Leak Detect Error? Don’t Panic!


On a hot steamy June day in The-Middle-of-Nowhereville, Wisconsin, a SeqGen field service engineer was on his way to a routine preventative maintenance service call. As he hums along with the radio, suddenly he hears the sickening flop, flop, flop, of a flat tire. No problem! This is a field service engineer right? Well it would not have been a problem had there been a spare tire in the trunk of the rental car! Ok – call for roadside assistance. Oh no – no cell signal! To make a long story short – after a 30-minute hike along a deserted, hot, asphalt highway, he finally gets a cell signal, calls for roadside assistance and is soon back on his way.

Besides the kudos for Jon’s dedication and valor, there is a lesson here. Be prepared when you have a leak, be it air or polymer! Unlike the dismal situation Jon found himself in, we at SeqGen like to always make sure you have a “spare” and “roadside” assistance is always just a call or email away.

If during the course of your sequencing day you see something like this don’t panic!


Instead follow these steps:

  1. Visually check to see if there is any obvious leak or crystalized polymer around the pump. If a leak is found, remove the related parts and clean with warm distilled water.
  2. Reassemble all the washed parts.
  3. Perform the Water Wash Wizard with warm water and repeat three times.
  4. Try to run a plate again after the pump is refilled with fresh polymer and all bubbles are removed.

If the leak error is still generated:

  1. Remove the buffer jar from the lower block and wipe the tip of the lower block dry.
  2. Make sure the pump’s piston is all the way at the top of the pump and filled with fresh polymer. Remove the polymer bottle from the tube and wipe the tube dry.
  3. Perform a Spatial with Fill and watch closely if see polymer is leaking from either the lower block or the polymer tube.
  4. If the leak is coming from the lower block, then it has to be replaced.
  5. If the leak is coming from the polymer tube, then the valve on the pump has to be replaced. Call SeqGen!

If following these steps does not remove the error message, please give us a call. Lower blocks may be purchased from Life Tech/Thermofisher directly, but a pump replacement will require that you speak with us.

If you are as interested as we are in discovering time and money saving methods for your Sanger Sequencers or qPCR machines, please drop a comment below and let the world know what works for you!

Written by Susan Henry

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