I have previously covered the importance of warping, tuning the Keck primary mirror segments for optimum optical performance. Warping has been my responsibility for some years now. Reading out the settings of the thirty strain gauges on the back of each segment is performed by a test fixture, a computer and a sensitive data acquisition system. Over the last year I have designed, built, and programmed a new test fixture.

Keck mirror segment warping fixtures
The old and new warping fixtures being tested side-by-side on a spare segment
The old warping fixture was showing its age. Built in 2000 it has been in use for 16 years. It is the computer that I was most worried about, it has begun to crash randomly, usually at the worst possible time. Replacing the computer has some issues as well, the A/D system uses a parallel interface, something not found on any modern computer. The operating system is Windows XP, while unsupported, at least you can still install and use this old operating system. The software is in an ancient version of LabView. I have no love for LabView, too many bad experiences with it, it crashes too often and the licensing issues are horrible.

As this is the third generation warping test fixture the name of the software is obvious… Warp3

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