Equipment Backup and Replacement

We are working to ensure that all critical equipment is backed up by functionally equivalent replacements. This work is still in progress:


Backup Systems Currently in Place

Button boxes

Currently, there are two complete independent Lumisys, Inc. button response systems, one for the 1.5T and one for the 3T. Each system has two 5-finger button boxes, one designed for right hand and one for the left hand, as well as a converter box for translation of the button presses to coded electrical signal to input into the presentation PC. A complete Lumisys, Inc. two-hand button box system has been purchased for backup. Some groups are purchasing their own button boxes and converter boxes, as well as other response equipment such as track balls and touch pads. The Technical Support Group does not provide emergency repair service for these group-owned button boxes.


Currently working are the expensive Mercury, Inc. projector in the 3T suite, and the SANYO PROxtraX projector in the 1.5T suite. The original SHARP projector, purchased for the 1.5T system, is available as a backup projector. This projector serves as a backup for both the 1.5T or 3T projector.

Projector backup bulbs

One extra projector bulb has been purchased for the projector in the 3T suite, and for the SANYO projector in the 1.5T suite. The backup SHARP projector does not have a backup bulb.

Sa02 and pulse monitoring equipment

The IRC has three working Sa02 monitors. These are 1. A new Noonin MRI-compatible pulse oximeter, 2. An old Noonin MRI-Compatible pulse oximeter with a brand new cable to replace the old cable that was defective, and 3. The old In-vivo electronics MRI compatible pulse oximeter. In addition, the Biopac system should have Sa02 and HR, but in initial testing the system proved to be non-MRI compatible. Jerry and Dennis are working with Biopac to resolve the problem. Also, a non- MRI compatible pulse oximeter has been provided from the hospital (this oximeter produces some noise in the image). The old Noonin will be kept in Dr. Buonocore’s office as a backup. No new equipment is needed for Sa02 and pulse monitoring.

The new Noonin Sa02 and Heart Rate monitor can provide an output signal to the personal computer for recording SaO2 and Heart Rate data. Dennis reports that the Output Amplitude of this Noonin monitor is incorrect (too high). Dennis has reviewed the Noonin documentation and has called Noonin Technical Support for correction of this apparent problem with the new Noonin monitor.

Sound Systems for the 3T

There are two independent sound systems for delivery of precise sounds to the patient. Both systems are from Confon, Inc. Both are very good systems, and each serves as a backup for the other.

The Confon, Inc. headphones are based on using the static magnetic field to induce the movement within the speaker. No sound is produced within the headphones when they are outside the main magnetic field of the MRI System. Since neither Confon system will work any other type of headphone, a backup pair of Confon headphones will be purchased.

As an alternative to the two Confon, Inc. sound systems, the Siemens MRI system has a built-in sound system that permits input of audio from an external source. This system relies on the Siemens headphones which have been reported by users as marginal quality. Therefore, we do not consider the Siemens sound system to be a suitable backup for the Confon Systems. For imaging sessions in which the sound system is needed only for watching movies, researchers should use the Siemens sound system, to reduce the wear-and-tear and risk of failure of the higher quality sound systems.

As the last alternative to a backup for a broken sound system for the 3T, the Resonance Technology sound system can be used. This sound system is currently stored in the 1.5T equipment room.

Sound system for the 1.5T

The 1.5T uses an Avotec sound system. We are not aware of any FMRI studies that require this system. Currently, all FMRI studies on the 1.5T system are using only video presentation. Also, researchers often do not use the Avotec system for the audio portion of movies that they let their subjects watch during the SPGR scans. Based on the lack of use in FMRI studies, and because of the very high cost of the Avotec system, an identical backup system was not purchased. In case of failure of this sound system, the Resonance Technology, Inc. sound system, previously used in the Mock Scanner Room, can be used as a backup. Recovery documentation and drawings of the correct cabling and wiring for proper functioning of the Avotec system is included in the “Emergency recovery instructions” 3-ring binder.

Physiological monitoring computer for the 1.5T

Currently, a PC with several National Instruments A-D converter (ADC) boards is being used for physiological monitoring. In the 1.5T system, the A-to-D conversion of the physiological signals (GSR, Heart, respiration) is being handled by the boards in the PC. There is no duplicate of this PC. However, Scott Martin has created a backup of the main hard drive of this PC, for emergency recovery in the case of hard drive failure.

Most PC failures are due to failure of the main hard drive. If this type of failure occurs, a new hard drive will be installed and backup will be restored to the new drive. If the PC fails due to a problem other than main Hard Drive failure, the the system will be replaced with one of the Optiplex 280 computers from the Image Processing Lab, and the National Instruments ADC boards will be moved to that computer. Scott has a copy of the Labview Version 7 software, which is necessary to utilize the ADC boards, to reinstall in the Optiplex computer. Because of the complexity and time required for these recovery operations, typically this emergency recovery will be performed only by Scott or Dennis.

Dennis will create a wiring diagram of the connections between this National Instruments PC and the MRI system, and the accessory equipment (e.g. the Biopac GSR system).

Because it was written without documentation by an RA that no longer works at the IRC, none of the technical support group members is familiar with the software that is used to collect the data. However, this software is included on backup hard drive and should function normally, whether installed in the National Instruments PC, or in the Optiplex PC.

Mock scanner PC

Because the personal computers used with the Mock scanner contain more conventional software, one of the personal computers in the Computer Lab will be used for rapid replacement if necessary. Appropriate computers are from the collection of “Optiplex 280” PCs in the image processing laboratory, which are also used as backup for the Behavioral Testing 1 and 2 computers. If the Mock scanner computer fails for a reason other than main hard drive failure, then the good hard drive will be swapped into a functioning Optiplex computer. Note that hard drive replacement is more involved than other typical recovery tasks. Consequently, this replacement will be performed only by Scott Martin or Dennis Thompson.

Sound system for Mock Scanner

The sound system for the Mock scanner is a relatively low cost non-MRI compatible system. The recovery document and cabling diagrams for this system are included in the “Emergency recovery instructions” 3-ring binder.

Behavioral Testing 1, Behavorial Testing 2 Computers

Computers located in the Imaging Processing Laboratory, setup by Scott Martin, can be swapped in should these behavioral testing computers fail. Scott Martin has replicated the necessary behavioral testing software on these computers. Because of the complexity of swapping computers and removing a computer from the Image Processing laboratory, only Scott Martin or Dennis Thompson will perform this swap.

Linux Servers

All data on the Linux servers is backed up nightly to an offsite backup server. The servers themselves are generally designed to be redundant, so that if one fails, others can be made available to restore needed functionality.

Backup Systems Planned

3T Presentation computer

A duplicate computer for backup has been purchased. Software used for paradigm presentation has been copied from the primary computer, and so the backup computer is ready to use whenever needed. The replacement computer will be located under the work table in the Tech Control Room.

1.5T Presentation computer

A pair of Precision Dell 360 computers will replace the existing 1.5T Presentation computer.

Equipment That Is Not Backed Up

MRI system components

No duplicates of specific Siemens or GE MRI equipment, such has RF coils, are available for the MRI systems. An IRC Policy has been enacted stating that equipment essential for MRI imaging may not be taken out of the MRI suites for any reason.

It is important for researchers to be familiar with procedures to restore the MRI systems from various unresponsive (hung) states. For each MRI system, recovery procedures are described in the “Emergency Recovery Instructions” 3-ring binder, for approximately 80% of the situations associated with unresponsiveness of the MRI systems. Jerry Sonico will continue to develop documentation and provide (in the Operation Training Sessions) basic instructions for rebooting of the MRI systems, as well as for more sophisticated re-booting of MRI subsystems such as the Image Reconstruction Computer.

Biopac system for 3T

The Biopac system offers Heart Rate, SaO2, and Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) monitoring in the MR environment. Because of the expense of the Biopac system, a backup system was not purchased.

Wavetek pulse generator

The Wavetek pulse generator is used on the 1.5T system for converting TR triggers from the 1.5T MRI System to a suitable voltage and duration to be read by the Physiological monitoring PC. Typically, adjustment of the Wavetek pulse generator settings is not necessary. Instructions for setting up the Wavetek pulse generator are included in the “Emergency recovery instructions” 3-ring binder. There is currently no duplicate of this system.

Head motion detector on the Mock scanner

This system uses an InterSense InertiaCube2 tracker device. We have no backup for this device.

ERP, ERP1, ERP2 computers (Located in the “ERP Lab”)

These computers will not be supported by the Technical Support Group.