I am writing this post from Sydney, Australia. Visa restrictions have brought me back to Sydney briefly (I flew out of SFO, Sunday 3rd August), in which I have an appointment with the US Consulate tomorrow morning to arrange for a six month US Visitor Visa to complete the PIEQF project. Thanks for the support letters from the USGS, The Long Now Foundation and UNSW. I am booked to fly back to San Francisco next Tuesday the 12th August. I aim to be back in Parkfield around the 13 or 14th August to test the final phase of software then switch the PIEQF system onto live mode.
Three months ago when I booked this return flight back to Australia I certainly had figured that the PIEQF would have have been operational. I did consider postponing the flight but it was complicated as it required changing two flights and the expenses associated, I am still working with limited and literally NO funds. It is hoped that the PIEQF system will be switched onto live mode around the 14-16th August.
In retrospect and such is the learning curve and scale of this project I wish I had not been so public in specifying specific dates in which I had intended to run the PIEQF. It has been discussed with the land owner John Varian, and the PIEQF will now run until mid/ late October or early November. The completion date of the PIEQF has now become very open ended.
Wildblue Bandwidth Restriction Lifted
The post I made on the 27th July about my Wildblue Bandwidth Restrictions generated interest within Wildblue Corp itself as a Wildblue marketing and product manger contacted me early last week as a result of this post. I have just had contact this morning (6th August) and the system bandwidth limit has now been reset. This is great news as the Wildblue Internet Satellite system is now set to ready to go live again with the PIEQF web cam and video streaming. What I have too now be aware of is that the web cam will now only post refreshed images every 60-90 seconds to avoid maxing out my 5gb p/mnth upload limit. This is not ideal but it is the constraints the project has to work with.
Thankyou Wildblue for considering my request in having my bandwidth restriction limit lifted. Your support in this unusual circumstance is appreciated.
Chassis Rack Retrofit
Between August 26th and 29th I stripped down the chassis control rack located inside the wooden control bunker at the rear of the trench. Both the SEIS control box and STREAM video streaming box were cleaned as well as SIPS (pull down resistors) were soldered onto the MCC I/O card. (mentioned in previous post) The 24vdc and 5vdc power supplies were tested and mounted. The Vernier Amplifiers were installed. These amplifiers boost the input signal from the Geophones placed in the field around the PIEQF installation which trigger the vertical motion of the table.
Onsite Software Testing
Geo Homsy arrived onsite in Parkfield on Wednesday 30th August and stayed until Friday 1st August. It was great to have Geo onsite with the PIEQF testing output software.
Geo has written a series of physic based output algorythms which drive the shake table. Essentially the principal behind these algorythms is based on the idea of dropping a stone in a pond and watching the waves propagate outwards from the centre. This is similar to how waves travel through the earth from the point of rupture on a faultline when an earthquake occurs. (Epicentre) The work Geo has done here interfaces with the input software that Stock from the V2 Institute for the Unstable Media has written which interpret the QDDS seismic input feed and the interface between the shake table and the Geophones installed in the field around the installation.
The Geophones are very responsive to the point when the pump valve is open and supplying full delivery to the shake table, feedback between the table and the geophones occur. The geophones are extremely sensitive and are placed approximately 25 - 30ft away from the table. This makes things interesting and is very cool the idea that the mechanical vibration of the table through the excavation is causing this to occur. When the PIEQF is switched onto autonomous mode the local sensing of the table (geophones) will only be triggered with the hydraulic pump supplying minimal delivery to the shake table. This stops feedback occurring.
When an actual seismic event is reported via the QDDS system (Californian Earthquakes) the table will run at full operational delivery. When this occurs software will isolate the DAS08 input card which will Stop feedback occuring between the site and the shake table.Final software testing will take place in Parkfield around the 14th and 15th August. It is envisaged that the PIEQF will go live around the 16th August.
Vertical Motion Stabilization
Just before leaving Parkfield to fly back to Sydney I spent all Saturday 2nd August(and part of the night) and early Sunday morning fabricating a vertical motion stabilization frame underneath the shake table.What was happening was when attaching steel rods to the table the floor pieces were tilting over around 15 degrees as the vertical motion hydraulic actuators have two degrees of movement in how they are connected to the vertical lifting floor pieces.The photographs below detail the solution;
Since being in Parkfield installing the PIEQF a couple of great quotes come to mind that have been put to me while onsite.
“Can you weld?”, was John Varians answer when I asked him several weeks ago if I could borrow his Miller mobile welder generator unit.
“Why didn’t you make the trench 20ft deep?”, was a question posed by a visitor to the site who lives in Fresno. Could question, maybe next time if the possibility arises in the future.
6th August 2008