Today I (with others) mainly worked on fixing broken incubators since they are so needed in the developing world. A lot of the time they will place up to three babies in one incubator. The main functions we look for are if it is heating properly, if the air probe is working properly, if the skin temperature probe is working properly, if all appropriate alarms are working (don’t wanna cook the baby!) and that the motor or fan are not too loud for the baby’s ears. The first incubator would turn on but wouldn’t heat unless the fan was started manually. Obviously this is impractical because the fan is on the inside of the machine and not easily accessible. Thus it was determined that the start up capacitor, which gets the motor going, was probably a dud—and it was! Now that we knew the problem, we had to figure out how to fix it. The hospital had spare 1 mF capacitors at 500 V, but the original was 0.27 mF at 500 V. Thus, we decided to put three of the 1 mF capacitors in series so that the new capacitance value would be 1/C or 1/3… 0.33 mF! This was close enough to the original capacitance. We soldered everything together and…. IT WORKED! We were also able to fix the mechanism for raising the tray on the incubator by swapping parts around. It was almost as good as new and we released it to the floor. There was one more incubator with the same problem and we followed the same procedure to fix it.
Another incubator worked properly in terms of heating up but the alarms would not sound when prompted. We opened it up to find that the actual sound device was broken. We ended up opening up other broken machines until we found one that would work. Quick fix, but very important. The nurses are far too busy to monitor an incubator’s temperature without the appropriate alarms.
Then we went to a pizza place (SO good) for an early dinner because tomorrow (at 5 in the morning) we are going on a SAFARI! I am way too excited. Packing extra batteries for my camera and snack for the animals :)
I find out Monday where I will be working and staying for the second month!