Alarm Handler

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In the process of editing and updating this page. Please contact Juliette Mammei with questions or suggestions.

PREX Main<< Information for Shift Takers << Shift Leader

Experimental Python Alarm Handler

For full documentation see Alarm Documentation

For instructions on how to set up the alarm handler fresh (for new experiments) see Alarm Handler Setup

The new python alarm handler lives (for now) in a SBU JLab GitHub Repository

Start a new instance

  • Sound Server
    • From within the hacuser acount on hacweb7, cd to ~/parity-alarms/ and execute "./bserver" to allow the alarm handler to make sounds
    • Verify the alarm handler makes sound successfully by either using the Hall A Alarm Handler sound test, or by unsilencing some alarming alarm for a few seconds
  • Parity Alarm Handler GUI
    • From within the apar account on adaq1, execute the ~/bin/ command "ParityAlarms"
    • If the online analysis is running then live JAPAN data alarms should be updating in the background
    • To enable audible alarms please run the AlarmServer command from a new and separate terminal on the hacweb7 (EPICS) computer
    • If the Parity Alarm handler complains about not finding numbers or config parameters then restore a back up of alarm.csv or alarmConfig.txt into the ~/alarm/ folder and try again (if that doesn't fix it ask Cameron)

Hall A/Target Alarm Handler

Figure 1 - Click on the red toolbox in the lower left of the hacweb7 screen (4th icon from the left).
Figure 2 - The alarm handler window when there is a red alarm.
Figure 3 - The window that opens when you click on the alarm handler button. There is a red alarm

Start a new instance of the Hall A Alarm handler

  • First check if any other instances are running, don't duplicate alarm handlers
  • From the EPICS control computer (hacweb7), click on the red toolbox in the lower left corner (see Figure 1)
  • Click on "AlarmHandler" in the popup menu
  • The window shown in Figure 2 should appear
  • Move the alarm handler window to the upper right of the screen
  • Pin the window to all of the desktops
    • Right Click on the "AlarmHandler" in the upper left corner
    • Mouse over "To Desktop"
    • Choose "All Desktops" at the top of the drop down menu
  • Keep Above All Windows
    • Right Click on the "AlarmHandler" in the upper left corner
    • Go to Advanced, and select "Keep Above Others"
  • Open the Current Alarm History
    • Click the "View" context menu and select "Current Alarm History Window"
    • This is most useful for getting detailed information about timing and values of alarms as they accumulate
    • Information about alarms is also accessible by double clicking on items in the right half-panel

Checking or changing the Compton background rate alarm levels on the Hall A alarm handler

To check the Compton background rate alarm levels:

  1. Open a terminal as hacuser@hacweb7
  2. Run the command: caget ComptonDSbg1.HIHI ComptonDSbg2.HIHI ComptonUSbg1.HIHI ComptonUSbg2.HIHI

To change the Compton background rate alarm levels:

  1. Check with Adam Zec or David Gaskell before changing the alarm settings
  2. Open a terminal as hacuser@hacweb7
  3. ssh hacuser@hlal00
  4. Execute a caput command to set each channel's "HIHI" level
    • For example, use this to change the ComptonDSbg1 limit to 7500: caput ComptonDSbg1.HIHI 7500
  5. After changing the four settings, run caget ComptonDSbg1.HIHI ComptonDSbg2.HIHI ComptonUSbg1.HIHI ComptonUSbg2.HIHI and post the new alarm settings in the HALog and email Adam (

Start a new instance of the Target Alarm Handler

  • Make sure the target gui is running on the poltarac computer
cd ~/Desktop/PRex
Select the ALARMS button
  • It should be similar to the Hall A alarm handler, but with difference tracked EPICS variables

Responding to an (audible) alarm

  • Click on the alarm handler window in the upper right of the hacweb7 monitor (see Figure 2)
  • This will open a window that lists the various pieces of equipment (see Figure 3)
  • Please feel free to make strip charts out of any interesting EPICS variables that you find in the Alarm Handler or other GUIs. See Strip chart for more information.
  • If an alarm is white then it is a communications failure from an EPICS Input/Output controller (IOC) and should rectify itself in a minute or less (otherwise call the RC)
  • If an alarm is red it means that some important parameter is out of range
    • Please keep track of the set points and current value of anything that alarms, and if the alarm isn't transient and trivial please make a HALOG entry about it
    • If the alarm continues for more than a few seconds please try to understand the nature of the issue and contact the RC or other nearby experts if it isn't immediately clear how to resolve it
Figure 1 - parity alarm sound bars
  • To increase/decrease the volume of parity alarm

There are some sound level bars at the bottom left of the screen, use the mouse to pull those bars up/down to increase/decrease the volume.

VESDA Hall A Fire Alarm System

Is the VESDA System OK? (VESDA is the smoke/fire detection and alarm system. Check the Hall A VESDA Console on the wall beside the door to the computer room. Every light should be green and in the minimum lowest alert setting.

Figure 4 - The VESDA panel in the counting house.