I wish I had good news to post about this time around, as I have a lot of major updates, but this is more urgent. The Edwards E2M18 I just recently purchased from eBay is not working, and is essentially useless at this point. The pump fails to pull vacuum, topping out at around 6 Torr. The chamber and gauge are already tested sealed and working. Put in fresh Ultragrade 19 oil. Drained it, no contaminants, water, particulates, etc but comes out yellowish rather than clear. Pump operates louder and hotter than expected, especially for the short run time and small chamber. Isolating the pump and shutting it off, the pressure skyrockets rapidly instead of holding vacuum. So at this point I’m kind of screwed for now.
I can either attempt a rebuild, or try returning it and risk the whole process again on yet another eBay pump. Both are costly and have risk. Just seems that no matter how hard I try to get stuff working something inevitably fails. This is why I never promise success.
This was the last critical check before the go ahead for ignition testing of the new AIS-ILIS1 thruster that everyone has been eagerly and patiently waiting on results for. With this equipment failure, no vacuum means no test. Again. Two roughing pumps in less than half a year. It shouldn’t be this hard, especially with the minimal and clean pumping I run, but here we are. Unfortunately I literally can’t afford continued equipment failure like this.
It’s going to be a lot of work, and delay testing further, but I guess it is unavoidable that if I want to work at this budget I will have to learn to service this pump myself (like literally everything else). This will be quite a large teardown, hopefully it resolves the issue. More updates to come.