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Parts Not Available? eBay! October 6, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in D0, Fermilab.

The DZERO detector – or at least parts of it – are quite old now. And the goal of the Tevatron is to collect as much data as possible as cheaply as possible. So what do you do when you need a spare part that hasn’t been manufactured in 12 years? You can redesign the system to use a modern part… or you go to eBay. I didn’t realize this, but this is what we do at Fermilab for very old parts. How cool is that!? Smart use of money… which I’m guessing is going to be in very short supply in the near future!

UPDATE: Turns out I misheard. The parts were actually purchased on the grey market – eBay came up when the person was explaining what the grey market was. Sorry about that!



1. Alex - October 8, 2008

We used to buy SCSI disks for old OS9-VME machines to run the ZEUS experiment from eBay too. Raised a few eyebrows at first but much easier than rewriting the code to run on linux boxes. It got us through from 1992 to 2007.

2. gordonwatts - October 8, 2008

Exactly — so useful, and not only saves money by making it cheaper, but saves money because you don’t have to re-design the whole system!

3. Bill Higgins - October 14, 2008

One of my Ebay-using friends also keeps a watch on Fermilab’s property office, to see what we are getting rid of. The most startling thing he has noticed was the sale of the laboratory’s dunk tank, used at picnics:


4. mike1144 - March 15, 2010

nice post
and well said
i like it
keep it up:)

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