We're a little crazy, about science!

The next countdown

Well the next long experiment is slowly coming and by slowly I mean AHHHHHHH!!! It’s only a few days away!!!!!! What are we going to do, someone panic and use more exclamation points!!!!!!! Seriously though, we’re counting down to the next long experiment and hospital-PI is already quizzing me to make sure we’re ready. This needs to go off without a hitch, but as we know the best way to ruin a plan is to try and execute it. Well there’s no substitute for practice… I guess?

So this will be the fourth time we’ve tried long experiment. Long experiment was nicknamed as such because as the name suggests, it’s incredibly long. All day long. So long you don’t even bother packing a lunch because it won’t happen long. So long you should use the bathroom before you start because there won’t be a chance to go otherwise long. So long… well you get the idea. Oh so long you can make a really long list about how long it is! Sorry, I had to say it.

Long experiment is so long because we’re doing a lot. Frankly we would like to cram even more into long experiment, but unless we can time travel I don’t think we can fit anything more into the day. Honestly there’s just no way to optimize all the moving bits and pieces that go into making long experiment happen, at least there’s no further way to optimize it, I’ve basically done everything I could. Still there are small things we can change to help favor a good outcome and this week in particular I’ve been implementing all those solutions, and there were a lot!

The two things we came up with to improve this (by we I mean, me, but I feel like hospital-PI should get some credit too, if only because of the support). The first was some new code to automate things. I’ve managed to automate basically everything at this point. There were several bits of code that I needed to write and currently there’s only one thing left on my to-do list that I haven’t finished yet. With just a few days between me and experiment day, I hope to get this last bit of code written in the next day or so, but there’s something else that is more important to finish first.

So there’s some hardware I need to fabricate. Still. To clarify there were four pieces I really needed to make and as of yesterday I finished 3 of 4. I’ve started the fourth and I need to finish it before the experiment or else. It’s a lot of time consuming, but mostly mindless work. I had a bit of a panic attack the other day when I came to the realization that one of the assumptions I made about the equipment may not hold true when I checked a different, but similar, piece and found the wiring to be different. However, the near heart attack was for nothing because while I had made the assumption that all the equipment would be wired the same, it turns out the different pieces are wired differently, but within the group it’s all wired the same. If that sounds confusing, then well it was, but also it doesn’t help that I have to talk around this stuff.

Basically at this point we’re on the final fine tuning for the experiment and so far so good, but there’s still things to be done and we’re not quite at the finish line just yet. Thankfully all the work is progressing and I’m still somewhat ahead of schedule, not by a lot, but by a comfortable amount. Any amount of time I’m ahead of schedule is a good thing though, so I’m not complaining. It beats the other direction, because I’m almost always behind schedule these days (please don’t look at the dissertation progress I’ve made for example).

Once I have the last bit of code written and all four parts made up, I can start getting the equipment organized, like physically organized. There’s a good 100 or so wires that need to be attached to places and things, mostly between equipment and systems, since we have three different systems we’re using for this project. Having them organized going in means I won’t be searching for them when we need them. I’m also hoping that with the stuff I’m making we won’t keep running into a problem we’ve been having and that’s the need to disconnect stuff.

There’s been problems with having to disconnect and reconnect stuff. It’s been a theme for all three of the experiments we’ve done and I’ve finally figured out a way to stop that from happening, I think… maybe. If things go according to plan we won’t need to worry about it. There’s other concerns I’m having about this setup, but hospital-PI seems convinced it’s the best (or maybe only) way to do this. We’ll see, I’m a little anxious to test it all out though and that should happen the day before the experiment. I basically have the full day to setup and test, so going into the experiment I should have all the stuff tested at least once before we use it.

If all goes well tomorrow I’ll have the fourth part made up and that will be the end of that. The code shouldn’t take too long, but I’m hoping to finish that tomorrow as well. That will give me all Thursday to prep, which I’ll need for the big event on Friday. It’s going to be so much work, but I hope it will be worth it. At least this time it won’t be an overnight effort, last time was awful. I’m not sure I’ll get sleep the night before, but I already feel better about this experiment compared to the last.

So complicated!!!!! On the brightside, the next time we do one of these we will (hopefully) have the new equipment, meaning I’ll be able to reduce the number of wires from 100+ to just 3-5, oh and it will all be on the same system! I don’t mind working with next to no budget, but it’s nice that we had the money to drop for that stuff (it was NOT cheap!!) and I’m thankful hospital-PI trusts me enough to order it.

That said, this will probably not be the last long experiment update, but the good news is there’s only a few days between now and the big event, so if you’re bored of the updates, you won’t have to hear about it for much longer!

2 responses

  1. “There’s been problems with having to disconnect and reconnect stuff.” Connector damage and/or unreliable contact? We’ve dealt with that at work too. It’s a real pain.

    Good to hear you feel like you have a little more prep time for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    • Yes! We’ve had to send equipment in for repair recently for that very reason. The connection was super unreliable to the point that I was using a roll of tape to push the connector just right to make good contact (whatever works!), but it was annoying. Sorry you’re dealing with the same thing, I can lend you my roll of tape if it helps, lol.

      Thank you, yes, it makes a huge difference feeling like I can take my time to do things right with this one. Soldered part number 4 together today, so I should be pretty good to go from here.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 28, 2022 at 7:18 pm

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