the forbidden mountain dew

This is a post about transmitter juice.

Seen here – the sight glass and automatic air vent at the high point of the system.

Until today I never gave too much thought to this cooling system, and it seems I should have done so more often as it was sitting there at zero pressure. Yikes. In fact… its pressure had gone so low that the janky little pressure gauges were doing this.


I have no idea how it managed to slip around to the wrong side of the pin, but it’s a really garbage tier gauge so I guess that’s no surprise.


Refilling the system is a matter of just opening the vent caps on the air vent valves, admitting fresh coolant to the system via that tap on the pump suction side, and creating backpressure in the system by closing the suction side valve partially. This causes backpressure to build up in the system and compress the air bladder inside that tank while making the pump draw more coolant in from the source. Once it’s run for a while you can close the vent caps on the valves so they don’t, uh—

yeah I wonder if this is why and where the pressure all got out — all the vent caps were open, and, ew


The instruction manual on this GatesAir system states that you don’t really need to worry about overfilling it because that spring loaded relief valve will lift and burp out the excess if it gets over the maximum of 75 PSI.

Both of the two transmitter cabinets in this installation have their own cooling system, and there’s a third for the glycol solution cooled RF loads. That one’s holding its pressure just fine.


Now for… uh… cursed things

NFT: Non Flushable Toilet

Speaking of toilets— it was time to give amplifier #3 on the Space Station Toilet a new Barnstead filter. As I experienced previously, touching anything on the Barnstead led to leaking as the shrunken hardened gaskets started crumbling. I think I’d kinda vaguely alluded in a previous post to this filter holder unit having hilariously cursed input and output connectors, but I hadn’t gotten good pictures of the thing. I had, however, looked all over Thermo Fisher’s catalogs and webpage trying to find the proper gaskets for this thing and could never find the same series of connectors. Their current models of the Barnstead filter holders do not use this same stuff. This raises the question of which of the two is true:

1) Thermo Fisher switched suppliers for their filter holder assemblies at some point in time, the new manufacturer uses a different system, and they do not have parts in stock for the old system.
2) Thermo Fisher has realized this old system is complete garbage and does not even want to admit to having ever made it.

I’m leaning towards 2. Without further ado, here’s… this thing. The fitting can swivel a bit, but doing so tends to lift the two pins out. You can see their heads here.

Removing the pins releases the connection completely.

Looking down the bore at the weird gasket:

And finally, the connector itself, with BIG RAUNCHY MOLD MARKS THAT JUST MAKE LIFE DIFFICULT:



So my coworkers had told me in the past about some kind of “carbon” that tended to circulate in the system on this transmitter, likely contributing to how it lays waste to the cooling water flow sensors. I was a little baffled, where would this come from? This system is just supposed to be full of PURE deionized water to maintain proper electrical resistivity and not clog things up. Well then, uh—

Imagine my amazement and horror when I dropped the Barnstead filter housing down and just saw it fill up with this inky yackage.

I poured it into a clear plastic water bottle for inspection. It looks like diluted India ink, and thankfully, smells like nothing. Coarse particles settled to the bottom, but even after sitting a couple hours, not everything settles out. I’m wondering if this is the result of the Barnstead filter just releasing small activated charcoal particles when the water flow stopped and reversed a moment, or if that’s really just… floating around in there. If so, where is all that coming from? Ew ew ew ewwwwwwwwwwwww

Greetings from the clouds…

3 thoughts on “the forbidden mountain dew”

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