With the onset of Spring this year, I decided that is was time to clean out my closet. I think I literally have clothing in there from high school! You can believe me when I say that was a LONG time ago.
In the same way – it may be time to do some Spring-cleaning in your laboratory. Unlike my closet, which can survive many decades of grossly outdated fashion, your sequencer or PCR machine requires a good tune-up every year. Do the pictures above look all too familiar?
Did you know that the alignment of the laser on your Sanger sequencer will slowly change over a year’s time causing you to experience a variety of unpleasant results? While this may happen slowly over the year, at some point you may notice that the spatial calibration becomes uneven. The constant movement of the autosampler over the year, slowly changes your laser’s alignment. When your spatial calibration is uneven, your plate read will also be uneven. You will also notice that your sample signal has gotten weaker and your peaks are slowly sinking into the baseline. This may be due to dust collecting on the focus lens. Has your machine stopped calling the peaks correctly? It might be time to give us a call.
An equally annoying symptom we often notice around the time PMs are due is that the autosampler randomly fails when trying to grip the plates. For some folks this always seems to happen the very same day they’ve gotten 1500 samples in the door! Call us ahead of time and save yourself the stress of having to rearrange sample schedules. We only need to take your machine down for about half a day, which may save you days of down time otherwise. If you are under service contract with us, we will even contact you to remind you that it is time for your PM each year.
In the same way – if you notice the read strength on your qPCR machine dropping give us a call. Your machine will most likely need a good cleaning, the dust removed, and the laser re-aligned.
Happy Spring cleaning everyone!