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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CryoBUG Life Testing 14 days and counting

Its been 2 weeks now of continuous operation for CryoBUG, and everything appears to be optimum, with a Cold Head temperature today of -154°C.

Having run for this long without a problem, I don't foresee any failure from this point forward, But to be on the safe side, I plan on continuing the life test for at least 2 more weeks just to see how things pan out.

Now that I know that this design and refrigerant charge is looking good, I have already started project planning on an even smaller version of CryoBUG. The new project code name will be CryoSPRITE, and it'll be about 1/3 the size and just under 1/2 the capacity of its bigger brother. My ultimate goal being to develop a -140°C or colder unit that can fit into a very tight space, and be light enough to hang off of the vacuum flange that connects its Cold Head to the coating or imaging detector chamber.

Aspen Q-Series Compressor
To make this drastic size reduction possible, I will be using a miniature 1.9 cc/rev rotary compressor made by a company called Aspen Compressor based in the United States.

It is a DC variable speed design, that packs an amazing amount of punch for its size. And compared to the compressor in the CryoBUG, comes in at 40% as much displacement, but with an overall size and weight reduction of nearly 70%.

Having the variable speed aspect should help with the start-up, quick cool-down, and energy savings under low load situations. And being a low voltage DC input, will allow for a universal switching power supply to feed it, thereby being able to run on either 120 VAC or 240 VAC 50/60Hz power systems without any reconfiguration necessary.

I look forward to working on this project, and expect to see some of the first prototype tests being run by the end of February 2014.

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