the vacuum rack. We will ask Chub to install the replacement in the near future.

gautam: this pump is responsible for pumping the annular volume under normal operations. while this problem is being resolved, the annular volume is valved off (as it has been since July 2019 anyway which is when this problem first manifested).

  15279   Wed Mar 18 21:43:26 2020 gautamUpdateVACMain vol pressure jump

There was a jump in the main volume pressure at ~6pm PDT yesterday. The cause is unknown, but the pressure doesn't seem to be coming back down (but also isn't increasing alarmingly).

I wanted to look at the RGA scans to see if there were any clues as to what changed, but looks like the daily RGA scans stopped updating on Dec 24 2019. The c0rga machine responsible for running these scans doesn't respond to ssh. Not much to be done until the lockdown is over i guess...

Attachment 1: VacPresJump.png
  15280   Wed Mar 18 22:10:41 2020 KojiUpdateVACMain vol pressure jump

I was in the lab at the time. But did not notice anything (like turbo sound etc). I was around ETMX/Y (1X9, 1Y4) rack and SUS rack (1X4/5), but did not go into the Vac region.

  15283   Wed Mar 25 15:15:55 2020 gautamUpdateVACVacuum interlock code, N2 warning update

The email address in the N2 checking script wasn't right - I now updated it to email the 40m list if the sum of reserve tank pressures fall below 800 PSI. The checker itself is only run every 3 hours (via cron on c1vac).


I reset the remote of this git repo to the 40m version instead of Jon's personal one, to ensure consistency between what's on the vacuum machine and in the git repo. There is now a N2 checker python mailer that will email the 40m list if all the tank pressures are below 600 PSI (>12 hours left for someone to react before the main N2 line pressure drops and the interlocks kick in). For now, the script just runs as a cron job every 3 hours, but perhaps we should integrate it with the interlock process

  15304   Wed Apr 15 15:15:17 2020 ChubUpdateVACnitrogen cylinders delivered

Four nitrogen cylinders replaced the empties in the rack at the west entrance.  Additionally, Airgas will now deliver only once a week.  Let me know via email or text when the there are four empties in the rack and I'll order the next round.

  15314   Thu Apr 30 07:29:01 2020 ChubUpdateVACN2 delivered.

Hi All,

The new nitrogen cylinders were delivered to the rack at the west entrance.  We only get one Airgas delivery per week during the stay-at-home order, but so far they've not let us down.

  15391   Thu Jun 11 11:48:43 2020 gautamUpdateVACVac failure

There appears to have been some sort of vacuum failure.

ldas-pcdev1 was down, so the summary pages weren't being generated. I have now switched over to ldas-pcdev6. I suspect some forepump failure, will check up later today unless someone else wants to take care of this.

There was no interlock action, and I don't check the vacuum status every half hour, so there was a period of time last night there was high circulating power in the arm cavities when the main volume pressure was higher than nominal. I have now closed the PSL shutter until the issue is resolved.

Attachment 1: vacFailure.png
  15392   Thu Jun 11 16:14:03 2020 gautamUpdateVACVac failure - probable cause is serial comm glitch


It looks like the main vacuum interlock was tripped due to a serial communication error from the TP2 controller. With Rana/Koji's permission, I will open V1 and expose the main volume to TP1 again (#2 in last section).


  • The vacuum interlock log file at /opt/target/vac.log on c1vac suggests that the interlock was tripped because "TP2 is too warm".
  • Looking back at the diagnostics channels, it looks like the TP2 temperature channel registered a rise in temperature of >30 C in <0.2 seconds, see Attachment #1 - seems highly unlikely, probably some kind of glitch in the serial communication? This particular pump is relatively new from Agilent (<2 years installed I think)
  • The PSL shutter was automatically closed at ~1150 am today, see Attachment #2. There is some EPICS logic on c1psl (Acromag server) that checks if C1:Vac-P1a_pressure is greater than 3 mTorr (or greater than 500 Torr for in-air locking of the IMC), in which case it closes the shutter, so this seems consistent with expectations.

Recommended course of action:

  1. Code in some averaging in the interlock code, so that the interlock isn't triggered on some unphysical glitch like this. As shown in Attachment #3, this has been happening for the past 24 hours (though not before, because the interlock wasn't tripped). Probably need the derivative of the temperature as well, and the derivative should be less than 5 C/s or something physical (in addition to the temperature being high) for the interlock to trip.
  2. Re-open V1 to pump down the main volume to nominal pressure so that the interferometer locking activity can resume.
    • One option in the interim is to bypass the TP2 temperature interlock condition.
    • The pressure-based interlocks are probably sufficient to protect the main volume / pumps during the nominal operations - the temperature interlocks are mainly useful during the pumpdown where the TPs have a large load, and so we want to avoid over-stressing them.
Attachment 1: TP2_tempGlitch.png
Attachment 2: PSL_shutterClosed.png
Attachment 3: TP2tempGlitches.pdf
  15393   Thu Jun 11 17:35:34 2020 gautamUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement


The pumpspool UPS has its "Replace Battery" indicator light on. Might be a good chance to change the UPS, but at the very least, we should put in fresh batteries (last replacement was in Aug 2017).

I'll say this again - the pumpspool area is noisier than I remember it being, I think one / both of the roughing pumps backing TP2 / TP3 need tip-seal replacements.

BTW, EX is 5C hotter than EY, by virtue of the tarnac outside? In fact, judging by Steve's thermometers, EX reports a 12C swing in 24 hours between 30 C and 18 C (so almost no temperature control) while EY reports a 5C swing between 20 and 25 C. This is borne out by the ETM Oplev data I think...

  15394   Fri Jun 12 01:23:32 2020 KojiUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement

1. I agree that it's likely that it was the temp signal glitch.
Recom #2: I approve to reopen the valves to pump down the main volume. As long as there is no frequent glitch, we can just bring the vacuum back to normal with the current software setup.

2. Recom #1 is also reasonable. You can use simple logic like if we register 10 consecutive samples that exceed the threshold, we can activate the interlock. I feel we should still keep the temp interlock. Switching between pumping mode and the normal operation may cause unexpected omission of the interlocks when it is necessary.

3. We should purchase the UPS battery / replacement rotary TIP seal. Once they are in hand, we can stop the vacuum and execute the replacement. Can one person (who?) accomplish everything with some remote help?

4. The lab temp: you mean, 12degC swing with the AC on!?


  15396   Fri Jun 12 17:32:40 2020 KojiUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement

Jon and Koji remotely supported Jordan's resetting the TP2 controller.

Here is the instruction by Jon
From the operator's console in front of the vac rack:
  1. Open a terminal window (click the LXTerminal icon on the desktop)
  2. Type "control" + enter to open the vac controls screen
  3. Toggle all the open valves closed (edit by KA: and manually close RV2 by rotating the gate valve handle )
  4. Turn OFF TP2 by clicking the "Off' button. Make sure the status changes and the rotation speed falls to zero (you'll also hear the pump spinning down) 
  5. The other pumps (TP1, TP3) can be left running
  6. Once TP2 has stopped spinning, go to the back of the rack and locate the ethernet cable running from the back of the TP2 controller to the IOLAN server (near the top of the rack). Disconnect and reconnect the cable at each end, verifying it is firmly locked in place.
  7. From the front of the rack, power down the TP2 controller (I don't quite remember for the Agilent, but you might have to move the slider on the front from "Remote" to "Local" first)
  8. Wait about 30 seconds, then power it back on. If you had to move the slider to shut it down, revert it back to the "Remote" position.
  9. Go back to the controls screen on the console. If the pump came back up and is communicating serially again, its status will say something other than "NO COMM"
  10. Turn TP2 back on. Verify that it spins up to its nominal speed (66 kRPM)
  11. At this point you can reopen any valves you initially closed (any that were already closed before, leave closed)

TP2 was stopped and at this moment the glitches were gone. Jordan powercycled the TP2 controller and we brought up the TP2 back at the full speed.
However, the glitches came back as before. Obviously we can't go on from here, and we've decided to stop the recovery process here today.

- We left TP1/2/3 running while the valves including RV2 were closed.

- When Jordan is back in the lab next week, we'll try to use TP3 as the backing of TP1 so that we can resume the main volume pumping.

- Currently, TP3 does not have interlocking and that is a risk. Jon is going to implement it.

- Meanwhile, we will try to replace the controller of TP2. We are supposed to have this in the lab. Ask Chub about the location.

- Once we confirm the stability of the diagnostic signals for TP2, we will come back to the nominal pumping scheme.

Attachment 1: Screen_Shot_2020-06-12_at_17.22.23.png
  15397   Fri Jun 12 19:02:52 2020 gautamUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement

I still don't understand why restoring the vacuum is contingent on this functionality working. All the TPs have their own internal logic to shutdown the pump if some damage threshold is exceeded. Plus, we have the pressure-sensor based interlocks to protect the main volume as well as pumps. While the extra redundancy from the readbacks from the controller is useful, clearly it isn't the first line of defense?

The main volume pressure is currently ~10mTorr. If we pump down before this reaches 500mTorr, the procedure is pretty straightforward. Otherwise, we have to do the dance with the manual throttling valve (judging by current rate of increase, unlikely to exceed this over the weekend, but I lose IFO time).

Obviously I don't want to rush this and have some permanent damage, so I'll stay out of this unless otherwise instructed.

  15398   Fri Jun 12 19:23:56 2020 KojiUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement

The vacuum safety policy and design are not clear to me, and I don't know what the first and second defense is. Since we had limited time and bandwidth during the remotely-supported recovery work today, we wanted to work step by step.

The pressure rising rate is 20mtorr/day, and turning on TP3 early next week will resume the main-volume pumping without too much hustle. If you need the IFO time now, contact with Jon and use backing with TP3.

  15399   Fri Jun 12 19:33:31 2020 gautamUpdateVACPumpspool UPS needs battery replacement

Didn't mean to sound whiny. I will wait until the vacuum team tells me it is okay.


The vacuum safety policy and design are not clear to me, and I don't know what the first and second defense is. Since we had limited time and bandwidth during the remotely-supported recovery work today, we wanted to work step by step.

The pressure rising rate is 20mtorr/day, and turning on TP3 early next week will resume the main-volume pumping without too much hustle. If you need the IFO time now, contact with Jon and use backing with TP3.

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