FACE Operations Support



Brookhaven monitors hardware component issues at all BNL-designed FACE sites.  We will list items here that appear to have broad applicability across sites.  If you have a hardware issue that may be of interest to other FACE sites, please forward it to Keith Lewin for inclusion below.

  • Kurz Rotary Ramp Valve drive axle failure:  In 1999, the Aspen FACE experiment had an adapter shaft in one of their Kurz valve drive mechanisms break in half.  The adapter that failed connects the drive clutch to the disk on the valve body that contains the limit switch activation pin.  BNL redesigned this section of the drive assembly, using a thicker shaft made out of a tougher alloy.  To make the new shaft work in the existing valve, we also machined new mating disks.  The exact design on this disk varies among valves, so kits specific to each site were distributed to all FACE sites with installation instructions. 

The reason we are listing this occurrence now is that there was another shaft failure in 2005.  It turned out that the site that experienced this latest failure had never completed replacing these shafts in all of their valves.  This incident resulted in several days down time for that treatment plot.

If you are unsure whether your valves have been upgraded, see if you can locate any of the shaft replacement kits or old shafts at your site.  If you have a replacement kit, you probably have a valve still using the old shaft.  The old shafts had a diameter of 0.25" (6.35 mm).  The equivalent diameter on the new shafts is 0.32" (8 mm).  If you have as many old shafts as you have valves, all of your valves have probably been upgraded. 

If you are still unsure whether your Kurz valves have been upgraded, you'll need to dismantle the drive mechanism to find out.  This isn't a complex task, but if done incorrectly, it can damage the limit switches, which will also cause the valve to fail, either immediately or in the near future.  If you are not familiar with disassembling the Kruz Rotary Ramp Valve drive mechanism, contact Keith Lewin or John Nagy for assistance.

  • LI-COR has discontinued the LI-62XX series CO2 analyzers:  We have learned that LI-COR no longer builds the LI-6252 and LI-6262 analyzers we recommend for use with the BNL FACE control system and multi-port samplers.  While almost any analyzer with an analog voltage or current output can be used with these systems, we have written drivers to allow the use of the digital communications capability of the LI-6262 and LI-6252 models.  Other analyzers, even those from LI-COR, use different communications protocols.  We are presently testing drivers that will allow the use of the LIi-840 analyzer with the Multiport sampler.  There are some issues with the LI-840, such as a prolonged warm-up time, that makes this unit poorly suited for use in a FACE control system, so we are still looking for a replacement for that use.  Please contact us with any candidates, or sources for the LI-6252 or LI-6262 analyzers. 
  • LI-COR LI-62XX analyzers freeze after power dips: Many LI-COR LI-6262 and LI-6252 analyzers used at FACE sites have been modified by the factory or in the field to automatically restart after a power outage.  The Duke Forest FACE site has had several instances where their LI-COR analyzers have failed to restart properly after momentary power dips, requiring a manual power cycling of the unit, and possibly a re-start of the FACE Control Program (FCP). To guard against this, we suggest that all LI-62XX analyzers be powered through a 300 VA or larger UPS. 
  • Transtector AC voltage surge suppressors provide best protection: We have found that surge suppressors using silicone avalanche suppressor diodes provide better protection than metal oxide varistor (MOV) based units.  The Transtector (http://www.protectiongroup.com, 800-882-9110 or 208.772.8515) SL Series has worked well protecting 120VAC equipment.  We are now testing the DPS Series, which has a better receptacle layout for use with plug-in transformers. These suppressors do a superior job protecting your instruments, but accomplish this by sacrificing themselves.  Transtector has a good warranty replacement policy, but make sure to have a couple of spares on hand. 
  • Extend an Ethernet LAN out to the treatment plots: BNL has extended the LAN at the Duke Forest FACE site from the control building out to the treatment and control plots.  We have found inexpensive fiber to copper protocol converters, serial device servers, and wireless access points that work in this environment.  This LAN allows the transmission of data from instruments located in the plots back to the control building, without dedicating fiber optic pairs or channels on the TC COM multiplexers for each instrument. 
  • Connecting field research sites to the Internet:  We have tested satellite, cellular, cable modem, wireless, and wired solutions for establishing broadband Internet connections.  Having a broadband connection allows rapid transfer of data from the research site to remote users, better access for remote monitoring of site operations, and easier updating of computer operating systems, anti-virus programs and other applications.  With these technologies, essentially any field research site can have an "always on" connection to the Internet.  BNL is interested in improving digital access to the FACE sites to increase our ability to monitor site performance and troubleshoot problems.  Contact Keith Lewin if you want to explore improving your site's Internet access.

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Critical Spares Stocked at Brookhaven

While some of the FACE system hardware is unique to each FACE installation, many components are shared across all sites.  BNL maintains a stock of some of the more expensive or long lead time components for use within the DOE/BER FACE Facility, and for loan to cooperating sites using the BNL FACE design.  We also try to keep track of the spares inventory at other FACE sites and can often arrange a loan between two sites on short notice.  Contact Keith Lewin or John Nagy if you have a failure of a critical component and cannot obtain an immediate replacement.

The following is a listing of the items we usually have in stock.  We are also interested in hearing about any additional items that you would like us to have on hand as spares. 

  • 2" Kurz Rotary Ramp Valve
  • Kurz insertion flow sensor
  • Pitman gear motor for Kurz rotary ramp valve, Model # 400051
  • Dutec digital controllers and modules
  • Master TC COM serial fiber optic network multiplexer (model used in NC, WI, and TN)
  • Client TC COM serial fiber optic network multiplexer (model used in NC, WI, and TN)
  • MAC valve manifolds, 16 and 12 ports
  • MAC 35 series 24VAC solenoid valves, Part# 35A-B00-DACA-2BA
  • 120 to 24VAC/8A transformer
  • Cosel 24VDC/2.1A power supply, Model #: K50AU-24
  • BNL manufactured motor controller for Kurz Rotary Ramp Valve
  • Dwyer high pressure switch, Model # APS-450
  • Dwyer low pressure switch, Model # 1910-0
  • FESTO Multiport tubing connector and parts
  • Transtector surge suppressor, Model # FSP4001

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Are you running the latest FACE control software (FCP.exe)?  The current version is 6.74.  For upgrades please contact John Nagy.

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Last Modified: April 25, 2011

FACE is a program of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) - U.S. Department of Energy. Please forward all questions or comments about this site to: Brookhaven FACE Program