Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy, Busy!

Between work and getting prepped for Field Day, I've been pretty busy.
One of the things I was griping about here, was the fact that the drawings we got from the vendor that built and installed our "C-Band, Pulsed Doppler Weather Radar" weren't done very well. I started redrawing them the other day, and found some glaring errors in them. Since we're still having problems, we decided to pull the interface box out of the dome, and bring it down to the bench where I could look at it.
I would have gone up there myself, but it's a 40' vertical climb, and I start getting pretty queasy above 15' or so. If the ladder is inclined, like the ladder on the mast of our other ship, I'll scoot right up there, but there's something about a "free" vertical climb that high that bothers me. I've got my own safety harness and shock absorbing lanyard I use when I do my Ham Radio stuff, but we're not allowed to use our personally-owned Personal Protective Equipment of that type on the job. All our "work" harnesses are all out being inspected and certified after sitting for two years, so when they get back I'll have an "approved" one to use.
Back to the wiring....
I opened the box up, and besides the extremely poor workmanship inside it, it doesn't match the drawings AT ALL!
Major screw-up on the vendors part for giving us these "As Built" drawings that are a hodge-podge of the drawings from the original system, and their "best guesstimate" of how the box was built.
So, I've spent the last two days making 25 pages of notes, wire lists, connector pinouts, and verifying each and every wire and connector pin with my Ohmmeter.
We also took several dozen high resolution photographs of this 18"x 24"x 12" box for future use. It's going to take me another couple of days to generate correct, accurate drawings suitable for archiving and troubleshooting, but it will finally be done. I had started this before I was laid-off, and had a good idea of what needed to be done, and some wirelists, but opening up the box and tracing the circuitry inside was a shock to us all.
The really funny (ironic? karma?) thing about all this is that the other night I was looking at the drawings I made in 2002 for the connections between the control box and the Azimuth and Elevation rotators for my Amateur Radio satellite station. I had some problems with the Molex connectors I used (they're just not made for repeated mate/demate cycles, and the female pins get loose), and I bought new connectors of a better type to replace them with. I figured it prudent to check my drawings before I just started cutting connectors off the cables, and....UH-OH!
Now, I have a 100% functional system, and it works exactly as it should, but my own drawings didn't match my "As Built" hardware!
Boy, talk about egg on my face!
So I now have a complete, correct set of drawings with pin numbers, wire colors, and wire function, for the cables and connectors used in my antenna system.
I guess when it rains it pours....


  1. And DON'T put them where they will be safe, you'll NEVER find those drawings again... (voice of experience here) :-)

  2. Once they're done they'll be archived on two servers, and I'll keep a 'back up' on my workstations.
    And we'll also have several printed copies available in the "System Book".
    I know all about losing docs like's a major headache!

  3. LOL- Yep, belt AND suspenders...


Keep it civil, please....