Beam Line For Schools: Run Control Shifter Instructions

This page is designed to help the Run Control Shifter of the BL4S experiment. Please be sure that you read the general shift instructions in page ShiftIntroduction. You should always be in contact with the Shift Leader and the Detector Shifter for starting, stopping a run, etc.

The duties of the Run Control Shifter can be summarized as:

General Duties and Checklist


General duties of the Run Control Shifter is to start the run, to stop the run and to observe the beam. You should always be in contact with the Shift Leader. In the control room, you are most like a pilot of a car and the Shift Leader is like a copilot giving directions. If you have a problem that you could not solve, you can always call the on-call experts. Other than starting and stopping a run as explained below, you should always check the beam status and error reporting service during your shift. You should also check the event display and if you see something strange, discuss it with the Shift Leader and the Detector Shifter. To help you during a run here is a checklist, you should go over at least once in an hour.

  • Check the beam status from vistar pages. Is there any stop of the beam? Are the numbers in BL4S Vistar Page steady?
  • Check Error Reporting System (ERS) under the DAQ. Is there any Error or Warning other than the ones mentioned in WhiteBoard?
  • Check the "Counters" tab in "Run Information & Settings", Is it increasing when there is beam?
  • Check the DFPanel under "Run control Panel". Can you see the spills? If it is constant for a while, discuss with the shift leader.
  • Run the Event Display. Do the Events make sense? If you see any anormality discuss with the Detector Shifter.
  • Check the BL4S E-Log if there is any update from the other desk.
  • If there is any problem you have, make an e-log about.
  • Have Fun!

Checking Beam Status

The Run Control shifter is responsible for checking the beam status and deciding on when to start and stop a run. There are two ways of checking the beam status.

From CPS Vistar Page

CPS stands for Cern Proton Synchrotron. You can observe the status of the CPS in all the experimental areas from CPS Vistar page. In big experiments like ATLAS and CMS, they are also using Vistar Pages to observe the status of the LHC Beam. Before starting and stopping a run and during your shift, check the monitor (tv) in the control room or the web page: You can also directly navigate through the bookmarks from your browser toolbar for "CPS status".


There is beam if the value near EASTA_ is ~30, and you should see an image with rising and falling signals as shown in the image above.

If you would like to learn more about the CPS vistar page, you can find the detailed information in page:

From BL4S Vistar Page

For the BL4S experiment, we have our own vistar page at You will see a screen like:


You can see the counts of the detectors, daily plan and ongoing runs from here. Observe sharp changes in the mean and sigma values of all three DWC. The units used here are [cm] for the mean and sigma (standard deviation) values. The mean values should be +/-40mm and the count should be on the order of the number of events read for regular runs. You can also see the signals of the first DWC. Discuss any big change with the shift leader.

Run Control (DAQ)

The main responsibility of the run controller shifter is to start, stop and observe the run. During the run you should watch the Error Report Service (ERS), explained below. In the BL4S experiment, we are using the same data acquisition software that is used in ATLAS experiment. Here "Run" is defined as the data taking session. Once you changed the configuration or beam status then you should stop the current run and start a new one. The Shift Leader will help you about when to start and stop the run.

To open the BL4S DAQ Software, you can click on the icon on your desktop.

Starting DAQ


If you have trouble with opening the DAQ (Data Acquisition) software, you can ask the shift leader for help. You will see a page like below:


Let`s have a look at what we can change and observe on the software:

  • At the bottom (red box), you will see Error Report Service (ERS). If there is any warning or error at the beginning or while taking data, first check the BL4SWhiteBoard then if you could not find any information on the whiteboard, discuss it with the shift leader.
  • In the middle and on the right (orange box), you will see expert/advanced features(segments, root controller etc.)... You do not need to change anything here.
  • On the left (blue box), you will see in order:
    • Run Control State(yellow) (will be explained below in the Starting a Run part)
    • Run Control Commands (purple) (will be explained below in the Starting a Run part)
    • Beam Stable(cyan) (should always be green)
    • Run Information & settings (green)
First check the "Settings" tab in "Run Information & Settings" on the left. It looks like:


Here we have these seetings:

  • Max Events : If you are taking data, it should be zero which means infinite.
  • Run Type: You should select a run type here. It can be either "Physics" or "Calibration"
  • Beam Type: You select the beam type.
  • Beam Energy: You should write the beam energy you are using here in units of GeV.
  • Tier0 Project Name : Do not change it.
  • File Name Tag: you should write a proper file name tag here depending on the type on the run. For example: lgCalibration, dwcCalibUD, PionDecay, CalorimeterTest etc.
  • Recording: You should "Enable" it!
After you adjust the settings press the "Set Values" button.

At ERS in the bottom you will see a message such as "Run settings have been correctly updated". If not, it means that you are doing something wrong like using forbidden characters in the tag or you forgot to select something.

Starting a Run

Now you are ready to take data. After you finish the settings as explained above you can start a run using the "Run Control Commands" section on the left top part. At first the Run Control State should be NONE and only the "initialize" button is enabled. Then you should follow these steps by pressing the buttons:

  1. INITIALIZE : Run Control State will be INITIAL (from NONE)
  2. CONFIG : Run Control State will be CONNECTED. A pop up will appear saying "Remember to check the Run settings before starting the run". It is the last time you can change the run settings. So it is advised to check the run settings once here!
  3. START : Run Control State will be RUNNING.
NOTE: When you have clicked on a button wait until the system has completely settled before you continue.


All the segments in run Control and Root Controller should be green now. If not, check the BL4SWhiteBoard and discuss with the Shift Leader. Now you have a new run! Congratulations!

Never forget to check ERS while starting the DAQ. If there is an ERROR or WARNING check the BL4SWhiteBoard and discuss with the shift leader.


You can find run information on "Information" tab under "Run Information & Settings"

After you start a run make an e-log (with the run number at the subject) about the new run, containing information:

  • The start time.
  • The run number
  • The file_tag_name you selected
  • Run Type
  • The Trigger type: you should get it from the Detector and DAQ shifter.
  • Beam Type/Status/Intensity : From vistar page
You can find an example new run log at the BL4S E-Log.

When the run is finished, come back to the same e-log, edit it and add; * The stop time * Number of events read. You can find it under "Information" tab under "Run Information & Settings".

Counters and ERS during run

During a run observing the system is very important. You should check the ERS from time to time. If any ERROR not indicated in BL4SWhiteBoard appears immediately discuss it with the Shift Leader and make an e-log or add the error message on the run log about it.

You should also check the counts during a run. You can check it in two places:

You can directly click the "Counters" tab in "Run Information & Settings". Here "Rate" should be going up to 1-5 KHz, then dropping to 0 every few seconds. At the same time the Number should be increasing. If the rate is lower than 1kHz, or number is not increasing, check the beam status in Vistar Page. If the beam is fine, then there may be a problem in data taking and you should immediately take action with the Shift Leader.


You can also check the rate by loading DFPanel. Simply click DFPanel under "Load Panels" on the top. Another tab will appear on the Run Control Panel. Select the DFPanel then select tick L1 as in the screen below.


You can see the spills during the run on this panel. If there is no beam it will look straight.

Stopping a Run

When we want to change beam parameters or trigger logic or detector configuration, we should first stop the run. The Shift Leader will tell you when you should stop the run. Before stopping the run, open the e-log you made for the new run and edit it. Add the number of events recorded and the stop time to your log. Then go through the steps;

  1. STOP
After you make the necessary changes you can start a new run.

Running event display

While taking data, we would like to see how the events look like. Event Display is the sofware that is used to see the signals on the detectors. All the experiments have their own event displays to understand the events taken during the experiment. You can see the event display of ATLAS and CMS for Higgs candidate events below:

ATLAS_higgs_candidate.png CMS_higgs_candidate.png

As you can realize from the event displays, it is much more easier to understand the tracks and the energy measurements by eye. However, we still need what we call "offline analysis" to understand the physics in our experiment and calculate results.

In our project we have out our Event Diplay. You can open it by clicking on the icon at your desktop "BL4S Event Display". Please check with Shift leader that there was no change in the geometry.


Then, you will see the following screen:


  • When the event display opens, from menu go to Detector->Download Geometry
  • Then to load the next event, click Download Event, or press F5.

The camera controls are explained in the program on the right.

-- SaimeSarikaya - 12 Aug 2014 -- CenkYildiz - 20 Aug 2014

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
PNGpng ATLAS_higgs_candidate.png r1 manage 4575.9 K 2014-08-20 - 16:34 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng BL4S_DAQ_openning.png r1 manage 73.1 K 2014-08-27 - 13:07 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng BL4S_DAQ_running.png r1 manage 65.1 K 2014-08-20 - 13:58 SaimeSarikaya  
JPEGjpg BeamlineCERN.jpg r1 manage 72.6 K 2014-08-22 - 13:17 MarkusJoos  
PNGpng CMS_higgs_candidate.png r1 manage 289.1 K 2014-08-20 - 16:34 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng Screenshot-5.png r1 manage 25.6 K 2014-08-20 - 17:33 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng cps.png r1 manage 11.4 K 2014-08-18 - 17:26 SaimeSarikaya cps vistar
PNGpng daq_counters.png r1 manage 2.9 K 2014-08-20 - 13:58 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng daq_information.png r1 manage 4.0 K 2014-08-20 - 13:58 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng daq_settings.png r1 manage 4.8 K 2014-08-20 - 13:58 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng df_panel.png r1 manage 65.3 K 2014-08-20 - 13:58 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng event_disp2.png r1 manage 74.9 K 2014-09-05 - 14:37 CenkYildiz  
PNGpng event_disp3.png r1 manage 49.3 K 2014-09-05 - 14:24 CenkYildiz event display icon
JPEGjpg pilot.jpg r1 manage 362.5 K 2014-08-27 - 14:16 SaimeSarikaya  
PNGpng vistar_bl4s.png r1 manage 172.5 K 2014-08-18 - 18:11 SaimeSarikaya bl4s vistar page
PNGpng xfce4_xicon1.png r1 manage 3.9 K 2014-08-20 - 17:32 SaimeSarikaya  
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