Operational Systems and Equipment
Pampanito is a machine. The best way to preserve a piece of machinery is often to fully restore it and carefully operate it. For example, engines do not benefit from long periods of inactivity. The parts should be lubricated and moved. When electrical equipment is operated it warms up and the moisture is expelled. The most comprehensive method of restoring the submarine is to think of it as a series of systems. To restore a system is to deal with all of its components. There are limits, of course, dictated by the concerns of the Navy and the safety of visitors. There are no plans to propel Pampanito under her own power, for example. Even when Pampanito was seen operating at flank speed in the film Down Periscope, it was done with special effects and an underwater towing bridle. Further limits are set in the interests of visitor safety. It is not advisable, for example, to have a charged high pressure manifold that can be operated by an inquisitive ten year old visitor.
With all that in mind, many systems have been restored to operational condition. Four of the five diesel engines have been started and one is run for short periods of time a few times a year. The auxiliary systems have largely been put back on line, although they are carefully secured when not in use. For example, most of the hydraulics including the periscopes are operational, the Torpedo Data Computer, gyrocompass work. Food can be prepared in the galley, the fresh water system, heads and the sinks and showers amidships are all working. Much of the radio equipment is operational, etc.
We estimate that over 1/2 the equipment aboard has been restored, below is a list of significant equipment that has been operated during the museum era: