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Pam Klabbers | USLHC | USA

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Cable testing 100 m Underground

Tomorrow I have another full day underground, probably friday as well. We are in the process of testing and installing cables. The cables were tested for continuity at the vendor that produced them but after we install them we test them again to make sure the data comes over the cable from the calorimeters’ boards to our RCT’s boards.
A lot can go wrong. At our end, the RCT, we use VGA connectors to make the connections to our boards. I don’t know if you have ever taken a look at how your monitor connects to your PC, but if you have a VGA or even a newer version of a monitor connection, they often have pins. These can get bent if you put the connector in badly. Or, as we found out, it is possible to put the connector in the wrong way entirely. We only use a few of the VGA connectors pins, so we can reverse the connector (the shell bends easily) without much effort. So we are working on figuring out if: 1o26 data cables are plugged in correctly and the boards at both ends work. We are doing this bit by bit to start, with an eventual goal of automating it. But first it is cable by cable, and it goes slow.

When we are down there, there are no visual clues as to what time of day it is, so I just go on two things, my computer – which has a display of the time, and my stomach, which seems to tell me I am hungry with astounding regularity.

To be able to work underground, we are required to watch a DVD about safety, take a test about safety on the web, and wear the appropriate attire. This includes two special pieces of equipment: a hard hat

Hard hat
and a pair of very flattering steel-toed safety shoes.
shoes

The hard hat is a nice one, with a quick-adjust so that I can put it on and
off without tweaking my ponytail that I keep my long hair in (the environment is not long-hair friendly – fans keep the air moving in the racks and hair gets tangled in things). It also has a headlamp, which is supposed to help if we have a power outage (imagine total blackness) and I find it useful for dark corners underground. The shoes, well, the less said the better. No special clothing, but it is better to have a warm fleece and wear (dark-colored) washables, as the floor is pretty dirty, and nothing that is too new. I have found grease on my clothes from goodness-knows-what. It is definitely a “dress-down” type of environment.

It is noisy, cool (all the water cooling and fans in there), and kind of cramped, but we get all done that we need to, and I will be glad to have finished it. But there is always more to be done.

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