What goes on in the SERVO SHOP?

Servo Shop is responsible for maintaining the electronics on the motors that point the antennas. Each antenna at the VLA and the VLBA has 4 motors: 2 for azimuth and 2 for elevation. These motors generally work against each other to provide precision pointing to less than 10 arc seconds.

The VLA motors have been running since the 1970s and are pretty robust. The VLBA antennas tend to be more sensitive to power glitches and often blow fuses. Tom and Ken give the VLBA site technicians technical assistance over the telephone if they need immediate servo help.

Servo motors weigh 300 lbs. The antenna mechanics remove and refurbish them. The motors are then sent to the Servo Shop for work on the electronics. The shop has both a VLA and a VLBA simulator for testing the units before they are re-installed on the antennas.
The armature fits inside the motor. Tom points out the rotor end.
The Servo Shop also works on ACUs-Antenna Control Units. The ACUs convert commands from the modcomps (computers that control the antennas) to electrical motor currents that point the antenna for the observer.

They test the ACU and servo drive cabinet-safety interlocks. It provides current to motors to move antennas. Secondly, it controls the interlocks for safety of personnel and antenna.
Servo also provides technical support for the visitor center exhibits. They keep the Small Radio Telescope in good working order.
Modified on Friday, 26-Sep-2008 12:09:36 MDT