For Sly: What Is This?

>> Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sly said: I picked up this strange contraption at an auction, and nobody I know can tell me exactly what it is... The main air in has a gauge that goes up to 30 psi.

I'm speculating, of course. It would help if I had better information (like if there are quick disconnects on the sides not facing the camera). I'm also not a mechanical engineer and this is clearly an older box (using the older Johnson Controls logo)

But I can tell you what I think it is: a gas manifold, either for taking a single source and parsing it out to several outlets or (as seems more likely since there are 5 notations for S=supply) or control of multiple sources to multiple outlets. The fact that there are 5 gauges for 5 gasses argues that we're not mixing gasses but rather regulating/controlling multiple gas outlets.

As a source gas, 0-30 psi (psia? psig?) seems awfully low so this might be a control box for a low-pressure gas purging system (critical electronic/optical equipment might be purged with dry air or nitrogen to keep it uncontaminated or to keep it free of condensation). But it might have a dozen other general or specific uses.

Johnson Controls has made a great many controls and boxes for some of our environmental chambers. Most of the controls were there long before I was so I don't know if they were custom made or general equipment. That applies here as well. If knew (a)inlets and outlets, (b) whether the apparent nobs on the front were for control, (c) what ranges the gauges were reading, (d) any cautions or other labeling and (e) if Lee's right and those little domed items linked to gauges are LEDs, that might help me narrow it down.


  • Shakespeare

    Dude, I wouldn't have a CLUE about this. You are amazing even to be able to attempt an answer. WOW.

  • Aron Sora

    I have another dump truck full of questions for you, I need to start spacing these out. Sorry.
    People think I say "sorry" and "thank you" to much. Is it really that annoying? My parents constantly tell me to be more confident, but I'm just trying to be humble. Are these problems that I need to work on?
    I'm thinking about double majoring. Some form of engineering (Still deciding which type, but I'm leaning towards mechanical) and sociology. Am I insane for even considering that? I love looking at how technology effects society, but I need a technical background to go into space habitation.
    I have a twitter account. I use a tool to automatically follow people who follow me, but now I can't read their tweets but cause there are so many, should I turn off auto-follow.
    A while ago, I applied for the NASA-MUST scholarship. In addition to money for college, NASA gave the winners an internship. I didn't get in the program, does this mean that I do not have a shot to intern with NASA? I would love to intern and work at NASA someday.
    Someone claimed that the Tower of Babel proved that god did not want humanity to conduct macro-Engineering projects. Does this story mean this?
    By definition, I am an Eclectic Spiritual, I use a combination of Christianity and Buddhism and other things as my religion. But, I have found the Eclectic Spiritualism has a strong association with Paganism. Would calling myself an Eclectic Spiritual give me a bad reputation.

  • Aron Sora

    One more

    While developing my moral system, I used these passages to support why I won't date, marry or have pre-marital sex:

    Matthew 19:10-12
    ...his disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

    1 Cor 7:6-9
    ...This I say by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

    1 Cor 7:24-35
    ...In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God. Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife... Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.

    1 Cor 7:38-40
    ...So then, he who marries his fiancée does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is.

    Is my conclusion logical? Is is better not to date and only focus on my mission in life which I feel is my calling?

  • Sly

    Hi Stephanie!

    Thanks for taking the time to analyze my current mystery item. Maybe I can help you figure out what this is by providing some more detail...

    This thing is installed in a briefcase, so there is nothing on the back or side that is easy to get to.

    The domed items linked to the gauges are air inlets. The domes are just rubber caps. This thing doesn't seem to use electricity at all.

    The two leftmost gauges max out at 30psi/200 kPa.

    The rest of the gauges read degrees Fahrenheit. They also show a range from 3 psig to 15 psig. Their temperature range is anywhere between -40F and 160F depending on which band you're reading.

    The little tan square is a removable piece of plastic that says "do not remove".. (it is cracked and slightly melted). This covers a small plastic box that has five plastic air inlets (you can see the vacuum hose-like thing that is attached to one of them).

    The best answer I've got so far suggests that this is an air regulator for a variable output A/C unit that had air pressure powered baffles, but the guy who answered me didn't know it was installed in a briefcase. My best guess is that it is some sort of testing unit- otherwise, why make it portable.

    Maybe these details can help you figure out what it is.

  • Stephanie B

    Aron, I'll get to those questions starting tomorrow.

    Sly, that does help. Temps instead of pressures argues against my guess. Are those nobs on supply and the S-X's? I tend to agree with your assessment that this was a testing rig. What, if anything is adjustable on the rig might help me figure out a specific purpose.

    Truth is, though, that it might be a custom piece of hardware for a specific purpose (such a facility that had many chambers that needed to be tested). I might never figure it out.

  • Sly

    All of the S-# spots have knobs, but on the supply, it's yet another inlet with a rubber cap. The knobs on the S-# can turn more than full circle. I'm beginning to think that this won't be worth much on ebay :) The S-5 knob has a red ring that locks the knob in place.

  • Stephanie B

    Are there flow rates on the gauges along with pressure and temperature?

  • Sly

    I'm not seeing anything that indicates a flow rate.

    It does say "check base pressure periodically" near the tan box at the bottom. This is only partially visible in the pic.

  • Stephanie B

    Well, I'm stumped. My guess is a custom piece of equipment. But I'm not an expert in non-custom gas systems. Do you know anyone in HVAC?

  • Sly

    I don't know anyone in HVAC personally, but living in Sunny Phoenix, AZ.- I can assure you that they aren't hard to find.

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