General System Maintenance Guide

Properly maintaining your system can help prevent future problems and keep it running optimally. Running through this list can also help with general troubleshooting, such as problems with vacuum levels or base temperature.

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Every Cool down

Radiation Shield

Ensure the radiation shield is bolted down and secured to the platform. Make sure all radiation shield windows are in place. 

Sample Mounting

See our “Sample Mounting Guide” for tips and techniques for proper sample mounting. Before every cool down, make sure your sample is mounted properly.

Software

Before you can cool down, make sure the software has started up properly (passes the startup diagnostics). It should be reading all thermometers; check that the temperatures change values. 

Helium Pressure

The helium pressure should read >1.55MPa on the supply and return. To check your helium pressure, press the display button on the front panel of the compressor until it shows the supply and return values. You should expect to do a recharge every 18-24 months, although it is good practice to check your levels before every cool down to ensure you are running optimally. To recharge your helium compressor, watch this simple step by step video.

Monthly

O-rings/Vacuum

See “The Care and Keeping of O-Rings” for a guide on proper o-ring maintenance. If you start to notice a degradation in vacuum levels, you may want to inspect and clean the o-rings.

Wiring

Periodically check to be sure that your wires are preserved. To do this, make sure that they do not overlap under thermal clamps, and that the clamps are not too tight. While the wires do have insulation on them, any un-do stress can cause damage to the coating and result in the wiring shorting.

Check that wires do not touch the radiation shield, or that the wires do not come into contact with the sample mount directly after coming through the thermal clamp, as they are not yet thermalized and both scenarios could cause an increase in heat load to the sample stage. There is more information on wiring in the “Wiring Guide: A Complete Introduction

Temperature

If you notice temperature starting to increase over time, it could be caused by a number of potential culprits. See "How to Diagnose Incoming Heat Loads" for instructions on how to identify and fix a heat load issue.

1-2 Times Per YEAR

VGE Wear

VGE has a limited shelf life of one year, and it can also flake off after several thermal cycles. VGE joints in the system should be inspected periodically and repaired as needed. To do this, first clean off the old VGE with acetone or isopropyl alcohol then add a thin layer of VGE in the same location. Alternatively, if the VGE is being used to hold wires down, you can replace the VGE by tying the wire in place with unwaxed floss or nylon string.

Software/Firmware Updates

Our latest software and firmware can be found on the website to download. The setup instructions include release notes of what has changed. Please contact your local service representative if you have questions. On average we have an update every 6-9 months, and we will periodically notify you with major changes. If your software and firmware is earlier than version 4.0, you should update to the most recent release which should fix many old bugs. You can determine which version you have in the System tab > Diagnostics > About button, in the lower right corner.

Cold Head Hours

See “The Care and Keeping of the Cold Head” for a guide on proper cold head maintenance and troubleshooting options. The cold head will need to be serviced around 20,000 hours. If you are nearing this level, you may want to start considering cold head maintenance. Contact your local service representative to discuss servicing options. 

To check your cold head hours, press the display button on the front panel of the compressor until it shows the number of hours on the absorber. Click again to view the number of hours on the compressor. Both of these numbers should match.