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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 734 - Lightning Rod closed for remainder of 2020 season

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There was a time in my life when I would have cared what Lightning Rod was made of.  So refreshing to give precisely zero effs. I just want to go to Dollywood and not worry about it being open! 

Yeah, the difference to the rider between I-Box track and the current track is really minimal. The only major difference would be that the ride would actually be open when you wanted to ride it and wh

You mean like this. . . (pssst, all wooden coasters run on steel rails, well, with the exception of the flying turns)   Also, who would have thought the first RMC coaster to get the RM

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That's the thing, trying to track down an electrical issue, if that's what it is, isn't very simple.. take cars for example, a lot of mechanics will recommend an entire new electrical system if you are having issues with any portion of your electronics

 

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Sure sounds like a relay opening, cutting off the launch. . .

 

I feel like if it were something that simple, Dollywoods very intelligent, and highly qualified maintance team would have figured that out, and fixed it by now.

 

A sensor is tripping that causes the relay to open. It's supposed to open when a fault is detected to stop the launch and it's doing that correctly.

 

The problem is why the fault was triggered.

 

My point was it sounded like a safety system shut it down, not failure of the LSM to move the train.

 

FWIW, back when I worked on military radar systems, about half of the trouble was in the fault detection system not the actual radar. A false fault would be detected shutting down the system. Then you spent time checking what could cause the fault instead of checking the fault detection. The more complicated the fault detection system more likely it was to be problematic.

 

And for a personnel safety issue (like a roller coaster) you design to not miss a fault, That ends up with a lot of false positives.

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So say it's a safety sensor, who designed that part of the coaster and the software to go with it? Does that fall on RMC? Does it fall on Irvine Ondrey Engineering? Or velocity magnets? Or did someone else come in and do all the electronics system such as sensors?

 

I agree, I feel it's something shutting it down and not an LSM issue as the train isn't even making it to that part of the lift hill and you can clearly see it's shutting down before then. And if that's the case, this has nothing to do with it being a wood coaster or anything.. Whoever designed that portion of the ride should come in and redo it.. no need to scrap a launch system for haywire sensors or buggy software

 

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FWIW, back when I worked on military radar systems, about half of the trouble was in the fault detection system not the actual radar. A false fault would be detected shutting down the system. Then you spent time checking what could cause the fault instead of checking the fault detection. The more complicated the fault detection system more likely it was to be problematic.

 

And for a personnel safety issue (like a roller coaster) you design to not miss a fault, That ends up with a lot of false positives.

 

Sorry, you have legitimate real-world experience with electrical systems — your opinions and thoughts are invalid.

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So say it's a safety sensor, who designed that part of the coaster and the software to go with it?

 

I don't have a clue since we don't know much about it. How the systems are split up, who did which, who specified what, etc.

 

I'm speculating like everyone else, using the limited info we have and my personal experiences.

 

My guess is it's an integration problem. No one specific sensor or system, but how they work together.

So when a given system is tested it looks good, but when you get them all together at once weird things start happening.

 

Less sensitive sensors may help, but then you don't want to go too far and miss real problems.

 

A lot of coasters have buggy sensors. And the operators ignore/override known false readings. As I recall that was part of the problem that lead to the Smiler crash. LR may not have overrides because of past situations like that (or only have them in an engineering/test mode nogt available to the regular operators)

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Haha it was mostly a rhetorical question assuming most wouldn't know the answer, but I agree, I'd say it's more of a integration issue from the multiple vendors.. Also, I'd say they are already overriding some of the faults

 

Here's why I say this, the original spout of downtime, when the possible Dollywood Maintenance guy said it was sensors, during that time, the train wouldn't even leave the station.. Now it at least gets to the launch before shutting down.. Maybe this is due to a different set of sensors or maybe they have overridden some of the station sensors? Who knows

 

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A lot of coasters have buggy sensors. And the operators ignore/override known false readings. As I recall that was part of the problem that lead to the Smiler crash. LR may not have overrides because of past situations like that (or only have them in an engineering/test mode nogt available to the regular operators)

 

The block system on the Smiler was operational, and the fault that was reported was valid, so the sensors and PLC were correct in stopping the ride. Alas, it was a team member and an engineer that went into the PLC system and overrode the fault system, thus causing the crash. There were not false reading to ignore, no malfunctioning sensors. Just pure human error.

 

And all roller coasters are equipped with the ability to override the automatic operation system--it's known as maintenance mode. It allows maintenance and engineers (or in some cases upper management) to operate the ride outside of the PLC and perform tasks that would otherwise be prohibited in automatic mode--such as lowering a brake even though the train is not on all the sensors. But like you said, it is not available to the average operator. At our park, only maintenance and ride managers have keys to switch the ride into maintenance mode. Although there are some rides, such as Sky Rocket, that allow you to clear faults from the system in automatic mode, so the typical operator can clear them.

 

That being said, it is hard to assume what led to Lightning Rod's failure to launch. It could be as simple as a sensor not picking up on the train's position and energizing the LSM system, or a power dip, or something much more complicated in the PLC or the launch system itself. Whatever it is, the ride did as it was programmed to do and shut down in the case of a fault.

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A lot of coasters have buggy sensors. And the operators ignore/override known false readings. As I recall that was part of the problem that lead to the Smiler crash. LR may not have overrides because of past situations like that (or only have them in an engineering/test mode nogt available to the regular operators)

 

There were not false reading to ignore, no malfunctioning sensors. Just pure human error.

 

My understand was that repeated sensor errors had led to a culture of overriding the system. That led to lax checking to ensure the the fault was invalid prior to overriding it.

Sort of, "Oh that again. It happens all the time. It's nothing to worry about."

 

I may be confusing it with another ride.

 

I do know it's a common problem with fault detection systems and human nature leads to complacency.

 

Just like the large number of warnings in manuals on on equipment lead people to ignore them after a while.

They actually make things less safe because people assume they a waste of time and just ignore them.

 

Who pays attention to a car alarm in a parking lot anymore? Large numbers of false alarms led to them being ignored.

 

That being said, it is hard to assume what led to Lightning Rod's failure to launch. It could be as simple as a sensor not picking up on the train's position and energizing the LSM system, or a power dip, or something much more complicated in the PLC or the launch system itself. Whatever it is, the ride did as it was programmed to do and shut down in the case of a fault.

 

Exactly as it should have for the fault it detected. They question is why it's detecting faults that don't appear to be valid.

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My understand was that repeated sensor errors had led to a culture of overriding the system. That led to lax checking to ensure the the fault was invalid prior to overriding it.

Sort of, "Oh that again. It happens all the time. It's nothing to worry about."

 

I may be confusing it with another ride.

 

I do know it's a common problem with fault detection systems and human nature leads to complacency.

 

Just like the large number of warnings in manuals on on equipment lead people to ignore them after a while.

They actually make things less safe because people assume they a waste of time and just ignore them.

 

Who pays attention to a car alarm in a parking lot anymore? Large numbers of false alarms led to them being ignored.

 

I cannot say much on the culture of operation at Alton Towers, or the lax checking of faults prior to overriding them, but I do know from personal experience operating coasters that we are taught not to ignore any faults that are presented. Our maintenance staff also checks the fault before overriding it to avoid incidences such as the Smiler's. If you ever go back into a fault history, you'll notice that more often than not these "false" faults are typically triggered at the start up of the ride before everything is operational.

 

 

Exactly as it should have for the fault it detected. They question is why it's detecting faults that don't appear to be valid.

 

This could also be a problem rooted in the fact that it is new technology (we had similar instances with new sensors and prototype rides) and that often times the computer may sense something that isn't there and shut the ride down. The weather could be a factor, too. But again, that is speculation as well.

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My understand was that repeated sensor errors had led to a culture of overriding the system. That led to lax checking to ensure the the fault was invalid prior to overriding it.

 

I cannot say much on the culture of operation at Alton Towers, or the lax checking of faults prior to overriding them, but I do know from personal experience operating coasters that we are taught not to ignore any faults that are presented.

 

In a perfect world, but humans screw up. Processes are put in place to fight human nature but they don't always succeed.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/24/alton-towers-rollercoaster-crash-caused-by-human-error-theme-park-says

 

In a statement on Tuesday, the theme park owner said: “The investigation concluded that the incident was the result of human error culminating in the manual override of the ride safety control system without the appropriate protocols being followed."

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/27/alton-towers-owner-fined-smiler-rollercaster-crash

Investigators ... found that a chain of errors led staff to override a safety warning when an empty test carriage got stuck on the track in strong winds.

 

Engineers mistakenly believed the safety warning was a false alarm, the investigation found, and released the next carriage full of passengers, with the disastrous effect that it crashed at high-speed into the empty test carriage.

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Good news is that LR was running very well with the temps higher, it might run fine today being in the 60s.. cold weather does wreak havoc on sensors so maybe that's what was causing the issues.. I know someone was told by an employee, it was the cold weather.. can't really believe employees but might give you a reason to keep your hopes up!

 

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I know the weekend was a Holiday but I don't understand why they don't just

 

1.) Close it for the rest of the season so not to get anyone's hopes up and figure out what's causing the failed launches (better worded as safety features kicking in to cut the launch.. Launch really isn't failing, something is shutting it off)

 

2.) Or work night and day to fix it.. common occurrence here is that Dollywood list the ride as TC, they try a few launches in the morning and then end up closing it for the rest of the day.. if they really want it running the last few days of the season work night and day and figure it out

 

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Just witnessed a failed launch...

 

Test run or passengers? Have you seen any loaded runs?

 

2.) Or work night and day to fix it.. common occurrence here is that Dollywood list the ride as TC, they try a few launches in the morning and then end up closing it for the rest of the day.. if they really want it running the last few days of the season work night and day and figure it out

 

What's to say they didn't have a dozen good runs before the fault?

 

I've had things test perfectly dozens of times only to fail when the real execution matters.

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I'll be there tomorrow and Wednesday. I don't have much hope for Lightening Rod running lol. I'll be there with some older family. How do the lines look for the Christmas shows? Didn't know how early to plan going to each theater.

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I mean honestly, there are six days left in the season.. the ride hasn't ran most of December.. stop wasting people's time and money like the above poster that drove 9 hours to ride it.. Just close the ride for the season, list it as closed.. it hasn't been closed temporarily, it has been closed pretty much the entire month of December although Dollywood list it as only a temporary closure..

 

I have over 20 rides on it this season, so I am fine. I have visited the park let's say 30 - 40 times this season.. LRs track record is maybe 50% up this season during my visits.. But listing the ride as TC gets people's hopes up while Dollywood delivers the same thing everyday.. a few failed launches in the morning then nothing else.

 

I commend Dollywood on trying, but we also need to realize that Dollywood isn't a park for everyone and LR is what is bringing some folks to the park.

 

And updating my signature like you did is pretty mature for a 32 year old just saying, I'm sure you make your parents proud

 

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