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.
Pin 1: RxD
Pin 2: TxD
Pin 5: GND
Baud rate: 2400
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 1