Monday, February 1, 2010

VAPoR field testing - Day 4

Waking up is getting tougher (maybe I should go to bed before midnight if my alarm goes off at 5.45), especially with a pair of knees that won't work. So for the first time this week I drove to the site. First thing on site was a visit to Dr. Lou, who confirmed my knees were just sore and gave me a bunch of ibuprofens and told me everything would be fine.

Next thing was the instrument. Everything had survived the night and was nice and warm and we had the best pressure ever seen in this setup.

At least the baking was good for something. Before leaving for the field site I had spoken to the company, who send me a troubleshooting guide (why are those things not standard in the manual?). As soon as we had verified everything else was fine, we worked our way through the troubleshooting. After about 30 seconds we had identified the problem - 3 fried transistors.

Back at work, Chris (Johnson) our irreplaceable VAPoR hero had already confirmed that a new unit would be shipped out to get here by tomorrow 17.00. But to be on the safe side we decided to order replacement transistors for overnight shipping as well.

Then we shut off VAPoR and covered it for a two-day hibernate.

This gives me a good opportunity to emphasize that the reason that VAPoR is not working has nothing to do with the actual part were testing, the oven, but with some commercial mass spectrometer. Many thanks to our VAPoR oven development team: Eric Cardiff, Vince Holmes, Marvin Noreiga, Ray Bendt, Greg Hidrobo, and Chris Johnson.

The rest of the morning we spent poking our noses in other peoples instruments.

Lutz & mole

Jack & Dick & inXitu

After lunch Lutz, Danny and I decided to hike up to the crater rim (about 100 m above our level) and found a quite spectacular crater on the other side.

Lutz did some soil strength measures and I decided to collect a sample of the red soil/rocks on top of the ridge, just in case our mass spec starts working again.

We also found some other nice "volcanic rocks" and a "bomb".

Bomb (Confirmed by Douwe)

When we return John Hamilton, the guy who runs PISCES, had, brought up at least half the harvest of his orchard: bananas, oranges, clementines, avocados, sugar cane, guavas, fresh figs, and flowers. Vases are not very common around our field site, so this is where the flowers ended up (followed by the effect on some of the participants).

Danny and I spent another hour or so analyzing the data we had collected, which need a lot of discussion and are very informative.

Around 16.00 we called it a day and I made Danny take another trail home, pretty much climbing the steepest hill nearly all the way up. Knees are much better and only still protesting when I try to sit down or stand up. Now off to bed at a more reasonable time. Tomorrow down to Hilo to get a gas sample from the Volcano Nat'l Park and pick up our parts from FedEx.

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