Ok, so I know it’s not Spring just yet. I was quickly reminded of this fact this morning as my teeth were chattering while I brushed the snow off my car. But, warm weather is just around the corner and with it are many spring-cleaning projects.
The weather may still be cold, but now is a great time to do some cleaning around the lab. Your sequencer requires a good tune-up every year to make sure it is working properly. So to help guide you through this cleanup, we’ve listed some of the most common problems you may run into.
If taken care of properly, you can expect a laser tube to operate for 10,000-30,000 hours depending upon usage. Over time, the constant movement of the autosampler will slowly change the alignment of the laser on your sequencer. At some point you may notice that the spatial calibration on your machine becomes uneven causing unsatisfying read quality throughout the plate.
Weak Sample Signal
Another symptom that you may notice is a weak sample signal and peaks slowly sinking into the baseline. It could be caused by dust collected on the mirrors or focus lens. If you notice that your machine has weaker read strength, we suggest that you check the spatial calibration as well, to verify optical performance.
Autosamplers are consistently moving parts, and as the time goes by, the alignment could be slightly shifted. This can possibly cause insufficient injections or the autosampler to randomly fail when trying to grip the plates. In a worst case scenario, it could damage the capillary array.
These same ideas apply to all Real-Time PCR machines. If you notice the read strength on your qPCR machine dropping, this probably means that it needs a good cleaning, dust removal, and laser re-alignment.
Arranging preventative maintenance with us can ward off unnecessary stress. We only need to take your machine down for about half a day to complete the whole process.
And if you are already our contract customers, no need to worry since we always schedule ahead of time when it’s PM time each year!
Spring cleaning sounds like drudgery, but making sure to take care of these simple things can mean less down time for your machines and more efficient labs. Happy cleaning, everyone!