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23 July 2008 Automatic pre-cooling system for large infrared instruments
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An infrared instrument used for observation has to keep the detector and optical components in a very cold environment during operation. However, because of maintenance, upgrades, and other routine work, there are situations that require the instrument to be warmed-up and then cooled-down again. At Subaru Observatory, our MOIRCS infrared instrument has required warm-up and cool-down several times a year for routine maintenance and filter replacement. The MOIRCS instrument has a large heat capacity and cool-down using only the closed cycle cooler is impractical due to the huge amount of time it would require. To address this problem Subaru engineers have created a mechanism to allow PRE-COOLING of the instrument via liquid nitrogen - allowing for a much faster pre-cool process. Even with liquid nitrogen, the pre-cool process requires 10 tanks and almost a week of continual monitoring in order to reach the desired target temperature. It is very difficult to work for such a long period of time at the oxygen starved summit of Mauna Kea (4205 meters),and issues of man-power and scheduling conflicts only add to the problems. To address these concerns Subaru developed an automated pre-cooling system which works continuously and remotely at the summit. The strategy was to have basic functionality for pre-cooling and user friendly interface. i.e. (1) Continuous cooling until the target temperature is reached by automated liquid nitrogen tank exchanges and precision temperature control by automated changes to the liquid nitrogen flow. (2) Remote monitoring and control of all parameter setting by Web browser as user interface (UI). The goal of the Subaru pre-cooling system was to make it both inexpensive and quick to implement by using existing technologies. The original goal (to cut down on labor and precision temperature control) has been attained through several pre-cooling and software/hardware modification cycles. We will report on the progress and status of our pre-cooling experiences in this presentation.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Koji Omata, Tetsuo Nishimura, Stephen Colley, David Cook, William Gorman, Barney Magrath, Lucio Ramos, Scot Kleinman, Chihiro Tokoku, Masahiro Konishi, Tomohiro Yoshikawa, Ichi Tanaka, and Ryuji Suzuki "Automatic pre-cooling system for large infrared instruments", Proc. SPIE 7018, Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation, 70182E (23 July 2008);


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