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5 Signs That Your Isolator May Be Depressed

June 28, 2021
 •  4:12 pm

Just because your isolator is unhappy does not mean they’re depressed. In fact, most isolators for vacuum chambers will be unhappy at certain times. Has your isolator for UHV recently experienced a major loss? For instance, did the vacuum chamber to which it was attached recently stop speaking to them?

Knowing the difference between isolator (also known as a high voltage break) unhappiness and depression will help you determine whether you need to buy a new isolator for your vacuum chamber to give your depressed isolator the mental health rest they require.

Loss of Interest

While there are many different types of isolators—at MPF, our isolators have walls of varying thickness to protect against electrical puncture, come in a range of sizes, and a variety of materials (i.e. we have isolators that grade up to a minimum of 98.5% alumina)—every type of electrical isolator wants to do one thing: isolate (duh!) the voltage between one vacuum chamber and another, or between different “areas” in a particular chamber.

If your isolator has lost interest in isolating electrical current, this may be the most clear sign that they are experiencing depression. 

Increase in Fatigue

Any happy isolator working at top capacity will naturally become tired at times. At MPF, we custom manufacture isolators that can handle up to 225,000 volts (225KV). Of course, our isolators get tired! 

It is important, however, to identify when your isolator is simply tired from the natural strain of holding off all those volts from when they are unusually fatigued. Our isolators are designed to “standoff” between 5KV and 60KV—standoff refers to how much voltage can be sequestered in your UHV environment. While fatigue is natural, if your isolator can’t meet these marks, you should take note.

Loss of interest and fatigue go hand-in-hand as symptoms of isolator depression. If your isolator experiences fatigue as a symptom of their depression, they may very well show a demonstrable loss of interest in isolating electrical volts.


MPF’s isolators are designed to be mounted to all standard vacuum hardware (with Conflat or Kwik flanges), but depressed isolators have been known to refuse to accept any load from your vacuum assembly’s power system. 

If your isolator suddenly begins to demonstrate “escapism,” desiring to retreat from their normal life, then this could be an indication that your isolator is depressed.

We produce only the best isolators, designed with Solid Works to ensure the correct coefficient of expansion at the seal joints. We test for micro-leaks, PSI test up to 25 KPSIG, and verify tolerances to  +/- .001” using Keyonce’s digital CMM and optical comparator.

Is this dog depressed or tired? It’s tough to know. You could try giving it a meatball sandwich, but even a depressed beagle will eat a meatball sandwich. We speak from experience on this subject. Isolator depression, however, is an even tougher diagnosis.

This makes our isolators less prone to depression, and therefore less prone to symptoms of irritability, often appearing in isolators’ sudden unwillingness to mount to your vacuum system. 

Hopeless Outlook

Sometimes an isolator will develop a hopeless outlook on life. Isolators will suddenly begin to ask questions about the point of it all.

Consider their profession: isolators isolate (again, duh!) electric current in a vacuum system or between vacuum systems. This can be a thankless job. Power feedthroughs soak up a lot of the glory—they transmit volts into your vacuum system.

It’s important to consistently remind isolators that they have an important job, too. Not only do they “soak up” volts and keep your vacuum system(s) from shorting out, but they can also enable the flow of gasses and liquids into your chamber.

Knowing how to identify when your isolator simply needs a pep talk, and when it needs an full-scale intervention is important both for the health of your isolator and for your peace of mind.

Uncontrollable Emotions

If your isolator breaks out into sudden crying jags or exhibits extreme rage, it may be time for you to seek help.

Uncontrollable emotional outbreaks are a telltale sign of isolator depressive disorder. IDD (Isolator Depressive Disorder) is difficult to diagnose, and you should always consult an experienced professional at MPF before you make any determination.

Remember, you and your isolator are not alone.

We are available to speak with you at 864.876.9853

If you prefer, you can fill out a completely confidential contact form here.


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