The original computer solves not all of the problems

A project log for X-Ray CT scanners get new life

Two small GE Explore Locus SPs find a new home, and they happen to be mine.

ahron-wayneAhron Wayne 08/31/2023 at 16:321 Comment

Since our last post I changed the entire computer (again, I suppose). An HP-XW8400: Found on ebay at a decent price finally, this was what was originally used by the SP after upgraded from Windows 2000 to XP. 

I hooked everything up and... problems.

i mean, the recon interface hadn't worked before, either, but why not? So I then re-cloned the hard drive image, to this old physical hard disk, with the idea that I would be way more careful and methodical this time. Even that process involved fixing a bunch of small bugs --- like the hard drive image (160 gb) being too big for the hard drive (160 gb). 

So let's take a step back at our little CT nook:

The place is a mess. Most of the screws on the panels are off, as is the extra shielding. There are tools and allen wrenches everywhere. Four hard drives, a few computers, thousands of pages of documents, the old x-ray source, and every cable you can imagine. I've taken the machine apart and put it back together again, I've connected motors to external controllers, tracked down capture cards and service engineers and now finally I have most of the original hardware, and all the original software, on an original hard drive clone.

And now the reconstruction utility opens! And like before I can move the motors. I can fire x-rays. I can see images. Everything seems to work. Everything but the shutter server. 

It's supposed to be on port 3. Why isn't it on port 3? Why does the registry say it's supposed to be on port 3, when that's where the x-ray and motor controller is? Why doesn't it work on ports 4-6 either, which are the only other ports that another working system has registered? Why doesn't it even try to communicate with those ports when they're open? HOW COULD IT BE ON PORT 3 IF THE X-RAY MOTOR CONTROLLER IS THERE???


The funny thing is --- I figured out that with the frame capture software, there's actually settings that will let it take images without the shutter at all, which confuses me to no end --- with all that trouble, why did they even bother with it? As an example, here's a blurry phone-shot live-view video of what appears to be a parasite in my acorn. 

Unfortunately, the triggering for the camera and all the software still requires a physically rotating shutter. If the frame grabber software were better, perhaps I would forgo the shutter entirely, but the easiest path forward still looks like using the original scan and recon software, which is annoying for other reasons like that it makes you "warm up" the x-rays all the way to 90 kv even if you only plan on doing 60 kv scans which is bad for it. 

And so this weekend I'll try to build a better shutter controller that works with the hall effect sensors hopefully, so I can drive it slowly and take real scans. 


Paul McClay wrote 09/03/2023 at 17:52 point


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