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Bill Gilbert, Electromechanical Systems Specialist

I do technical support work here in the Physics Dept at University of Minnesota. My training is in electronics,
but I have 20+ years experience in the industrial measurement and control world. Frequently, acting as a system
integrator, I pull together hardware, and write software (NI Labview) to get a job done. Or, I can consult on
selection of hardware, and do Labview coaching. I also do equipment repairs.

I've been set up as an Internal Service Organization, and do a fair amount of work in other university departments
like Medicine, Neurology, Chemistry, etc. If you have a project that you might want me to help with, I would suggest
we have a brief discussion at no charge. Then once the scope of work is known, I can make a cost estimate, and we
can decide how to move forward.

Areas of experience:

  • Programming in National Instruments LabVIEW since 1992, ~25 projects to date,
  • Certified Labview Associate Developer (CLAD)
  • Automated measurement and control systems, design & build
  • Use various CAD systems for mechanical, electrical, and printed circuit design.
  • Sensor instrumentation for physical measurements, temperature, pressure, fluid
    flow, force, displacement, position, acceleration, etc.
  • Proportional (PID) process controllers and programmable logic controllers
  • Instrument interface communications using GPIB, Serial, USB, Ethernet.
  • Application of thermoelectric coolers, recirculating chillers

Projects have included:

  • Automated QA testers used to characterize avalanche photodiode modules used in the NoVA neutrino experiment.
    This system featured 464 analog input channels and 14 PID temperature control loops driving thermoelectric coolers (photos)
  • Automated fiber facing (flycutting) machines for NoVA detector modules (photos)
  • Automated QA testers for Gigabit Optical Links used in CMS experiment at CERN (photos)
  • HMI/SCADA system for neutron irradiation facility using NI Lookout software (photos)
  • Long term Gamma Irradiation Tester for CMS ECAL APDs (photos)
  • Data acquisition systems used to monitor devices undergoing neutron irradiation (photos)
  • Data acquisition application used to monitor the Veto Shield at the Soudan mine (LowRad Wiki page)
  • Darkroom photonic test systems (photos)
  • Optical Character Recognition system to read serial numbers on photodiodes
  • Automated QA tester for sheet resistivity and optical transmission of ITO coated glass for liquid crystal displays
  • Data Acquisition and control for vacuum coating processes
  • System for timed delivery of audio,visual, and tactile stimuli to test subjects. Hardware and software design
  • Ankle joint torque data acquisition system for use in MRI scanner, using fixture built by Virtumed
  • Thermoelectric freezer designed to hold test samples at minus 30 degC indefinitely while under irradiation (photos)
  • Automatic polarity reverser for magnet power supplies up to 175 Amp capacity (photos)

Labview Programs and Instrument Drivers

If you are using Labview, it makes some sense to use NI hardware if you can, since if you need tech support, NI can help you with both programming and hardware. Having said that, we know NI can't make everything, so over the years here in Physics, we've used Labview to build systems with hardware from other manufacturers, like Agilent (Hewlett Packard), Tektronix, Keysight(Keithley), LeCroy, Neslab, etc.

While Labview drivers for third party instruments can often be downloaded from the Instrument Driver Network at ni.com, they are posted as-is since NI can't test and guarantee them with hardware they don't make. In my experience, they often need debugging. To be fair, some of these are complex instruments, and testing all the combinations of features and settings would take a LOT of time, and if they are giving them away for free, you can see why there might be some mistakes. Starting with downloaded drivers is still better than starting from nothing, even if you have to fix a few things.

I'm posting some drivers that I've written and/or debugged:

  • Agilent 34970A DVM/switch unit
  • Digikrom DK480 monochromator
  • Thermo Neslab recirculating chillers
  • Keithley 237 Sourcemeter

They can be found and downloaded on Google Drive here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BL4Kd6aWSk4RJE_-ip3OtyVlXdANtFzM?usp=sharing

people/wgilbert/home.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/20 13:03 by wgilbert