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Entry  Sun Jun 25 22:30:57 2017, gautam, Update, General, c1iscex timing troubles c1iscex_status.png
    Reply  Mon Jun 26 22:01:08 2017, Koji, Update, General, c1iscex timing troubles 
       Reply  Wed Jun 28 20:15:46 2017, gautam, Update, General, c1iscex timing troubles CDS_status_28Jun2017.png
Message ID: 13085     Entry time: Wed Jun 28 20:15:46 2017     In reply to: 13081
Author: gautam 
Type: Update 
Category: General 
Subject: c1iscex timing troubles 

[Koji, gautam]

Here is a summary of what we did today to fix the timing issue on c1iscex. The power supply to the timing card in the X end expansion chassis was to blame.

  1. We prepared the Y-end expansion chassis for transport to the X end. To do so, we disconnected the following from the expansion chassis
    • Cables going to the ADC/DAC adaptor boards
    • Dolphin connector
    • BIO connector
    • RFM fiber
    • Timing fiber
  2. We then carried the expansion chassis to the X end electronics rack. There we repeated the above steps for the X-end expansion chassis
  3. We swapped the X and Y end expansion chassis in the X end electronics rack. Powering the unit, we immediately saw the green lights on the front of the timing card turn on, suggesting that the Y-end expansion chassis works fine at the X end as well (as it should). To further confirm that all was well, we were able to successfully start all the RT models on c1iscex without running into any timing issues.
  4. Next, we decided to verify if the spare timing card is functional. So we swapped out the timing card in the expansion chassis brought over to the X end from the Y end with the spare. In this test too, all worked as expected. So at this stage, we concluded that
    • There was nothing wrong with the fiber bringing the timing signal to the X end
    • The Y-end expansion chassis works fine
    • The spare timing card works fine.
  5. Then we decided to try the original X-end expansion chassis timing card in the Y-end expansion chassis. This test too was successful - so there was nothing wrong with any of the timing card!
  6. Next, we decided to power the X-end timing chassis with its original timing card, which was just verified to work fine. Surprisingly, the indicator lights on the timing card did not turn on.
  7. The timing card has 3 external connections
    • A 40 pin IDE connector
    • Power
    • Fiber carrying the timing signal
  8. We went back to the Y-end expansion chassis, and checked that the indicator lights on the timing card turned on even when the 40 pin IDE connector was left unconnected (so the timing card just gets power and the timing signal).
  9. We concluded that the power supply in the X end expansion chassis was to blame. Indeed, when Koji jiggled the connector around a little, the indicator lights came on!
  10. The connection was diagnosed to be somewhat flaky - it employs the screw-in variety of terminal blocks, and one of the connections was quite loose - Koji was able to pull the cable out of the slot applying a little pressure.
  11. I replaced the cabling (swapped the wires for thicker gauge, more flexible variety), and re-tightened the terminal block screws. The connection was reasonably secure even when I applied some force. A quick test verified that the timing card was functional when the unit was powered.
  12. We then replaced the X and Y-end expansion chassis (complete with their original timing cards, so the spare is back in the CDS cabinet), in the racks. The models started up again without complaint, and the CDS overview screen is now in a good state [Attachment #1]. The arms are locked and aligned for maximum transmission now.
  13. There was some additional difficulty in getting the 40-pin IDE connector in on the Y-end expansion chassis. Looked like we had bent some of the pins on the timing board while pulling this cable out. But Koji was able to fix this with a screw driver. Care should be taken when disconnecting this cable in the future!

There were a few more flaky things in the Expansion chassis - the IDE connectors don't have "keys" that fix the orientation they should go in, and the whole timing card assembly is kind of difficult and not exactly secure. But for now, things are back to normal it seems.

Wouldn't it be nice if this fix also eliminates the mystery ETMX glitching problem? After all, seems like this flaky power supply has been a problem for a number of years. Let's keep an eye out.

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