Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Little Generator That Could



I spent most of the first week working on the X-ray Truck.  I'm happy to announce that Patrick has the biggest engineering challenges related to generator.

The power issues and X-ray machine errors boiled down to a generator that couldn't respond fast enough to the short and hard power requirements of the X-ray machine.  Patrick tells me that the technical term for this is power factor correction.  Most people solve this with a much larger generator (heavier, more fuel, etc) than is required based on initial calculations.  We were stuck with the existing generator vs making major truck changes, so we made this generator work.  

The two most important fixes were: proper setting of the generator governor, and installation of a 1500W immersion heater that allows us to load the generator prior to firing the X-ray machine.  Patrick did a really beautiful job rigging up the heater so that the heater is engaged by the radiographer immediately prior to firing the x-ray machine just by pushing a small button near the doorway.

We're going to test patients at AMPATH centre tomorrow, and then roll out into the field.  We still face many logistical challenges regarding uploading and storing images, but we're making important strides.

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