|X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY LABORATORY · Department of Chemistry · University of Alberta|
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|21 Jun 19:||
Turns out the motor for the omega drive was not repairable; we salvaged a motor and gear drive from a donor system and are now back operational. Once again, many thanks to our machine shop and electronics shop for their help.
|14 Jun 19:||
And now an issue with the omega drive motor of the Platform, as it appears that the bearings internal to the motor are failing. Our machine shop is handling the repair.
|24 May 19:||
We received a donated BVT3300 Kryoflex controller from Bill Brennessel (Univ Rochester) for the D8 and the instrument is once again operation. Many thanks to Bill and the Bruker Users group for their assistance.
|01 Apr 19:||
An issue with the Kryoflex temperature controller on the D8 system
following the weekend power shutdown. All other components have come
back online properly. Consulting with Bruker and will update this page
as information becomes available.
|02 Nov 18:||
The cooling fan in the base of the platform goniometer needed to be replaced. Thanks to our electronics shop and machine shop for their assistance. Currently running a test crystal over the weekend.
|12 Oct 18:||
The D8 is back up and running after a full alignment of both sources by Bruker. Huge thanks to the department for its support of our facility.
|05 Oct 18:||
The Bruker service engineer is expected to arrive on Tues, Oct 9, to re-align the D8.
|10 Aug 18:||
Looks like our copper beam is out of alignment following a collison. Will again be consulting with Bruker.
|21 Jul 18:||
After a couple of Webex sessions with Bruker we narrowed the problem down to either the phi interconnect board or the phi cable. We pulled a cable from a donor system and installed on the D8 - seems to be working okay now.
|27 Jun 18:||
There is an issue with the phi-drive of the D8 diffractometer. Troubleshooting with Bruker.
|6 Feb 17:||
The Cu microsource is back up and running. Thanks to Bruker for
walking us through the replacement and alignment process. As
always, major thanks to our department for its continued
support of our facility.
|20 Jan 17:||
After consultation with Bruker we've determined that the Cu
microsource X-ray tube has burned out. We've ordered a
replacement and hope it should get to us by early March.
|29 Nov 16:||
The Cu microsource on the D8 Duo diffractometer has failed.
Consulting with Bruker to see what exactly is the problem.
In the meantime, we can at least use the Mo sealed tube
source on this machine, but it means that we won't be as
able to get data from small weakly-diffracting crystals.
But we will try whatever gets submitted.
|24 Aug 16:||
The D8 Duo's low-temperature system is back in working order thanks
to Dirk in our Machine Shop.
|22 Aug 16:||
And now it's the low-temperature system on the D8 Duo machine. Replaced
a gas pump and the gas couplings aren't fitting so well. At least there's
a local supplier for these. Hope to be up before the end of the week.
|12 Aug 16:||
The D8 Duo system is back in normal operation.
|11 Aug 16:||
The pump repair kit arrived and we seem to be back in business.
As usual, we'll do an overnight test to see if the system is stable.
|9 Aug 16:||
STILL WAITING on that parts replacement kit for that vacuum pump.
In the meantime we've ordered a kit from another supplier who
should be able to get it to us more quickly. At least we'll have
a replacement set on hand for the next time it wears out.
|13 July 16:||
Problems with an air pump that evacuates the beam path through the focusing
mirrors for the Cu microsource on the D8 instrument. We've ordered a
servicing/rebuild kit and hope it gets here in a few days.
|9 Dec 15:||
No problems with the D8 Duo since we turned it back on over a week ago,
so we'll say we're back to normal operation on this machine.
|1 Dec 15:||
We've installed a new high-voltage cable and replaced the burnt-out X-ray
tube on the Mo-wavelength generator of the D8 Duo machine. Now running
data collections on this instrument and keeping an eye on the stability
of the generator.
|18 Nov 15:||
After much testing we've narrowed the problems with the D8 Duo's Mo
generator down to either a faulty high-voltage cable or a malfunctioning
transformer tank. The former is easily fixed (just buy a new cable!)
but the latter means we'd have to ship the generator unit back to Bruker
(Madison) for servicing. We've ordered a new cable along with a new Mo
tube, which we need either way. Hope to have these for testing some
time next week. Special thanks again to Al Chilton for his electronics
|20 Oct 15:||
The good news is that the replacement generator unit for the Cu microsource
is installed and is functional. The bad news is that the generator for the
Mo sealed-tube source is acting up, probably due to a damaged high-voltage
cable, which also damaged the tube in the process. We're doing further tests
to determine whether other parts of the generator were also affected, and
to figure out what replacement parts need to be ordered.
|28 Sep 15:||
We'll be sending the Cu microsource's generator unit back to
Bruker in exchange for a working one. Unfortunately that means
the D8 diffractometer will be totally out of service, since its
safety interlocks are now tied to having two functioning
generators. We do hope to have the new Cu generator control module
installed on our system before the end of October.
|26 Aug 15:||
More problems with the D8 Duo machine. This time it's the Cu microsource
generator, which seems to be unable to reach full operating power.
Hoping the Bruker folks have some advice for us.
|21 Aug 15:||
Again our Electronics and Machine Shop wizards bail us out. The D8
diffractometer is back in operation.
|14 Aug 15:||
Problems with one of the axial positioning drives on the D8 machine.
Hope to have this figured out in a few days.
|21 July 15:||
The PLATFORM diffractometer has passed its tests and is back in service.
Many many thanks to Al Chilton (Electronics Shop) and Dirk Kelm (Machine
Shop) for again getting us back in production.
|20 July 15:||
The PLATFORM machine is back in one piece and we're running a test
dataset with a standard crystal. Hope to be back in normal operation
within the next day or two.
|14 July 15:||
Not only a burnt-out fuse on the 2θ axis control board, but
worn-out bearings on the driveshaft assembly for this axis. Al from
the Electronics Shop and Dirk from our Machine Shop are on the case.
|10 July 15:||
More PLATFORM system woes, this time it's the goniometer's 2θ drive
that's unresponsive. Burnt-out drive motor? Faulty logic board? We'll
hand this one over to our elite electronics experts.
|2 July 15:||
The PLATFORM diffractometer is back up and running with the aid of the
21-year-old refrigerated water chiller that we used to use with the
now-defunct rotating-anode X-ray generator.
|29 June 15:||
After a scheduled electrical shutdown in the department this weekend,
the water recirculator pump (for cooling the X-ray tube) on the PLATFORM
machine has decided to fail. Off to our machine shop for repairs.
|2 Jan 15:||
The PLATFORM diffractometer is back in normal operation.
|22 Dec 14:||
The new tube for the PLATFORM diffractometer arrives just before
Xraymas. Now for the alignment process.
|3 Dec 14:||
A burnt out X-ray tube for the PLATFORM diffractometer. A
replacement is on order and should arrive in a few days.
|23 July 14:||
A problem with the D8's generator control board.
Another fix by Al from the department's electronics shop.
Thanks once again to Bruker for their help.
|18 July 14:||
Problems with the Mo-wavelength generator on the D8 Duo
diffractometer. Working with Bruker to troubleshoot.
|30 May 13:||
The D8 Duo diffractometer is back in regular service.
|28 May 13:||
The replacement Mo tube arrived this afternoon. Now to install it
on the D8 Duo and go through the beam alignment steps. Should take
a day or two.
|17 May 13:||
The molybdenum X-ray tube on the D8 Duo system has burnt out, which
is to be expected after about five years of service. A replacement
has been ordered, which should take a week or so to arrive.
Unfortunately we can't use the copper microsource on this instrument
since the safety interlocks are heavily dependent on the status of
the original Mo sealed-tube generator.
|2 Apr 13:||
Another great job by our Electronics shop (thanks Al!). The
PLATFORM system (now known as Old Sparky) is good to go.
|27 Mar 13:||
Some problems with the high-voltage power inputs on the PLATFORM
system. Another job for our Electronics wizards. May need some
rewiring of the power distribution module, but we hope that should
only take a couple of days.
|16 Jan 13:||
Just a blown fuse on one of the axial-drive control boards (thanks
again to Al from our Electronics shop). The PLATFORM diffractometer
is back in operation.
|15 Jan 13:||
Trouble with one of the drive axes on the PLATFORM system. Hope to have
it back in service by the end of the week.
|12 July 12:||
The PLATFORM system has been repaired and is back in production.
|9 July 12:||
After a building water shutdown on Saturday, problems with getting
the generator on the PLATFORM system going. Sounds like it may be a
blown capacitor on a main control board, so that's a job for our
|10 Aug 11:||
The (newly-redesignated) D8 Duo system is in normal operation.
|28 July 11:||
The PLATFORM system is back in normal operation.
The copper microfocus source has been installed on the D8 system. Right now we can't use the original molybdenum source on this machine due to interference between the beamstop and the low-temperature system's cooling nozzle. Bruker is working on a solution and we hope to have the D8 running in dual-wavelength mode later next week. Meanwhile we can collect datasets with the copper source, so after some test datasets with standard crystals we hope to start normal data collections next week.
|27 July 11:||
The Bruker service people are installing the copper microfocus source
on the D8 system. After the alignment and calibration steps, we hope
to have this one running by the end of the week.
Parts for the broken refrigerated chiller have arrived, so we hope to have this one hooked up to the PLATFORM system in the next day or so.
|18 July 11:||
In preparation for next week's addition of the copper microfocus source
to the D8/APEX II system, we've taken the refrigerated chiller that
was being used with the PLATFORM system and attached it to the D8's
detector. Hoping to have the PLATFORM system back in service by the
end of the week or early next.
|17 July 11:||
A series of problems with the D8/APEX II system, starting with the
tube shutter, followed by the tube-cooling water recirculator, and now
the refrigerated chiller that keeps the APEX II detector's CCD chip
cold. Many thanks to Al Chilton of our Electronics Shop for his
repair of the shutter, and Paul Crothers of our Machine Shop for
working on the water recirculator. The refrigerated chiller is in
the hands of our university's refrigeration systems specialist, and
we're waiting on a small part which should get us running again in
the next week or so.
|1 June 11:||
We will be upgrading our D8/APEX II system to dual-wavelength
capability (Mo/Cu) with the addition of a
microfocus source. Installation is scheduled for the last week
of July, so we hope to have it in normal service at the beginning
We are grateful to NSERC for funding of the equipment, and to the departmental users group for support of our application.
|3 Feb 11:||
The upgraded PLATFORM/APEX II system is in service.
|28 Jan 11:||
We will be replacing the old SMART 1000 detector on the PLATFORM system
with a new APEX II detector. Installation is scheduled for the first
week of February.
|3 Sept 10:||
Al from Electronics saves the day again. One replaced microswitch
and we're back in production.
|2 Sept 10:||
Some problems with the D8/APEX II's shutter assembly. Al from
our Electronics Shop is on the case.
|4 May 10:||
Back to normal operation.
|3 May 10:||
New gas pump received and installed. If it gets through the night with
no problems we'll be back in business.
|26 Apr 10:||
Looks like the pump on the D8/APEX II's low-temperature (crystal
cooling) system is dead. Replacement ordered; hope to be
operational later this week or early next.
|31 Aug 09:||
The repairs to the D8/APEX II system seem to have held up over
the weekend, so it's back in production.
|28 Aug 09:||
Repairs to the D8/APEX II system's generator have been completed.
We're keeping a close eye on it and hope to be fully operational
early next week.
Early results from the SMART 1000 detector looked promising after we had pumped down the mini vacuum chamber around its CCD chip. Unfortunately the chip again looks like it can't maintain its usual operating temperature (below -40 °C) so we may have to take it back out of service.
|19 Aug 09:||
The problem with the APEX II detector has been fixed, but now the
X-ray generator won't fire up. We're working with Bruker and our
in-house electronics people on this one, and in the meantime are
also working on the old SMART 1000 detector, which again seems to
have trouble keeping its CCD chip cold enough for data collection.
|5 Aug 09:||
A blown pump on the chiller that keeps the APEX II detector
chip cold. Hoping for a replacement by some time next week.
|22 June 09:||
Some problems with the department's in-house nitrogen gas supply
system, which is used by the low-temperature systems for the
diffractometers. The supplier is on the case.
UPDATE: Problem solved. Back in action.
|3 June 09:||
The D8/APEX II system is back in normal operation.
|1 June 09:||
A new pump for the low-temperature system seems to have done the
trick. We'll see how it goes overnight.
|25 May 09:||
Some (more) problems with the low-temperature system on the D8/APEX II
system; back to the old PLATFORM/SMART 1000 machine for a while.
|1 Apr 09:||
We've restored the new D8/APEX II system to operational status.
|27 Mar 09:||
After a couple of different approaches, it looks like the low-temperature
system is back in good health. We'll keep an eye on it over the weekend,
and next week our Bruker service engineer will be here to check our
|17 Mar 09:||
We're working with Bruker to resolve the problem with the new machine's
low-temperature system. Meanwhile we've reverted to data collections
on the older system.
|16 Mar 09:||
Some issues with the low-temperature system on the (new) D8/APEX II
system. We may have to shift back to the old PLATFORM/SMART 1000
machine while we work on it.
|1 Aug 08:||
The new D8/APEX II system is in normal operation.
|29 July 08:||
Looks like the low-temperature system is almost sorted out. We'll need
to run a test dataset or two, and hope to be collecting datasets on the
new machine by late this week/early next.
|24 July 08:||
The new diffractometer is in our lab and has been assembled.
Unfortunately a key component of the low-temperature (crystal-cooling)
system was damaged during shipment, and it may be later next week before we
receive and install a replacement. The new software for diffractometer
control and data processing is also totally different from what we've
been using on our current machine, so it will take us some time to get
familiar with it. Fortunately the old machine is still working.
|12 July 08:||
Update on the new diffractometer installation: it'll be the week of
21 July (not 14 July as previously mentioned).
|7 July 08:||
Shutter and water recirculator fixed. Back in business.
|4 July 08:||
Some problems with first the tube water recirculator, and now the X-ray
shutter assembly. Hope to be back up in a couple of days.
If there's a silver lining, it's that we expect to receive our new diffractometer system by the end of next week. A Bruker service engineer will then complete the installation and testing of the new system, and we hope to be running samples on it before the end of the month.
|5 June 08:||
We were successful in our recent application to NSERC for funding for
a new CCD diffractometer. We also thank the Faculty of Science at the
University of Alberta for their generous partial support of the purchase
of this instrument. The new machine has been ordered, and we hope to
have it installed by late summer or early autumn.
|24 Apr 08:||
An anniversary of sorts, as we're marking one (trouble-free) year since our
CCD detector went back into operation.
|24 Apr 07:||
The detector passed its tests, so it's back in production.
|23 Apr 07:||
Our detector has returned from Bruker and we've reinstalled it on our
system. A couple of unexpected problems have occurred, so it may be
a couple of days before we're back in normal operation.
UPDATE: Not as bad as we originally thought. Watch this space!
|2 Mar 07:||
We're back to normal (more or less).
|1 Mar 07:||
The loaner system has arrived and is on the diffractometer. Now for
the standard tests - hope to start collecting datasets tomorrow.
|26 Feb 07:||
No detector yet - should be here by the end of this week.
|14 Feb 07:||
We've sent the CCD detector back to Bruker, but they've located a
loaner unit for us. We should have it by the end of next week
(around Friday 23 February) and should be back in production shortly
||1 Feb 07:||
The CCD detector is again losing its ability to keep the CCD chip cooled
to its normal operating temperature of -45 °C. It will probably have
to be sent back to Bruker within the next week or so. We're trying to get
through the samples we have in hand, but PLEASE don't send us any new ones
until we find out whether we'll be able to get a detector on loan from
Bruker (there are very few loaners available, and they're always in high
|25 Jan 07:||
We're back in business.
|23 Jan 07:||
Got the shutter problem sorted out, but we had to move the tube quite a
bit to get at it. Now for realignment - should only take the next day or
|22 Jan 07:||
A problem with the X-ray tube's shutter assembly. We'll keep you posted.
|20 Nov 06:||
We've received our detector back from Bruker after repairs. We'll be
putting it back on our diffractometer and doing alignment and testing
today, and running a dataset with the standard crystal overnight. We
should be back in normal operation tomorrow.
Many thanks to the group at Bruker for arranging the loaner detector system for us.
|24 July 06:||
The loaner detector system worked well over the weekend, so we're
back in normal operation.
We've put the number of samples in the waiting list on the lab home page to give our users an idea of how busy we are (or not). Past experience leads us to estimate that we can handle 12-14 samples per week, on average (including both successful data collections and unsuccessful sample trials).
|20 July 06:||
The 'loaner' CCD detector has arrived and has been installed on our
diffractometer. We'll run a dataset on our standard test crystal, and
with any luck we'll start data collections over the weekend.
|17 July 06:||
The 'loaner' system has passed its tests at Bruker (Madison) and has been
shipped. We should have it in the lab by the middle of this week.
|11 July 06:||
Word from Bruker this morning is that the work on our 'loaner' system
is proceeding, and that they should be finished refurbishing and checking
it by the end of this week. If all goes well, we'll have it in our hands
next week (week of 17 July).
|29 June 06:||
Bruker will taking back our detector to send back to Photometrics to see
what went wrong. In the meantime they're assembling a detector system to
send to us on loan. Because it needs to be configured and tested it'll
probably get to us the week of 10 July.
|24 June 06:||
After three days' normal operation, the detector is unable to keep the
CCD chip cool. Back to Bruker for advice.
|20 June 06:||
The CCD detector arrived back in our lab this morning. It's back on
the diffractometer and is undergoing testing. Give us a day or two to
give the 'all-up' signal.
|9 June 06:||
Still waiting on the CCD detector.
The newly-repaired anode seal on the rotating-anode generator has failed after little more than two weeks in service, so our 'backup' is also down.
|29 May 06:||
The CCD detector is back at Bruker after the repairs by Photometrics.
Bruker now have to do a full recalibration on the detector, which will
take the rest of this week and probably part of next. Optimistically
we may get the detector back by the end of next week, but more
realistically we should get it back in the lab some time during the
week of 12 June.
|23 May 06:||
Some minor good news with the P4/RA. The repaired rotating-anode target
assembly arrived back from Bruker today, so we've begun the (tedious)
pump-down/power-up/align process. Hoping to have crystals on the machine
by the end of the week
|30 Mar 06:||
More problems, but this time with the P4/RA. The rotating-anode vacuum
seal has failed, and we've shipped the anode back to Bruker for a rebuild
(it's not a user-serviceable part). Although this anode had only been in
service for little over a month in 2000 (before we shifted the CCD detector
to the sealed-tube generator), the vacuum seals tend to have a finite shelf
|14 Mar 06:||
Word from Bruker is that the repair price is quite reasonable. The detector
is on its way to Photometrics Inc. for
a rebuild. Estimated time: 2-3 months, due to the age of our detector, the
complexity of the repairs, and their service queue.
We have been collecting data using the P4/RA, but it's slow going. Datasets typically take 2-3 days - sometimes longer if the generator goes down overnight, when we're not here to restart it.
|1 Mar 06:||
(No new news about the CCD detector, but in the meantime...)
Some encouraging signs as we try to get the old P4 diffractometer/rotating anode generator combo back in operation with the old-style serial (single reflection) detector. Many thanks to Al Chilton in the electronics shop for spotting and fixing three different problems with the diffractometer control interface. Now for the tedious alignment process.
|27 Feb 06:||
It looks like the cooling unit inside the vacuum chamber has failed, as Bruker
were unable to get the CCD chip to cool below -25 °C (normal chip operating
temperature is -45 °C). The camera will have to be sent back to the
manufacturer (Photometrics Inc.) for
repair or replacement of the Peltier cooling unit. Estimated time for repair:
8-12 weeks (combination of the job being complex and their service queue being
lengthy). We also don't yet know how much the repairs would cost, and it's
difficult for Bruker to give us a precise estimate since this doesn't happen
often. Right now they do have a unit similar to ours at Photometrics for
repairs. They hope to get it back within the next few days, and should then be
able to give us an idea of the repair charges
|21 Feb 06:||
Bruker were able to re-establish the vacuum in the CCD chamber. They'll be
keeping a close eye to see that it doesn't deteriorate (i.e. that the vacuum
seal is still good). They then will commence testing the detector performance
before okaying it to be shipped back to us.
|13 Feb 06:||
We've sent the CCD detector back to Bruker in Madison. The unit appears to
have lost vacuum in the chamber containing the CCD chip and the cooling unit.
This results in unusable data since the CCD chip isn't able to be cooled to its
recommended operating temperature. The Bruker people will re-establish the
vacuum (10-6 torr) and will be checking to see whether the seal has
failed (and will repair if necessary). With any luck, we should be back in
operation within two weeks.
Questions? Problems? Please contact us:
|Last updated 6 February 2017|