UMass Amherst College of Engineering Upgrades Ventilators

Analysis, design and testing lead to upgrade of control cables and power sources

Baystate Health officials contact Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty to help upgrade control cables and power systems for ventilators.

Longer Control Cables

BayState Health’s resident physician Mat Goebel contacted the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) to fabricate a 25 ft. control cable for their ventilators. The existing cable length is less than 10 ft. Using a longer cable allows medical personnel to control the ventilators at distance and without using personal protection equipment (PPE).

The researchers determined that these longer cables did not exist, that the original shorter cables are in extreme backorder, and that their design (the connectors) is proprietary. So they modified an old control cable from BayState to analyze the signalling and determined that a longer cable was theoretically viable, and then fabricated a 50 ft. cable that was successfully tested on one of BayState’s ventilators for empirical validation.

Tracking down the control cable manufacturer, Amphenol Sine Systems, and at the request of ECE researchers they agreed to design and fabricate these longer control cables. BayState is now ordering these longer cables directly from the manufacturer.

BayState's old cable.
Epstein analyzing cable.
Splicing in the cable extension.
Epstein testing prototype control at BayState.
Successful test of control cable.

Battery Eliminators

Dr. Mat Goebel and Kyle Walsh, Respiratory Specialist in Clinical Engineering from BayState Health requested a design to allow their portable ventilators to run on wall power. These portable ventilators are designed to run on two D batteries with a lifespan of 48 hours. In a clinical setting, a wall-power solution obviates the need for checking and replacing batteries every two days.

ECE solved the problem using a commercial off-the-shelf battery eliminator (link is external).  ECE ordered a suitable battery eliminator and successfully tested it on a portable ventilator at Baystate. Subsequently BayState ordered 50 of these power supplies directly from The Battery Eliminator Store.

Battery powered portable ventilator.
Battery-eliminator in ventilator.
Successfully powering portable ventilator from wall power.

The Team

C.V. Hollot - Professor and Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Tom Kopec - UMass alumnus, BS ECE ’80, MSECE ’85
Shira Epstein - ECE Lecturer and Director of Campus Makerspaces
Baird Soules - Director of ECE’s Makerspace (M5), Senior Lecturer
Jeremy Paradie - BS '20, BDIC
Scott Glorioso - President, The Battery Eliminator Store, son of former UMass ECE professor Robert Glorioso
Chris Denney - CTO, Worthington Assembly, South Deerfield, Mass.

Shira Epstein was the liaison with Bay State Health. She fabricated and tested the control cable, and was pivotal in discovering, locating, and communicating with the manufacturer, Amphenol-Sine. Tom Kopec's consulting expertise was crucial to help solve numerous industrial electronics problems. The ECE makerspace (M5), created by Baird Soules, played a crucial role in resourcing this effort. Baird was the prime mover in the battery-eliminator solution.

In the News

UMass News

March 31, 2020