Thursday, June 17, 2010

Norway Day 2: Prepare the IVER!

Today started with breakfast at the hostel. A very nice spread, we had a selection of breads and meats, unfrosted flakes and bran, and some unknown Norwegian dishes. These two dishes were a gelled substance containing carrots, peas, corn and shrimp and a liver pate which we originally thought to be a meatloaf. Once breakfast was done we all packed up and headed to TBS. This ride really reinforced the idea that Norway loves tunnels and round-abouts, tunnels sometimes last 4km long not to mention there is even a round-about in a tunnel!

After arriving at TBS around 9 we were greated by smiling faces and kaffe (coffee in Norwegian). We then went strainght into a meeting that was a plan for the rest of our stay. What we wanted to accomplish, what the biologists wanted from our data, and when we wanted to do everything. Today's goal was decided to prepare the IVER for missions by TBS on Friday. This task would include fixing anything that may have gone wrong in transit, mount and integrate the O2 sensor to the IVER, test, and ideally drive by wire or even send it off on a basic mission.

Finished with our planning, we were given a tour of the facility and were amazed by the tools available to the research center. Now ready to begin with the day's task we unload the IVER. After not seeing any problems we connected the power and gave everything an inital test, only to find the motor was not working. Inspecting the motor we thought it may have been a little stuck, so we lubed it up until it was spinning much better. We tried the motors again and still no luck. It was only then after looking even closer did we learn that the motor cable itself was broken, but this fix would have to wait until lunch was over.

For lunch we had amazing sandwhiches with the other biologists at TBS. We talked about a wide variety of things. Kevin and Jessie talked to Inga and others about what they thought "American food" was, which turned out to be pie and turkey. Another topic that got the whole group giving their own feed back was Sweden. We were right to assume that Norway was tired of having Sweden as a "big brother" and recently the tables seemed to have turned. There are now a significant amount of Swedes traveling to Norway for work. They not only work cheaper, but work full time as well. The Swedish are easily distinugished it seems not just because of the language difference but they are also much more friendly and open according to Igna. The conversation then headed to the language barrier, specifically in Iceland. After discussing how Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that originally stopped our travel plans, is translated literally as island-glacier-mountain we learned that Iceland is very committed to preserving their native language to keep it pure. An example was given, where Norway's translation of helicopter is helikopter, Iceland named it ______ which literally means spinning house.

With lunch over, it was back to work. The motor was hooked up properly once more and that problem was solved, but more arose as Jane and Jessie left to finally pick up Frank from the airport.

Although we tried to get straight back to work when the airport team returned, we soon had a unique chance to tour the NTNU Research Vessle. This was a very nice boat that was for the universities use which we were able to get a tour of. We walked from the dry and wet lab rooms to the common area, to the helm where we were able to sit in the captains chair.

The wet lab room
The steep stairs Kevin in the captains chair
The arrival of Frank made an immediate difference. As we prepared to epoxy the O2 sensors wires through the plugs that will help keep the IVER waterproof, he saved us a long task by replacing it with a simple one. Being simple did not make the epoxy any less messy though. Very careful not to get any on our surroundings Kevin and Alex ended up getting it all over their hands as the exccess ran from the plugs. We almost had everything we needed to get the IVER running, the only problem was the epoxy needed at least an hour to dry.

Filling the plug with epoxy

Taking advantage of this wait time we decided to get dinner. Tonight's choice went back to the converstation at lunch of what American food was to Nowegians. We were going to Egon Cafe, which focused on American food. We quickly turned to the dessert and found the Hot Apple Cake which was a piece of pie with ice cream on the side. We then looked through the menu commenting on how the meal was or wasn't American. We all went with some kind of burger, but with further reading we learned that the hamburger had cheese and the burger came with a salad, but the salad was in fact the lettuce and tomatoes in the burger. With dinner done we were off too check up on the epoxy.

Dinner at Egons Cafe

Still not dry enough, we had sometime to kill before we could reassemble and test the IVER again. Alex led a crash course on how to plan missions for those who were unfaimilar with the Vector Map software. We went over how to plan the course that the IVER would follow, and then saved some basic missions to run when the IVER was ready to go. During the spare time we tried to get a program running on Kevin's computer because the graphics card on Jessie's computer wasn't up to par. There were some problems with the program not properly starting up on Kevin's computer, so we sent the creator an email asking his thoughts on the situation and we await his response.

As night falls without getting any darker, the epoxy has finally been announced dry enough to mount the crucial pieces onto the IVER. The process of hooking every thing up seemed to go smoothly as we sealed everything back into its proper place using generous amounts of sealant. The moment of truth was upon us as we turned everything on and waited for the O2 sensor to register, and sadly it did not. We found a couple of loose connections that we fixed, but after many more cycles of assembly and dismantling the IVER it became apparent that a larger problem was present. After taking a closer look at the 2 wires connecting the sensor to the IVER we discovered that one of the connectors was loose due to bent surface mounted pins. This explained the inconsistent behavior of the sensor connection. Now the question was how to fix it. We tried many different methods centered around re-soldering the pins onto the board. Below are some pictures of this process.

Taking it apart Putting it back together
Soldering at 2 am

The night was a long one and after about 4 hours of working on this problem we decided it was time for bed. The biggest issue with our approach was the fact that getting the connector to fit flushly required near machine-grade soldering precision. Which, at 2:30 in the morning, was not happening. We had a plan for morning on a new solution, but it would have to wait as we wearily made our way back to our hostile at 3:00 am as Dr. Clark sent an email to Kasper informing him we would not be back to TBS at 9:00am like originally planned.

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