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Author Topic: Maintenance of weapons  (Read 3915 times)

Caedis Animus

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #60 on: 13 July 2019, 05:15:33 »
Given that 'Mechs can sit in storage for at least 100 years, often in seemingly less then ideal conditions, and then be brought to battle readiness by people who have never been trained on some of it's systems (LosTech), and that none of this is a major task, I some how doubt that 'Mechs require all that much maintenance.
I've always headcanoned that as exceptions to the rule. Like, for every "Awww yeah pristine somehow-working Lostech" find, twenty other people find an old Locust... That has no reactor go-juice, has rats making a nest in the rusted-out machine guns, and armor plating so heavily corroded that the previous pilot's desiccated bones are more sturdy. Or a trash crate of empty MRE wrappers alongside a box of broken Mauser 960s that were supposed to be sent back for repairs a whopping 3 centuries ago-and have long since rusted to solid chunks of steel and such.

After all, if every Lostech discovery was a success story, why would finding working kit be important?
« Last Edit: 13 July 2019, 05:25:59 by Caedis Animus »
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Apocal

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #61 on: 13 July 2019, 06:10:22 »
Who or what does the diagnostics on the diagnostics systems?

Mostly the same techs doing the same basic maintenance and system checks. Part of the maintenance schedule is doing a near-complete tear-down of every cabinet, power supply, connector, etc. and putting the diagnostic system through a series of basic checks to ensure it is functioning normally. There certainly are bad BIT tests that I've seen, but they tend to be found on older gear. The newer systems spit out exactly what is wrong, how to fix it and (if outright fixing isn't an option) a suggestion for re-routing or otherwise getting the system to play hurt.

We took calibrated elements to the Cal(ibration) Lab, where they managed such things using witchcraft, I assume. But elements like binary pressure sensors were extremely rugged and rarely merited much more than an annual once-over and poke-around; even then, most of their issues came about not because of their actual failure but a tired/undertrained tech re-installing them incorrectly.

RifleMech

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #62 on: 13 July 2019, 21:44:22 »
So you'd still have to take things apart and put them back together?  Hoping of course that the techs dont screw up.

Apocal

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #63 on: 14 July 2019, 00:16:42 »
So you'd still have to take things apart and put them back together?  Hoping of course that the techs dont screw up.

No, they were sealed units. The poking around was pulling them out and making sure the housing or connections were free of damage, corrosion or debris. But it was more out of a sense of "well it has to get checked at some point!" rather than any actual need.

RifleMech

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #64 on: 14 July 2019, 23:15:36 »
Oh. So how do you tell if what's inside is broken or not?  Shake it and if it rattles its broken?

Apocal

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #65 on: 15 July 2019, 06:03:26 »
Oh. So how do you tell if what's inside is broken or not?  Shake it and if it rattles its broken?

Isolate it, use known good inputs and check the output. If anything is off, you know it is something in that unit specifically. In the case of system built with true graceful degradation in mind, that might be the only way to figure out a problem with most parts of it.

The stuff described as rugged in real life has a lot of that going, inherent redundancy that keeps the operator from seeing a serious problem in the course of normal operation. I imagine Battlemechs are built with graceful degradation in mind, the myomer especially; if part of a bundle get twisted and burned out, the rest can take up the slack with only a marginal decrease in performance, but every month the mech techs have to go crawling and poking around to make sure all the bundles are within spec then replace the bits and pieces that don't pass muster. Stuff like big DC motors can be really, reliable and durable, but any serious malfunction anywhere brings them to a dramatic halt.




SCC

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #66 on: 15 July 2019, 06:21:25 »
Isolate it, use known good inputs and check the output. If anything is off, you know it is something in that unit specifically. In the case of system built with true graceful degradation in mind, that might be the only way to figure out a problem with most parts of it.
I think this can be taken as a given in BT

Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #67 on: 15 July 2019, 10:20:46 »
One thing to keep in mind is that military machines build in more redundancy than you are going to see on a civilian machine.  This helps it keep performing despite damage or simple break downs that can make it not-mission capable.  So performance might be degraded but you are still mission capable is the goal of a lot of military engineering.

For example, my unit in '03 was a National Guard unit that was activated to go play in the sand.  Summer of '02 one of the launchers had suffered some engine damage that put it on the side of the road during a route march back to the motorpool after EndEx.  It was fixed up and was mission capable but IIRC it was still wonky, FDC always has a semi-official list of ranking for their launchers/guns and that launcher was at the bottom after though I do not recall the exact reason.

We got activated and every vehicle in the battery was marked with chalk . . . and most were marked non-serviceable meaning they were not up to the 'book' minimum standard for operations.  But we were using those same vehicles for training all the previous year with no great change in their status but that launcher that broke down.  But we were activated and after that survey of the battery's vehicles delivery trucks started offloading pallets of boxed parts to the unit's motorpool garage which filled up two of the three bays even with troops moving boxes into the parts storage area.  First launcher into the repair bay was the one that broken down that previous summer- it also had the most chalk notations on the cab than any other vehicle.

So the vehicles could still operate and perform the mission but because of the unit's budget/priority for parts had let the vehicles degrade b/c they were limited to what repairs they were able to perform on top of regular maintenance.  While we had the bodies, think of it sort of as some of the advanced rules where a unit does not have the tech support to perform all regular maintenance on time and the rules that degrade the equipment's performance- this is especially poignant when you consider IMO that every mech, armor, BA or aero based unit SHOULD have a very very complete machine shop so they can modify or even hand build replacement assemblies.
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Kovax

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #68 on: 15 July 2019, 12:47:32 »
If modern equipment is any indication, those sealed units that occasionally get replaced have circuitry and other components that require very specialized equipment and training to repair, if that's even possible.  Modern electronics frequently utilize "ball-grid array" designs, where all of the electrical connections are underneath the component, and once it's heated and sinks into place onto the pads covered in molten solder, getting it back off again is extremely difficult.  You can't get underneath it again to unsolder it.  I'm assuming that the BT universe has a lot of similar technological developments in different fields, both electronic and mechanical, where once it's built, if it doesn't work, you scrap it, or send it somewhere that has the exotic equipment to deal with the unique problems of the item in question.

The modules are also most likely designed with redundancy and internal compensation for problems.  I worked on boards that went into naval targeting systems back in the 1970s, and those had built-in bypasses and fail-safe mechanisms, so they'd at least "sort-of work" even if most of the unit failed.  Those capabilities have improved dramatically in the decades since.  I'd expect 31st Century military equipment to be at least "partly functional" even with holes punched through it.  At the low point in the late Succession Wars, most equipment was only functioning on the most basic levels, with functions bypassed, equipment suffering from multiple failures but still "usable".  Practically everything was in need of factory service to bring it back to fully operational status, but there weren't enough facilities to provide that level of service, so you swapped that module that no longer functioned for one that had "issues" but could still get you through a few more battles.

Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #69 on: 15 July 2019, 14:14:37 »
Kovax also got into 'level' of maintenance . . . so current US paradigm is . . .

Operator/Crew level
Support level- can be two separate or a single levels
Depot level
'Factory' level

For an example, lets use the Po Heavy Tank of the 3030s in a combat setting.

Operator(driver) and Crew Level-  Check ammo levels, check fuel level, check fuel basket during re-fueling, check batteries, check POL levels, inspect hull for rust/burn markings, check track tension, function test MGs, not sure for ACs since its a larger caliber, check turret traverse & elevation, driving checks, lights, radios, all other onboard electronics.  Its a pretty big manual with during/daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual checklists.  This still happens, as possible, when you are in the field or in combat.

Support level-  Repair loading mechanisms, repair wheels/bogeys/suspension, repair plug & play electronics if possible, track repairs, getting a track 'unstuck'

Depot level-  Lots of refurbishment (IE, refurb the turret), replace the AC barrel, replace engine/drive train (pak), other long term or in depth repair jobs- like taking 'salvage' level purchases and rebuilding them for service.

Factory level-  Note, its not sending the vehicles back to the factory but setting up a site- even if temporary- with factory level equipment.  M577s are refit into different models, but its not like they send them back to the original factory (if it still exists) it came out of in the 50s.  So variant conversions but done in as much of a 'mass produced' model as possible.  For our example, taking in battalions if not regiments of Po Heavy Tanks to convert them into (LBX) or the Cappies making the Zhukovs into Zhukov (Liao).
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Kovax

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #70 on: 18 July 2019, 12:06:15 »
For current or recent models of modern equipment, it's not unusual for individual modules or sub-assemblies to be shipped back to the factory for more complicated repairs (I've worked on a lot of stuff that was up to around 10-15 years old, long past its warranty), although having interplanetary transportation added to the equation would probably change things a bit.  In the BT universe, I would suspect that there are a handful of "factory authorized service centers" in each of the Houses where factory-level repairs can be done on most 'Mechs currently in use.

When a particular model gets too old or limited in numbers that it's no longer considered a prime asset, and is relegated to militia service or gifted to distinguished veterans, it's likely that some (or all) of the service centers no longer work on it, have the specialized tools, or stock parts, so getting advanced repairs for some of the rarer units may be next to impossible.  That doesn't mean it can't be repaired at all, but may not be able to be brought back up to its full capabilities.  It only goes as far as "depot level", if there are parts still available for that, and whatever they can't do simply doesn't get done.

Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #71 on: 18 July 2019, 12:23:10 »
Yeah, depot level IMO would go along with regional command . . . so in my headcanon there is a depot level maintenance facility on New Syrtis in the FedSuns/Com for the Capellan March.  Its PROBABLY the most extensive depot in the Cap March . . . though perhaps Kathil or Talon/Wernke might rival it since they are factory worlds . . . thus parts, expertise, and equipment would be easily accessible.

Then it gets down to how regional does it go and what tiers?  For instance, a rarer machine might have to be shipped back to New Syrtis or Kathil- like say a Invasion era FWL trade machine in the 3060s while a Centurion D series only goes as far as Valexa since its the PDZ HQ because its a more common design.
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dgorsman

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #72 on: 18 July 2019, 13:09:34 »
Wouldn't surprise me if some of the service centers were set up in commercial DropShips so they can be moved to better locations.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #73 on: 18 July 2019, 13:25:17 »
Too problematic . . .

How are your engineering & tech specialist families moving with them?  Are they all loaded on the same DS?  Then how do you transport the specialized tools?  The bays in the dropship will not have the room needed for the work, so a facility will need to be found/built . . . and more.

The depot I went to once was a large indoors as a football field area, built next to the railhead, had a lot of cranes & hoists in the overhead area with catwalks, ramps & pits, birdbath, a secured warehouse or two behind, and their own POL station.
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dgorsman

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #74 on: 18 July 2019, 17:19:27 »
It's not going to be moving that much, maybe once or twice a year.  They would service some of the out of the way locations which wouldn't have such fixed facilities due to dispersed forces.  They wouldn't be entirely self-contained either, just moving around the more hard to get bits.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #75 on: 18 July 2019, 17:57:43 »
Depot level maintenance however is not a regular or even standard maintenance.  The battalion or regimental support unit (CO/BN respectively) will be tasked with performing most work above operator/unit level which is why I gave the examples I did at the time.  The only reason my vehicle went to the depot was b/c they had the room and experience doing it . . . and the spare hands, we got the word go and the mechanics were working LONG hours to fix up vehicles now that the parts tap had been turned on.  Otherwise, even what we had done could have been done by our unit's support.  When they took the vehicles off originally to convert them from M577s to M1068s, they were loaded on rails and sent elsewhere.  Which is at least a depot level rebuild, if not going to the factory.
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grimlock1

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #76 on: 19 July 2019, 12:58:15 »
Can we put this in terms of formation size?
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Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #77 on: 19 July 2019, 13:38:38 »
Sure . . . for my experience but I may not have made it clear . . .

Operator/Crew level handles the daily stuff and is carried out by the driver/crew of a armored vehicle.  For example, as the driver I was the one responsible and signing off on stuff but I was usually overseeing the FNG as he learned how to do it.  According to US Army TO&E the driver is supposed to be the newest guy as the part of starting to learn the job, in practice . . . well, driving allows you to see and know what is going on rather than rattling around in the dark of the vehicle so people with rank drove but lowbies did most of the grunt work.  If it was too big a job, or needed to be done ASAP the crew assigned to the vehicle jumped in when told (hey, they just told us we need to PMCS that humvee over there before anyone can go to lunch- its not going to be 1 guy doing it, the whole crew will get on it).

For BT mech purposes, this will be the mechwarrior and his personal tech (at least before tech team rules) who is the one personally responsible for the machine and signs off on everything.  The mech captain or crew chief (pick your term) may grab astechs out of the general labor pool if needed.

Support level depends a bit on doctrine . . . when I got in the battery/company had a squad of mechanics who were experienced with all the vehicles, controlled the parts & POL, had the more expansive tool chest, and drove the wrecker/recovery vehicles.  Each vehicle was issued a 'pioneer kit' and a specific tool box, but if you needed something specialized they were the ones who controlled it.  They also checked your paperwork and either verified by complete inspection that you did what you signed off on (no shammin'), spot checked, or took the papers b/c they knew you knew your excrement.  They fell under the commander's authority but they worked a lot with the next echelon's support element.

Which was a battalion level support element, who had more general mechanics along with a few specialists.  If we had a electronics failure, BN had a specialist who was responsible for software (sort of) and absolutely ensuring hardware was set up right.  The one time I dealt with this person, she had soldering equipment and all the other stuff you would expect from some electronics workshop in the 80s or 70s.  BN had more wreckers, and at one point was expected to set up a field garage . . . not sure if it was a tent or inflatable structure.  It was great for showing a movie on the side of the structure during a down period we were in the field.  They were under the command of a Warrant Officer.

During the Brigade Combat Team re-organization some support elements were consolidated at the battalion level due to a doctrinal change.  Before the BCT shuffle, and after, Brigade also had a level of support but I never heard of a vehicle turned over to them for care or requiring one of their techs to come down to battery or battalion level, so they may have just been to take care of the BDE HQ assets.  IMO, you could look at it as in 3025 when the basic garrison deployment to a planet might be a company, it would make sense for the company to have a slice of the battaltion's tech support while the BN HQ & assigned mech company would have the BN level tech support as part of HQ.  When we get to 3050s with battalion garrisons being the norm I think you will find them more consolidated unless the companies have to be spread out with little way of connecting.

Depot level support is going to be regional as I mentioned, so things like PDZs, theaters, or whatever unit of measure.  I doubt depot level would be assigned to a single regiment unless it was the regional primary defense force- like a national mech regiment being able to take charge of planetary militias, so it would make sense to co-locate it with the regimental HQ position.  To expand on my earlier example, lets look again at the Capellan March . . . so by strategic doctrinal organization the book might say that each of the seven PDZs has a support depot set up, or if they do not want that many as targets the FS/FC might have two in the Cap March, one for the Kathil AO and one for the Taygeta AO.  Depot level support is likely under regional command, depending on what that region size is to begin with . . . though I guess you could say the March HQ would be in charge of the PDZ Depots rather than PDZ commanders.

'Factory' level support that will not be based out of a operational factory might be the DS mobile operation like you suggested, especially if there is a big refit program (like hey, 3051! or 2SW tech-downs) operation underway.  Place that 'Factory' level team down in a central protected location and instead of it taking months for that company of Vedettes to travel somewhere, be refit with UAC/5s & other upgrdes, and then months to travel back . . . instead the 'Factory' comes to a region where everyone ships their Vedettes for a month of travel.  IMO this sort of level of support would be under the Army command structure, so for our Cap March example of a Kathil (b/c producing factory) probably gets it assignments from the Quartermaster Corp HQ on New Avalon.

Does that help?
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idea weenie

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #78 on: 21 July 2019, 00:23:32 »
How are your engineering & tech specialist families moving with them?  Are they all loaded on the same DS?  Then how do you transport the specialized tools?  The bays in the dropship will not have the room needed for the work, so a facility will need to be found/built . . . and more.

The depot I went to once was a large indoors as a football field area, built next to the railhead, had a lot of cranes & hoists in the overhead area with catwalks, ramps & pits, birdbath, a secured warehouse or two behind, and their own POL station.

Would multiple Dropships transporting a single depot maintenance unit work, if they were for only a single design?  I.e. multiple Mammoths transporting the tools and dies needed for modifying only the Vedette series of tanks?

So the Dropship(s) would go to a planet that could support it, offload the necessary equipment into a prepared building/location, and other units have used commercial Dropships to send their Vedettes to that planet for modifications.  Once all the Vedettes in the region are modified (~1 year later?), the Dropships are packed back up and sent on to the next region.  (Advantage is shorter shipping distances while the depot unit is in the area; disadvantage is the hogging of transportation assets when it is time to move)

Or would it be better for the Vedette upgrade facility to be left in one area, and the various combat groups to ship their tanks to that location for modifications?  (Advantage - no hogging of transportation assets, local families establish a better relationship; disadvantage is more shipping distance between the frontier units and the depot)

Daryk

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #79 on: 21 July 2019, 07:00:11 »
Interesting idea, but definitely one for the accountants!  :thumbsup:

Colt Ward

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #80 on: 21 July 2019, 12:05:17 »
Or would it be better for the Vedette upgrade facility to be left in one area, and the various combat groups to ship their tanks to that location for modifications?  (Advantage - no hogging of transportation assets, local families establish a better relationship; disadvantage is more shipping distance between the frontier units and the depot)

Which is why I mentioned that a mobile rebuild 'Factory' would perhaps be better, since you also have to factor in that while all those Vedettes are missing from their unit you have guys standing around in the motorpool with hands in their pockets.  From my experience its not really the work that might take that long, but you would be looking at the week up, weeks charging, and week down . . . so at least 3 weeks shipping not including the week or two rebuilding.  So if you were in the next system over you are looking at 4-5 weeks vulnerability.

More likely what happens is . . .

"Okay, the DLC does not need these old Succession War era Vedettes, they got the new fancy ones with the Ultra cannon straight from the factory.  We are going to send the battalion or so that were assigned to them to Depot #48.  Depot $48 will rebuild them, pull their old standard cannons and replace them with the reconditioned experimental/used Ultras to bring them up to spec.  We will then send those Vedettes off to the Sarna March Militias to replace a company of Scorpions in as many of the SMM units as we can.  The old Class 5 autocannons we pull out of the rebuilds?  Have the depot modify them to mount on a field gun carriage, we will send them with the reconditioned Vedettes to beef up the SMM infantry battalions."

Logistical managing is a skill, and part of how they test you is handing you a lot of sharp objects and things that go boom to see if you can keep them in the air.
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Col Toda

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #81 on: 26 August 2019, 12:12:45 »
Maintainace is taken to a certain extent with spare parts . The longer the engagement lasts the more damage sustained the more parts expended .  Short term throw weight of ammo using guns with veteran pilots c3 and or TAG : precision rounds ect . Shortens the conflict to a brutal 10-12 Turns after which You have ethier won or lost vs energy boat oppostion . Use of the above equipment tends to bear energy w targeting computers hands down .

Kovax

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Re: Maintenance of weapons
« Reply #82 on: 28 August 2019, 12:11:57 »
I once got shipped off to a factory building adjacent to a military airfield, where instruments were pulled out of aircraft to be modified, exchanged for modified instruments which were quickly put back in place, and the planes were gone in a matter of an hour or two.  Meanwhile, we sweated for 16 hours a day to do the modifications as they came in, along with updating a backlog of units which were awaiting installation.  The really sad part is, we (a couple of lowly techs with a couple of decades experience at troubleshooting and repair) knew that the "upgrade" wouldn't solve the problem, but nobody higher up would listen to us....until the modified units started failing, and heads rolled higher up in the company (after we pulled out the reams of data we had compiled to protect out own jobs, showing that we had done our part exactly as directed, despite our complaints up the ladder being ignored).  I was painfully reminded of several of the TRO 3050 "upgrades".

In that case, a "factory" repair was performed at a "factory level" site by a "factory" team, but that wasn't the factory where the units were produced or normally serviced, it just had to have the right tools, parts, and personnel at hand to do the work.  In other words, a "factory" repair can be at a fixed location, or mobile, depending on need.  If someone had brought in some other instrument in need of repair, we wouldn't have had the parts to work on it, but did have everything needed for the specific modification we were sent to do.  Other items requiring that level of service would have been sent back to the actual factory, where a wider range of parts and equipment were available, as well as techs more familiar with those other instruments.

An experienced tech with an old soldering iron and a few other electronics-related hand tools, as well as a box of "common" parts for that instrument and proper schematics for the item in question, could probably handle most of the routine repairs.  Someone with basic mechanical skills and normal tools wouldn't be able to do much to fix it, other than to tap it against the table to see if something was loose (oops, well now something IS loose), and would need to swap out the gauge for a working one.