It was another interesting night for Enlight. We have been trying our hardest to get the north end fixed, but the fountain is not cooperating with us. The solenoid that fills the north end is working and responding to the water level sensor but is making a terrible grinding noise. Water is flowing in the pipes, but we don’t want to take the chance the something is broken and could overflow the pool. We’ve also encountered a pipe that is leaking badly through the insulation wrapped around the pipe. That stretch of pipe and insulation will have to be replaced.
On a good note, we were able to make the control room a bit quieter. We disconnected the weirs from the main air feed. Because the weirs leaked air both above and below, we always had to deal with the hissing. Now we don’t have to! Later that night, we also went over the LabView and C# code that controls the fountain with the new members.
This time, it is an electric problem. It appears that the problem is twofold. First, the water separator is stuck open and draining the north end pool. The only way to fix this is to drain the north end pool, open the separator, and see what’s up. The next problem is that we are unable to fill the north end because the solenoid that controls the fill valve is not receiving power. This may also be the case for the lights, but we are not 100% sure. There will be an electrician in soon to see what is going on. We wanted to see if we could fill the pool manually, but as you could guess, it is better to let the computer take care of it rather than us try to regulate the flow. In the end, we accidentally overflowed the pool.
Presently, the north end is draining/drained. We will attempt to service this as quickly as possible.
During a two day long adventure, Enlight has been searching for answers relating to why the north end of the fountain (the part closest to W Johnson St.) has been draining. It has drained to the point where there is no water left in the pool and the concrete is starting to dry out! It’s actually a funny story.
You see, many pipes in the underground are labeled the wrong way. There will be arrows showing the direction of flow that lead to other arrows pointing the other way. This does not help us figure things out. We testing pipes for water and eventually got a rather unusual model for how things work. It seems that the north end pool acts as the reservoir for the reservoir that spills back into the pool. If that doesn’t make sense, that’s ok. This is just one of the many quirks.
Anyways, the line that actually feeds into the pool (or reservoir) is opened and closed by a solenoid (or computer controlled water valve). It appears that this solenoid may have died on us, and we need to replace this in order to keep the water flowing. To make matters worse, it appears that a particle separator is stuck in a purge cycle that is causing it to constantly drain water from the pool. With no water entering and water leaving, we are left in a world of hurt. We are hoping to resolve these issues as soon as possible before we have to turn it off for the winter!
Fountains, like small children, can be complicated, temperamental, and require constant care and pampering. The rewards of all this pampering can be great, though negligence can have disastrous results. On the north end of the fountain, one of the clear bubble tubes was filled with green algae. Continue reading 'Clean Me!'»
Wait… Where are the lights? OK, so the lights aren’t quite up a soon as we wanted and the code just recently got finished, but you really can’t blame us. It’s been, like, super cold and coding is really hard.
OK, fine so we dropped the ball, but it’s going to start getting cooler soon (no pun intended). Right now, we have some working prototypes that can turn on and off lights, and the code is currently being reviewed for bugs and the like. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will eventually have lights. Even if it takes us to the end of the year (fingers crossed).
The North End of the fountain has two large separators – they work by running all of the water into the top and allowing the sediment to settle out of the water column and then the separator is occasionally purged.
These are an effective way to remove sediment from the water to keep things cleaner. While I was getting the North End cleaned up I decided to check that the separators were functioning properly before turning the system on for the summer. I checked the first separator and found that it was working correctly, but the second one was not discharging as it should at the end of a cycle. I pulled the cover off of the actuator and found that it was working properly, but the purge was still not draining the sediment.
If you have good eyes [or were good at the spot the differences comic ] you’ll have noticed the stem sticking out of the right side of the “broken” separator.
It turns out that someone (or the installer) put the actuator on the wrong side of the valve – so the actuator had been attempting to turn the valve for ~15years using air as a coupler. As a mechanical engineer I can tell you that air is not a prime choice for a mechanical coupler. I was able to turn the valve around to get the stem on the proper side of the actuator but we’ll need to order (or make) a new stem to actuator coupler from Lakos Separators to get it working again.
Practice common sense when installing and maintaining equipment!