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Remote facility - changes made but no documentation (rant)

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Grossel

Well-Known Member
Hi fellow forum members. This is just me blowing steam after a frustrating week at work. Put your arms up in the air if this feels similar ;)

I live and work at a place where it is very scarsely populated, but still there is facilities around that have to be in working order (remote controlled).

And this particular facility is located so that it takes an hour by boat (if wether is good) and on the other side is steep hils where a road is carved through. If there is too much snow, then the angle of the surface is too steep and it is too dangerous to get through using snow mobile. Takes about an hour and a half from the boat to where the facility are located. It doesn't live people nearby, so packing proviant is important if weather turns bad so I can't go back home. Point is - it is remote and takes an effort to get there.

So I had a field trip a month ago to plan some upgrading, and guess what. There was made some changes years ago, but none of those are actually documented and no effort is done to redraw the electrical diagram, not even by pencil.

Because of that - the upgrade that normally should take about 5 hours estimated, will now take somewhere above eight (at least). And when it takes about 3 hrs each way (more if need to wait for boat) that means I may need to be there overnight. Just because some fellow colleague couldn't spend half an hour to update the drawings.
This doesn't take in account for the hours I've spent to double check if the connectors (from images of the cabinets) are actually there as depicted.

Btw the colleague that was doing this change is long since retired and can't provide any help that make sense, so now I've "inherited" this mess.


Thank you for reading this boring rant from me. If you have similar stories, plese share :eek:
 
Not clear, sorry, what takes you so long; to reach the place or doing something about an undocumented wiring?

Would this end in the future? Is it you who will finally take that mythical pencil to draw the so needed schematic?

Ranting is usually not good for explaining but...for ranting :happy:
 
No need for any ranting, simply document it correctly, and it's there in the future for you, or anyone else, who might get sent there.

As you're already having to reverse engineer it, then making correct documentation shouldn't be a problem, and add very little time to the job at all. You could even do most of it on a mobile phone (pictures and voice recording), and write it up when you get back to civilisation :D
 
atferrari
Well, it was a rant so I may well be uncrlear. Both the work and the trip does takes time to carry through.

Nigel Goodwin And yes, I do have to draw it properly because, guess who will have to go there next time something have to be changed?

But, all is not negative. Last time I was there I saw a beautifull wilderness, and I saw eagles and seals. That is very fine memories to bring back home :cool:
 
Any chance of showing some pictures?

Somewhere in Scandinavia IIRC?
 
Any chance of showing some pictures?

Somewhere in Scandinavia IIRC?
Scandinavian, yes. Above arctic circle, yes. Any chance of seeing the sun these days, no. Images taken little more than a month ago when the sun was yet above the horizont at daytime.

The place have once a time being sparsely populated (fishing and agriculture) and is naturally protected against high sea. I indeed have some pictures of the entrance from ocean - there is some heavy clouds (snow) some miles out to the open ocean.

Have "slightly cheated" on the first image as I used rawtherapy to adjust the colors slightly to get a more dramatic image of the heavy clouds.
 

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Navigating the area was quite an experience for me (albeit brief), many many years ago.

Narvik and their incredible fiord, for loading iron ore and some years later, on the other side, Norkköpings to load a full transformer station (ABB). The trafo was just modest 465 metric tons for Canada. Liked both a lot.

People impressed me a lot. Serious, friendly and hard workers.
 
My 'fun' this week was diagnosing an intermittent circuit and no power in my mother-in-law's garage in Northern France. Note: I've never dealt with non-US wiring standards but I have a feeling a wooden breaker panel box or free-haning outlets inside said box are not ok here (but they've been this way for more than 30-years so I'm not going to change anything significantly).

Also, my brother-in-law tapped dozens of additional outlets and lamp sockets wherever he needed them with any color wire and connector he felt met the need on the day he needed more light or accessible power.

/Rant
 
Grossel Wow!

gophert
Don't you wish now electricity had preferred colors? This one simple relay device that someone made and installe don about 5 systems was made from all yellow wire. It's nothing more than a relay driven by a latching circuit that would drop out when power went out.

It was to turn off diffusion pumps (208V) and close the foreline (120V) valve. It had a couple of buttons and lights. I think 3 of each.

I found out that the circuit used ground for a 230 V neutral. Management would not fix because it's worked for 20 years.

That annoyed me.

I think an X-ray diffractometer had all black or all white wires. Each one had a number. A lot of times you can thigs like T2 marked on the wire insulation of motors too.

I don't like being set up to fail. I was designing and building "on the fly" an upgrade to a control system. I wasn't allowed to design and draw schematics first like the hired outfit did before building. I was successful, but the only documentation they got was my scribbles. They probably won;t need it anyway because I built stuff not to fail. This was a safety system for hydride gasses and hydrogen.

What annoyed me more is obvious "A** kissing". Boss wanted to show progress by being able to check off areas that were "done".

I could not work that way. I had lead-time to contend with. When I got something to where I was "comfortable", I'd be designing and ordering parts for the next part I had to do.

They got no documentation. I got screwed. They know better not to call me.

I also got "yelled at" for:

Telling my immediate supervisor that I learned the toxic gas monitor we are using and upgrading will reach end of life in 6 months. i's replacement was $40,000 dollars. That was "just wrong".

Some chemical engineer said why does the wiring have to "look nice". He was anxious for completion too.

Then the "idiot director" had no concept of Ghant charts and did everything linearly and successively when I could have been working while demolition and construction was happening. They were not in the room I needed to be for very long. The director at one time when he wasn't a director threatened to cut off my private parts.

When I pointed out to my boss, that the doors would open into the hallway, he wanted to know why I was even in that area. they were not even grateful, I caught it early. I petitioned for a "walk-thru" and got it. We found all sorts of stuff.

Some interlocks didn't get installed because I needed all gasses off. I probably would have needed no more than a week to do two of them.
 
My 'fun' this week was diagnosing an intermittent circuit and no power in my mother-in-law's garage in Northern France. Note: I've never dealt with non-US wiring standards but I have a feeling a wooden breaker panel box or free-haning outlets inside said box are not ok here (but they've been this way for more than 30-years so I'm not going to change anything significantly).

Also, my brother-in-law tapped dozens of additional outlets and lamp sockets wherever he needed them with any color wire and connector he felt met the need on the day he needed more light or accessible power.

/Rant

Back when we were kids, we used to play with motorbikes, and parts of motorbikes - and often built bikes from parts. One bike we did to road level (most were just for off road) so we had to wire it - and as kids we had zero money, so buying anything wasn't an option. Luckily, we 'aquired' from somewhere a reel of black cable, so the entire wiring loom for the bike was made of identical black wires :D
 
Grossel Wow!

gophert
Don't you wish now electricity had preferred colors? This one simple relay device that someone made and installe don about 5 systems was made from all yellow wire. It's nothing more than a relay driven by a latching circuit that would drop out when power went out.

It was to turn off diffusion pumps (208V) and close the foreline (120V) valve. It had a couple of buttons and lights. I think 3 of each.

I found out that the circuit used ground for a 230 V neutral. Management would not fix because it's worked for 20 years.

That annoyed me.

I think an X-ray diffractometer had all black or all white wires. Each one had a number. A lot of times you can thigs like T2 marked on the wire insulation of motors too.

I don't like being set up to fail. I was designing and building "on the fly" an upgrade to a control system. I wasn't allowed to design and draw schematics first like the hired outfit did before building. I was successful, but the only documentation they got was my scribbles. They probably won;t need it anyway because I built stuff not to fail. This was a safety system for hydride gasses and hydrogen.

What annoyed me more is obvious "A** kissing". Boss wanted to show progress by being able to check off areas that were "done".

I could not work that way. I had lead-time to contend with. When I got something to where I was "comfortable", I'd be designing and ordering parts for the next part I had to do.

They got no documentation. I got screwed. They know better not to call me.

I also got "yelled at" for:

Telling my immediate supervisor that I learned the toxic gas monitor we are using and upgrading will reach end of life in 6 months. i's replacement was $40,000 dollars. That was "just wrong".

Some chemical engineer said why does the wiring have to "look nice". He was anxious for completion too.

Then the "idiot director" had no concept of Ghant charts and did everything linearly and successively when I could have been working while demolition and construction was happening. They were not in the room I needed to be for very long. The director at one time when he wasn't a director threatened to cut off my private parts.

When I pointed out to my boss, that the doors would open into the hallway, he wanted to know why I was even in that area. they were not even grateful, I caught it early. I petitioned for a "walk-thru" and got it. We found all sorts of stuff.

Some interlocks didn't get installed because I needed all gasses off. I probably would have needed no more than a week to do two of them.

Was this at a semiconductor FAB, Optics coatings or some other CVD/PVD facility?

I worked in several chemical plants making gases for these processes. Safety was king at the successful plants. Customers knew safety = reliability and consistency. Changing safety cultures can be a problem - I've become really good at changing cultures at acquired sites.

People can be more difficult than equipment or chemistry but the "social experiments" I made to motivate and train them were just as interesting as the technical experiments.
 
Was this at a semiconductor FAB, Optics coatings or some other CVD/PVD facility?

Yep. research only. It was CVD/PCVD and all sorts of other stuff like thermal evaporation.
When the lab blew up during a cylinder change, my system worked. The gas involved was Hydrogen. Guess where the hydrogen detectors were? In a box somewhere never installed.

Equipment failure (an excess flow valve) leading to the operator believe ing that the cylinder was empty. He cracked the valve and shut it, jut to make sure it wasn't stuck. The regulators were in pump-out mode. Those lines were not rated for 1500 lbs. maybe 30 psi max
Boom inside a plexiglass enclosure. No evidence of fire. I had left for lunch.

Sysytem shutdown (all cylinder valves closed) because the hood velocity detectors failed.

I was involved with the investigation and re-build:

me:
New velocity detectors for gas cabinets and hood that actually had a readout.
(that turned out to be really useful)
Install and calibrate hydrogen alarms.
Change cylinder valves from an non-UL listed 120 VAC valve located in the gas cabinet to air solenoid pilot valves externnal to the cabinet.

Them:
Change excess flow valves to orifices.
Re-do the gas manifold.
Some gasses got dedicated purge cylinders in the same cabinet.
Upgrade failed vacuum rated lines to handle cylinder pressure.

We
Change plexiglass panels to polycarbonate.
(I ground a special 5/8 drill bit for plastics)

Significant changes to cylinder change procedures. Building empty. Two people in SCBA.

Everybody
Building occupancy (IN/OUT) sign in. No times.

The RFCVD system was a really cool and fun system to design and build. I was mostly instrumentarion, RF, heater internals and externals, load lock sample retrieval, chamber internals, chamber supports.

I initially got in trouble by stepping on someone's toes (overseeer of the machine shop) when I set someone up (no experience) the mill to drill about a hundred 1/4" holes in Moly semi-automatically. with a ball end mill. I don't think anyone else could have done it anyway. it was put to rest quickly.
 
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Don't you wish now electricity had preferred colors?
aircraft often use plain white wiring, and i think these days it's teflon insulated. color dyes in insulation can cause problems with aging. there was a time when Sony was giving away 100 sets of dual RCA cables with parts orders over $200.00 or something like that. after getting a batch of these cables, i found out why they were being given away, the right side of every set was shorted. the red dye in the insulation of the center wire had caused the plastic to turn to powder. the plastic in the left side (plain white) was still good and pliable.

edit: with all of the plain white wiring comes number tags on the wires, and the number tags correspond to the wire numbers in the schematic/wiring diagram.
 
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