FAQ

2-Switch™

How to add the 2-Switch™ in my experiment and how to connect it?

To learn how to connect the 2-Switch™ on the Switchboard, go to the ESS™ section.

Concerning the tubing connection:

  • Cut the 1/16’’ OD tubing to the desired length, leaving a square-cut face.
  • Slide the nut over the tubing with the nut thread facing the tubing end being connected.
  • Slip the ferrule over the tubing, with the tapered portion of the ferrule facing the nut.
  • Insert the assembly into the receiving port, and while holding the tubing firmly against the bottom of the port, tighten the nut finger tight.
  • To check the tightness of your connection, you may pull gently on the tubing: it must stay fitted in the ferrule and nut.

Warning:

  • The 2-SWITCH™ device can only be connected with 1/16’’ OD tubing.

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How can I clean the 2-Switch™ after use?

You can clean the 2-Switch™ in the same way than the Flow Unit.

Besides, Fluigent strongly advises you to use filtered solutions. Wetted material is Teflon® only.

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How can I make a junction between a 2-SWITCH™ and tubing with external diameters different from 1/16’’?

The 2-SWITCH™ can only be connected with 1/16’’ OD tubing and the provided fittings. There is a wide variety of materials and internal diameters available with 1/16’’ tubing to suit your application. However, if you have constraints on your fluidic set-up that force you to use tubing of other external diameters than 1/16’’, a wide range of adaptors and unions are available from the fittings suppliers, to make a junction between your specific tubing and the 2-SWITCH™ tubing.

Warning: Please note that sleeves cannot be used directly in the 2-SWITCH™ fluidic ports (risks of trapping the smaller tubing and possible non-tight connection).

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With a fluidic “on/off” switch configuration, should I fill with liquid the plugged path inside the 2-SWITCH™ before screwing the plug?

If you are planning to use a 2-SWITCH™ as a fluidic on/off switch, you will need to plug either port #1 or port #2 on the 2-SWITCH™. For example, if you plug port #2, when in Position 2 the common port will be connected to the plug inside the 2-SWITCH™. As there is still some internal volume inside the 2-SWITCH™ (12µL per position), it is better to fill the 2-SWITCH™ in Position 2 with distilled water before connecting the plug to close the position. This way, during the experiment when the valve is actuated in Position 2 to close a path, there will be no air bubble and a minimal liquid displacement in the Position 2, as it will have already been filled with liquid.

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ESS™ - Easy Switch Solutions™

How to set the ESS™ platform?

  • Connect the plug of the power supply provided on the front of the Switchboard. The flat side of the power supply plug must face upwards to enter the socket on the Switchboard.

  • Actuate the ON/OFF button

  • Connect the provided USB cable between the computer and the USB port on the Switchboard.

  • Connect the Fluigent valves you want to use paying attention to the Switchboard ports.
    • The Switchboard ports called ‘A, B, C, D’ are compatible with the M-Switch™ and the L-Switch™.

The Switchboard ports called ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8’ are compatible with the 2-Switch™.

To connect a valve to the Switchboard, plug a RJ45 cable provided by Fluigent between the valve and the right Switchboard port.

  

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I do not remember which device is connected to a SWITCHBOARD RJ45 port.

To identify the linked SWITCHBOARD RJ45 ports and devices, you can use the Check connection feature by pushing the corresponding Check connection buttons on the SWITCHBOARD. This will light up the green RJ45 indicators on the associated SWITCHBOARD RJ45 port and on the RJ45 port of the device connected to it.

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Flow EZ™

Which power supply is needed for the Flow EZ™?

The power supply needed for the Flow EZ™ is the one provided by Fluigent (24VDC).

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What does “Hot plug and play” mean?

A “hot plug and play” connection means that the device can be connected to the computer while both the device and the computer are powered on, and the operating system recognizes and configures the device automatically, downloading and installing any required drivers without any additional action on the user’s part.

For the Flow EZ™, connecting the pressure supply and the power supply directly turns on the Flow EZ™ module.

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FLPG

What is the power supply of the FLPG?

The power supply needed is the one provided by Fluigent (24VDC).

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How to use my FLPG?

  • Press the ON/OFF button (box #2 on the picture)
  • Connect the output pressure line to the MFCS™-EZ or MFCS™-EX (box #3 on the picture)
  • Set the manual regulator (box #4 on the picture). The display (box #1 on the picture) shows you the value of the FLPG generated pressure.

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How many pressure channels can be supplied by the FLPG?

Our FLPG can provide 2bar for up to 6 pressure channels, or 1bar for up to 16 pressure channels. Other configurations are possible, please contact us for detailed configurations.

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How can I purge the air dryer?

In order to clear out the air dryer (water coming from condensation) you have to push on the white part of the air dryer as on the picture below.

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Fluigent software - MAESFLO™

What are the supported OS for MAESFLO™?

MAESFLO™ is compatible with Windows, from Windows XP service pack 3 and higher.

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How to install MAESFLO™?

  • Log on as Administrator or as a user with Administrator privileges.
  • Launch the setup.exe file
  • The installation wizard guides you through the necessary steps to install the MAESFLO™ software.
  • When the installation is complete, click Finish.

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How to start MAESFLO™?

  • Plug your needed Fluigent devices to your computer.
  • Launch MAESFLO™.
  • The MFCS™-EZ connected to the computer will be automatically detected.
  • Click on the green arrow to select the MFCS™-EZ you want to use and then press “Ok”.

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How to add my Flow Unit in MAESFLO™?

  • Press the magnifying glass to Automatically detect connected Flowboard (the serial number is indicated).
  • Then, press the green arrow to add Flow Unit.
  • Connected Flow Unit are displayed. Then, click on OK.

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How do I change the data record frequency?

Go to Parameters > Record and select the record period you want (0,1 s, 1 s, 10s).

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How can I display graphs?

For pressure: Click on Display > Pressure graph

For flow rate: Click on Display > Flow-Rate graph

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Fluigent software – ESS™ Control

What are the supported OS for ESS™ Control?

ESS™ Control is compatible with Windows, from Windows XP service pack 3 to higher.

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How to install it for ESS™ Control?

  • Log on as Administrator or as a user with Administrator privileges.
  • Launch the setup.exe file
  • The installation wizard guides you through the necessary steps to install the ESS™ Control software.
  • When the installation is complete, click Finish.

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I do not remember which SWITCHBOARD RJ45 port number / letter is associated with a named device.

There are several ways to check which is the RJ45 port associated with a device with a customized name:

  • Check the System Information Category in the Parameters dialog. The default names (with RJ45 port number / letter) of all connected devices are displayed, with the associated customized names between brackets.
  • Activate the Check connection feature to light up the green RJ45 indicators on the device and its SWITCHBOARD RJ45 port.
  • You can also undock the customized device. The title of the undocked independent window is the default name of the device (with its RJ45 port number / letter).

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Fluigent software – FRP-SFP

What are the supported OS for the FRP-SFP?

FRP-SFP is compatible with Windows, from Windows XP service pack 3 to higher.

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How to install the FRP-SFP?

  • Log on as Administrator or as a user with Administrator privileges.
  • Launch the setup.exe file
  • The installation wizard guides you through the necessary steps to install the FRP-SFP software.
  • When the installation is complete, click Finish.

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Why are my flow-rates not measured by the Flow-Rate Platform Soft Front Panel?

There may be the consequence of several causes:

  • Check that your Flow Unit and Flowboard are correctly connected
  • Check that all the Flow Unit are displayed in the drop-down menu in the toolbar.
  • Check that you hit the Run button in order to start the data acquisition

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How can I launch a data record?

  • Select the folder path you want
  • Select the data-logging speed (0.1s, 1s, 10s)
  • Click on “Log” and “Run”

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Fluigent software – Script

What are the supported OS for the Script Module?

Fluigent Script Module is compatible with Windows, from Windows XP service pack 3 to higher.

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How to install the Script Module?

  • Log on as Administrator or as a user with Administrator privileges.
  • Launch the Fluigent_ScriptModule_Installer.exe file
  • The installation wizard guides you through the necessary steps to install the Fluigent script module.
  • When the installation is complete, click Finish.

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I obtain an error message when I try to launch the Script.

  • First possible reason: You need to launch all the files .exe as Admin. If you do not, the communication between Maesflo™ and the script will not be possible.

Solution:

  1. Be sure to install Maesflo™ and AutoIt3 with admin rights.
  2. Define the privilege level for AutoIt3.exe and SciTE.exe: Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoIt3 et C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoIt3\SciTe then, right click ‘Properties’ > Compatibility> Tick ‘Run as Admin’
  3. Launch AutoIt3.exe, AutoIt3_x64.exe, SciTE.exe and Maesflo™ with ‘Run as Administrator’.
  • Second possible reason: Read/Write rights

Solution: You need to have the Read and Write rights for the file ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoIt3’. If not, go to ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoIt3’, right click and go to ‘Properties’ then untick  ‘Read only’.

  • Third possible reason: Syntax report issue (Error observed during the compilation step).

Solution:

  1. Go to ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoIt3\SciTe’
  2. Open ‘Syntax report.au3’ with Write rights.
  3. Delete all which is written into the file and save it.
  4. Close the file.
  5. Do the same into the ‘Syntax report.au3’ in ‘C:\Fluigent\SciTe’
  • Fourth possible reason: Unicode language (Write symbols unusual).

Solution: Your Unicode language has to be changed to “English US”.

  1. Open Region and Language by clicking theStart button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Clock, Language, and Region, and then clicking Region and Language.
  2. Click theAdministrative tab, and then, under Language for non-Unicode programs, click Change system locale.  If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Select the language, and then clickOK. To restart your computer, click Restart now.

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Fluigent software – TTL Configurator

What are the supported OS for the TTL Configurator?

Fluigent TTL Configurator is compatible with Windows, from Windows XP service pack 3 to higher.

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How to install the TTL Configurator?

  • Log on as Administrator or as a user with Administrator privileges.
  • Launch the Fluigent_TTL_Configurator_Installer.exe file

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Which one is the TTL port 1?

The count is from left to right viewing from the front side of the SWITCHBOARD. If you see from the back panel, it’s the TTL port 4 at the end of left. Here is a picture viewing from the back side:

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How should I connect my valves to my SWITCHBOARD?

You must use the straight-through wired RJ45 cables to connect your valves to the SWITCHBOARD (Fluigent advises to only use the cables provided with the ESS™ Platform). The four first ports in the white cables section (port A to port D) are for connection with M-SWITCH™ or L-SWITCH™. The next eight ports in the blue cables section (from port 1 to port 8) are for connection with 2-SWITCH™. Please refer to ESS™ Platform User Manual for more details.

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How should I connect my synchronized devices to my SWITCHBOARD?

You should use the 50 Ohm coaxial cable with BNC connectors to connect your synchronized devices to your SWITCHBOARD. These connection ports on the SWITCHBOARD are called TTL ports and are located at the back side as shown in Question 1 of this section.

NOTE: If you don’t have a 50 Ohm coaxial cable, you can contact us or easily command on the Internet, here is an example from Radiospare: reference 742-4315

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Are these TTL ports Input ports or Output ports?

They can be individually defined by User. A TTL port can be set as an Input port which detects an external trigger; or it can be set as an Output port which sends out TTL pulse trigger.

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Does the former SWITCHBOARD support the trigger feature?

Only the SWITCHBOARD with the BNC connectors on the back panel supports the TTL trigger feature. If you try to write the TTL configuration and action rules into a former SWITCHBOARD, the following error dialog box will appear.

An upgrade is possible, contact us for more information.

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Can I use the ESS™ TTL Configurator and save the configuration when my SWITCHBOARD is not connected?

Yes, you can use ESS™ TTL Configurator to edit the action rules or to save these action rules in a local file without SWITCHBOARD connected to your computer. You only need to connect your SWITCHBOARD when you want to write these action rules into your SWITCHBOARD. Once the writing procedure is finished, you can disconnect your SWITCHBOARD. These action rules are stored in the internal memory of SWITCHBOARD, and will be kept until another configuration is written, even when the SWITCHBOARD is powered off.

NOTE: Before writing action rules into your SWITCHBOARD, you need to verify the valves are connected to the SWITCHBOARD exactly as you configured in the Valve configuration section and there is no conflict among the action rules.

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Foot switch

How do I install my Foot Switch?

No installation is required. You only need to connect the Foot Switch to your computer through the USB port provided by Fluigent.

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How do I configure my Foot Switch?

  • Launch MAESFLO™ software
  • Set the pressure value for the first configuration (192.6 mbar in this example) and click on Config P button.

  • Enter the name of your configuration (Configuration 1 in this example) and click OK.

  • Set the pressure value for the second configuration (598.6mbar in this example) and click on Config P button.

  • Enter the name of your configuration (Configuration 2 in this example) and click OK.

  • Click on Parameters button.

  • Click on ‘Configurations à Pressure’:
    • You can see the 2 configurations previously saved: Configuration 1 and Configuration 2
    • Select F9 shortcut for configuration 1 and F8 for configuration 2
    • Click on Ok button

  

  • You now can switch between the 2 configurations with your Foot Switch

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FRCM

What is the principle of the Flow Rate Control Module (FRCM)?

The FRCM is the solution to control flow-rates within your system. The FRCM uses pressure actuation to control flow-rates. Thanks to this unique algorithm the pressures are adjusted automatically to reach the flow-rate set point.

The process can be divided in 4 steps:

  • Identification step to create the internal model: flow-rate responses to pressure orders are recorded.
  • Flow-rate set points are entered by the user via MAESFLO™ software. The FRCM algorithm automatically computes the pressure orders needed to obtain the flow-rate set points.
  • The computed pressure orders are automatically sent to the pressure actuator (MFCS™-EZ or MFCS™-EX) which quickly applies them to the pressurized reservoirs.
  • The pressure drives the liquids inside the reservoirs through the microsystem. The measured flow-rates are sent back to the FRCM algorithm which compares computed and measured flow-rates. The algorithm automatically adjusts the pressure values to maintain the flow-rate set points. During the experiment the model is continuously computed to check any variation and adapt its response.

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What are the advantages of the FRCM (flow-rate control) compared to pressure control?

There are many benefits:

  • Not sensitive to the transient behavior in the microsystems. It provides a stable behavior even if bubbles or clogging are present.
  • Calculates a global solution (pressure to be applied) for the entire microsystem (tubing, microfluidic chip, …). It reduces the coupling effects between the channels and the transient states.

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How to launch/activate the FRCM?

  • First, you need to connect the FRCM dongle (USB key) to your computer.
  • Launch MAESFLO™ software and add your Flow Unit
  • Click on ‘Display’ > ‘Flow-Rate Control Module’

  • The FRCM Wizard Welcome page is popping up.

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How use the FRCM module?

The identification wizard provides 3 different ways to perform the identification step:

  • Create a new system setup: to perform a new identification file. The wizard will guide you step by step through the identification process. Fluigent advises this option for new users or for complex systems.
  • Load an existing system setup: to load a previous identification file.
  • Enter manually the parameters (advanced user): to perform a new identification file. The user will directly input the identification data and perform the identification himself. This option is the quickest to perform a new identification file. Fluigent advises it for advanced users only.

For more details about the identification wizard steps, please read the user manual MAESFLO™

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Why can’t I apply the maximal pressure allowed by a pressure channel?

The identification wizard takes into account the pressure limit you specified for each pressure channel in the MAESFLO™. Please check or modify these limits.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Am I forced to set a pressure value for all the pressure channels?

No, please only modify the pressure channels needed to reach the nominal operating configuration of your micro system. If the required configuration is “zero pressure” for all pressure channels, the software will also be able to deal with it.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Why is the Nominal Operating button disabled?

This button is only available when all the flow sensor saturation indicators are green, meaning there is no saturation in the flow sensors.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. What is a nominal operating configuration?

A nominal operating configuration is a flow-rate and/or pressure configuration usually used in your experiment.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. How do I stop sensor saturation?

Modify the pressure values of the pressure channels. Usually, by decreasing the pressure value you will be able to stop a flow-rate sensor saturation. Modify first the pressure channels which have a major impact on the flow-rate channel currently saturated.

To limit saturations, try to avoid air bubbles in your microsystem. Bubbles in a micro system may lead to flow-rate overshoots when a new pressure order is applied. The bigger the bubble is, the higher the flow-rate overshoot may be.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Will I be allowed to change the flow-rate priority later?

Yes, you will. This step only configures the MAESFLO™ with your current choices. After completing the wizard, you will be able to change the priorities.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. What does “pressure channels for flow-rate control” mean?

It means that the selected pressure channels will be automatically adjusted by the software to provide the requested flow-rates. You will not be able to modify the pressure of these channels yourself. You can control all the other pressure channels (not selected in this step) with the Pressure Control panel.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Will I be allowed to modify the selected pressure channels later?

Yes, but you will not be allowed to add new pressure channels for flow-rate control with this identification file. A new identification process is required in this case.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. How do I choose the pressure channels?

The selected pressure channels should be connected to the flow-rate channels regarding the microfluidic design of your setup. It means that a pressure modification leads to a flow-rate modification. If you cannot define these relations, please select all the pressure channels available. The Flow-Rate Control Module is able to figure out all the relations between pressure and flow-rate channels.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. How do I improve the identification quality?

You can improve the quality by avoiding transitory phenomena in your system during the identification (bubbles, clogging, liquid leaks, valve actuating, etc…).

You can also increase the time of the identification step as it improves the identification quality.

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I am using ‘Create a new system setup’. Why does the automatic identification stop with a message?

The software stops the identification if too many flow-rate sensor saturations occurred.

Please also be sure that the flow sensor ranges and the pressure channel ranges are suitable for your microsystem. If a flow sensor saturates when you applied less than 20% of the maximum pressure available, the ranges may not be suitable for your microsystem.

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I am using ‘Load an existing system setup’. Why am I not allowed to load a previous identification file?

The software cannot apply a previous identification file if the Fluigent devices connected do not exactly match those used during the creation of the identification file. The following parameters must be the same:

  • Number of MFCS™-EZ and FLOWBOARD.
  • Number and range of pressure channels.
  • Number and range of flow sensors.

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I am using ‘Enter manually the parameters (advanced user)’. What does “pressure channels for flow-rate control” mean?

It means that the selected pressure channels will be automatically adjusted by the software to provide the wanted flow-rates. You will not be able to modify the pressure of these channels all by yourself in flow-rate control mode. You can control all the other pressure channels (not selected in this step) with the Pressure Control panel.

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I am using ‘Enter manually the parameters (advanced user)’. How do I choose the Pmax and Pmin values?

They deeply depend on your micro system but they need to reach two requirements:

  • They must not lead to any flow sensor saturation.
  • They must not be equal. Fluigent advises you to select ?P (Pmax-Pmin) greater than 20% of the pressure range.

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I am using ‘Enter manually the parameters (advanced user)’. When do I stop the identification process?

You are allowed to stop the identification when you want. FLUIGENT advises you to go to the next step only if the identification quality is at least Medium (High would be best). However, the identification process typically lasts two (2) or three (3) minutes. If the identification quality do not reach a Medium or High quality after 5 minutes, stop the identification process. Then, try to adapt your system to avoid saturations and/or transitory phenomena.

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I am using ‘Enter manually the parameters (advanced user)’. How do I stop a flow sensor saturation?

  1. Change the values of the Pmin and Pmax thresholds. Generally, reducing the ?P (Pmax-Pmin) highly limits the flow sensor saturation. Check which sensor is saturating and modify first the pressure value of the pressure channels which seem to impact the flow sensor most.
  2. Increase the flow-rate response time slider will help you to limit the transitory saturation due to the bubbles.
  3. Please also be sure that the flow sensor ranges and the pressure channel ranges are suitable for your microsystem. If a flow sensor saturates when you applied less than 20% of the maximum pressure available, the ranges may not be optimal for your microsystem.

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I am using ‘Enter manually the parameters (advanced user)’. Why does the user need to avoid flow sensors saturation?

Any flow sensor saturation reduces the identification quality, even on unselected flow-rate channel. By avoiding flow sensor saturation, you increase the identification quality and decrease the duration needed to obtain the best performance.

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Does the identification step consume liquids?

In the identification step, pressures will be applied and consequently liquids will flow inside your microfluidic system. It means that this identification step will consume some liquids. If you do not want to use your samples (delicate and/or costly) you can make the identification with model samples (with characteristics close to your real sample). After the completion of the identification step, you fill your reservoirs with your real sample, load the identification file and then perform your experiment.

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Why are some pressure channels grayed in the Parameters/Flow-Rate Control Module panel?

The grayed pressure channels are those only available for the pressure control. These channels have not been selected during the identification step. The Flow-Rate Control Module is not able to use them for flow-rate control. If you want to use these channels with the Flow-Rate Control Module, please process a new identification.

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How do I choose the pressure channels used for the flow-rate control?

The selected pressure should be connected to the flow-rate channels regarding the microfluidic design of your setup. It means that a pressure modification leads to a flow-rate modification. If you cannot define these relations, please select all the pressure channels available. The Flow-Rate Control Module is able to figure out all the relations between pressure and flow-rate channels.

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Why should I change the flow-rate channel priority?

Adapting the flow-rate priorities may enable you to enlarge the reachable flow-rate range.

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Why should I change the pressure response time?

Reducing the pressure response time leads to reduce the flow-rate overshoots that may appear during the identification process or while the Flow-Rate Control is running. It may be used to increase the identification quality and/or leads to a more stable flow-rate control. Any pressure response modification is applied to all the pressure channels even those not used by the Flow-Rate Control Module.

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FRP: Flowboard & Flow Unit

How to set the FRP platform?

  • Connect the USB cable between your computer and the Flowboard. The green led is now switched on.

  • Connect the Flow Unit on the Flowboard.

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How to add Flow Unit in my experiment?

  • Integrate the Flow Unit to your microfluidic system with the right tubing and fittings.

For L, XL Flow Unit :

  1. Cut the 1/16’’ OD tubing to the desired length, leaving a square-cut face.
  2. Slide the nut over the tubing with the nut thread facing the tubing end being connected.
  3. Slip the ferrule over the tubing, with the tapered portion of the ferrule facing the nut. NB: the nuts and ferrules are specifically designed to work together. FLUIGENT advises you to only associate the provided ferrules with the provided nuts and vice-versa.
  4. Insert the assembly into the receiving port, and while holding the tubing firmly against the bottom of the port, tighten the nut finger tight.
  5. To check the tightness of your connection, you may pull gently on the tubing: it must stay fitted in the ferrule and nut.
  6. Do the same thing on the 2nd port.

For XS, S, M Flow Unit :

  1. Cut the 1/32’’ OD tubing to the desired length, leaving a square-cut face.
  2. Slide the fitting over the tubing.
  3. Insert the assembly into the receiving port, and while holding the tubing firmly against the bottom of the port, tighten the fitting finger tight.
  4. To check the tightness of your connection, you may pull gently on the tubing: it must stay fitted in the ferrule and nut.
  5. Do the same thing on the 2nd port.
  • Note: Please verify you connect the Flow Unit in the right direction by checking the arrow on the sticker.
  • Check the provided kits with your Flow units as they can be different according to their model.

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Have the Flow Unit got dead volume?

No, they have not. However, they have an internal volume depending on their inner diameter.

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How can I clean the Flow Unit after use?

Flow Unit models are highly sensitive and should be properly cleaned to always maintain high performance. With proper care and maintenance, the Flow Units can last many years. No cleaning or improper cleaning may leave deposits on the internal capillary wall which could result in measurement deviations and even clogging. Cleaning the sensor after use and before storing the device for a long period of time should prevent the sensors from any damage.

Do not allow the sensor to dry with media in the capillary tube without flushing clean first. Also try to avoid letting the filled sensor sit for extended periods (depending on your liquid).

Before storing the sensor, always drain of fluid, flush with cleaning agent, blow out, and dry the capillary.

For the XS FLOW UNIT model, filter your solution through a 5µm (or lower) membrane filter.

Cleaning and flushing of the Flow Units should consider the nature of the materials that were being pumped through them. Typically, one should select a cleaning solution that is safe for the Flow Unit (the inside surface) and the rest of the set up but yet will dissolve the type of samples that were in contact with the surface.

For Flow Unit XS, S and M, fluids have to be compatible with PEEK & Quartz glass.

For Flow Unit L and XL, fluids have to be compatible with PEEK & Borosilicate glass.

The following steps are recommended for water-based solutions, in the right order:

  • Rinse all your system with water.
  • Clean the Flow Unit with a non-foaming detergent.

The detergent needs to be compatible with Flow Unit, the rest of your set-up (microfluidic chip, especially) and fluids used during your experiment.

  • Remove all the contaminants thanks to a disinfectant (for example, Javel bleach).
  • Rinse the Javel bleach (or the selected disinfectant) with water.
  • Rinse all you system with isopropanol. Thanks to this final step, you won’t leave any trace on your Flow Unit.
  • Then, sensor yellow plugs must be installed for storage.

Recommendations for fluids

Working with Multiple Liquids

Switching between multiple liquids can leave transient deposits in the form of liquid layers inside the glass capillary. This is especially common for insoluble liquids, but can happen even with miscible liquid combinations. For example, when IPA is followed by water in a sensor without drying in between, large offsets can be observed for hours after switching to water.

If possible, dedicate a separate sensor for each different liquid to be measured. If not possible, use caution when switching media and clean properly.

Working with Water

When working with water it is recommended not to let the sensor dry out. All salts and minerals in the water will deposit on the glass and are difficult to remove. Although salt solutions are particularly prone to problems, even clean water can still contain enough dissolved minerals to form a deposition layer. Flush with DI water on a regular basis to prevent build-up. If you still encounter problems, occasionally flush the sensor with slightly acidic cleaning agents.

When working with water containing organic materials (sugars, etc.) microorganisms often grow on the walls of the glass capillary and form an organic film that can be difficult to remove. Flush on a regular basis with solvents such as ethanol, methanol or IPA, or with cleaning detergents to remove organic films.

Working with Silicone Oils

When working with silicone oil it is recommended not to let the sensor dry out. Silicone oils can be cleaned out using special cleaners. Check with your silicone oil supplier for cleaning agents compatible with glass surfaces.

Working with Paints or Glues

When working with paints or glues it is critical not to let the sensor dry out. Often, depositions of paints and glues cannot be removed anymore after they have dried. Flush the sensor with cleaning agents recommended by your paint or glue manufacturer that are compatible with glass. Ensure that you have found a good cleaning procedure before performing the first tests, and always clean shortly after emptying the sensor.

Working with Alcohols or Solvents

Unlike most other fluids, alcohols and solvents are not critical and a short flush of isopropanol (IPA) is sufficient to clean the capillary walls.

Other Liquids or Applications

If uncertain about your application and how to clean the flow sensor, please contact FLUIGENT for additional support at support@fluigent.com

Identified cleaning solutions

Sample liquid Cleaning solution Supplier
Biofilm/cells ·       Biofilm remover

·       Sodium dichloroisocyanurate (1 ppm HClO; ref : 218928)

·       Umweltanalytik

·       Sigma Aldrich

1% micro-beads of polystyrene in DI Water ·       Toluene 99.8% (ref : 244511) ·       Sigma Aldrich
Mineral oil (Sigma cat no. 5904) ·       RBS 25 (ref : 83460)

·       Tergazyme

·       Sigma Aldrich

·       ALCONOX

Blood ·      BD FACS Clean

·       RBS 25 (ref : 83460)

·       Tergazyme

·       BD

·       Sigma Aldrich

·       ALCONOX

Tissues, body fluids, proteinacous soil (Biological application) ·       Tergazyme ·       ALCONOX
Solvent and bioreactor residue ·       Tergazyme ·       ALCONOX

How to use Tergazyme?

  • Make a fresh 1% solution (10 grams per liter) in cold or warm water. If available, use warm water below 130F (55°C). For difficult soils, use very hot water (above 150F or 65°C) and use double the recommended amount of detergent.
  • Circulate solution slowly for at least 1/2 hour.
  • RINCE THOROUGHLY—preferably with running water.
  • Drying can affect residues and corrosion. Impurities from rinse water can be deposited during evaporation. To minimize this, Dry with techniques that physically remove rinse water from the substrate such as isopropyl alcohol final rinse.
Form Powder
Dilution (%) 1
Min Wash Temp Ambient
Usual Wash Temp Max 130F or 55°C
Protective Gloves Desired
Eye Protection Desired

Cleaning Methods that are not recommended

In general, any cleaning by mechanical means should be avoided. Never enter the sensor flow path with sharp objects that could scratch the glass surface.

Furthermore, no abrasives or liquids containing solids that can grind the surface clean should be used. Anything that affects the glass wall will cause deviations in the measurement performance or permanently damage the sensor.

Strong acids and bases should also not be used to clean the sensor. Acids can sometimes be used in low concentration and at low temperatures. Before using the acid check how compatible it is with borosilicate 3.3 glass (Pyrex® or Duran®).

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Will the size of the capillary of the XS FLOW UNIT model have an influence on my system?

Yes the diameter of the capillary is small: 25 µm, so depending on the size of your system, you may need to push your fluids harder to obtain a given flow-rate. Then the maximum pressure drop between the sides of the XS FLOW UNIT model at maximum flow-rate is 0.8 bar.

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In which range of temperature the values given by the sensors stay accurate?

The FLOW UNIT sensors are already temperature compensated, so they work in a range of 10°C to 50°C. This can be useful if your device needs to fit within an incubation chamber.

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Why does the flow-rate measured by the FLOW UNIT not match the ordered flow-rate on my fluid controller?

  • The flow-rate calculated by the FLOW UNIT is based on a temperature diffusion-advection measurement with the glass capillary. If your fluid is not pure water (or isopropanol) you first need to add a scale factor to calibrate your FLOW UNIT.
  • There might be a leak within your system. Please check if your system is completely tight before going any further.
  • This might be because of your screwed fitting. Please unscrew and then re-screw it.
  • Your fluid controller may not be as precise as the FLOW UNIT sensor.

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How can I improve the flow-rate stability and observe less flow-rate peaks?

Most of the times, flow-rate peaks represent air bubbles. In order to get a stable measured flow rate, you have to remove all the air bubbles into your set-up. To achieve this, flush your set up by applying a higher pressure until air bubbles disappeared. Besides, you own flow controller might not deliver a stable flow. Contact us for more information.

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I am using another fluid than water or isopropanol. How can I calibrate the Flow Unit for my fluid?

You can calculate a scale factor which will correct the measured flow-rate returned by the Flow Unit.

The different FLOW UNIT models are calibrated to provide an accurate reading when used with the corresponding fluid, water or isopropyl alcohol.

For the FLOW UNIT models XS/XL, only one single calibration for water is available. For the FLOW UNIT models S/M/L, two calibrations are available: Water and Isopropyl alcohol.

The FLOW UNIT can be used to handle different fluids not originally calibrated for. When possible, select a standard calibration field that most closely matches your fluid.

For example, water calibration can be used for water based solution and isopropyl alcohol calibration for hydrocarbons or oil. The calibration can be selected and switched in the software.

In order to obtain accurate flow-rates for alternative fluids, it is necessary to use correction factors (scale factor), to convert the displayed value into the actual value. The scale factor can be added in the software. Adding the scale factor ensures that the flow sensor reading is now accurate for the target fluid.

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How to calculate the scale factor of my fluid to calibrate my FLOW UNIT?

The following section explains how you can calculate this scale factor and shows an example with a fluorinated oil: FC-40.

A method for providing a known flow-rate is required to work out the scale factor for the selected fluid. This could be a syringe pump, a peristaltic pump or a pressure regulator delivering fluid onto a precision balance with volume calculated from known density. Here is an example using MFCS™-EZ.

Make a table that contains the time for each measurement, results from weighing scale, the flow-rate of the pump and the data measured by the FLOW UNIT. A minimum of 3 measurements is recommended for each flow-rate.

The principle of the experiment is to inject the FC-40 through the desired FLOW UNIT model connected to the FLOWBOARD. Then simultaneously you record the flow-rate given by the software and you measure the weight of fluid you have collected over a chosen period of time. Knowing the density of the fluid, you are able to define the actual flow-rate.

Note that if a peristaltic or a syringe pump is used, one has to wait until the target flow-rate is reached (settling times can be long) and to calculate an average flow-rate due to the pulsations.

The list of materials needed to reproduce the experiment is given below:

– One (1) FLOWBOARD

– One (1) FLOW UNIT model

– One (1) MFCS™-EZ or with the appropriate pressure range (1 bar for FC-40) and MAESFLO™ software.

– One (1) precision weighing scale

The table below displays the information recorded during the experiment: the pressure imposed by the MFCS™-EZ, Qs the flow-rate recorded by the FLOW UNIT through the Flow-Rate Platform software, Qw the flow-rate measured with the precision weighing scale, and Qw/Qs the calculated scale factor for a single point calibration.

Consequently, when working around 317 ?l/min (target flow-rate), you have to add the scale factor of 3.5 so that the measurement of the sensor corresponds to the actual flow-rate for FC-40.

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L-SWITCH™

How to add the L-Switch™ in my experiment and how to connect it?

To learn how to connect the M-Switch™ on the Switchboard, go to the ESS™ section.

Concerning the tubing connection:

 

 

  • Cut the 1/16’’ OD tubing to the desired length, leaving a square-cut face.
  • Insert the tubing into a nut until it passes 1.5 – 3mm.
  • Insert into a port of L-SWITCH™, twist until it is tightened. You can pull gently the tubing to verify that it is securely connected to the port.

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How to connect a sample loop to the L-Switch™?

  

  

  • In order to connect a sample loop to the L-SWITCH™, you will need two nuts and two ferrules, in addition to the sample loop itself (nuts and ferrules are provided with the sample loop).
  • Pass one end of the sample loop through a nut.
  • Add a ferrule
  • Hold the set together and insert it into a port of the L-SWITCH™ (for example, port 1 here).
  • Twist until the set is tightened. You can pull gently the sample loop to verify that it is securely connected.
  • Repeat these steps for the other end of the sample loop to connect it to another port of the L-SWITCH™ (for example port 4 here).

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How can I clean the L-Switch™ after use?

You can clean the L-Switch™ in the same way than the Flow Unit.

Besides, Fluigent strongly advises you to use filtered solutions. Wetted materials are PEEK only.

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M-Switch™

I observe fluid at the side of of M-SWITCH™. What do I have to do?

  1. Stop your experiment and remove the liquid that spilled out of the valve.
  2. Check the following points :
    • Use 1/16’’OD (Outer Diameter) tubing only
    • Use plugs on the non used ports
    • Mark tubing at 24mm from the end. This length of tubing should be inside of the M-SWITCH™. It will be an indicator to ensure that the tubing is fully seated
    • Use same tubing material (PEEK/FEP/ etc…) on all the ports of the M-SWITCH™
    • Well tighten the spanner. To check the tightness of your connection, you may pull gently on the tubing & plugs

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How to add the M-Switch™ in my experiment and how to connect it?

To learn how to connect the M-Switch™ on the Switchboard, go to the ESS™ section.

Concerning the tubing connection:

  • Cut the 1/16’’ OD tubing to the desired length, leaving a square-cut face. For connecting a plug, take one of the plugs provided by Fluigent.
  • Mark each piece of tubing or plug 24mm from the end (it will be an indicator to ensure that the tubing is fully seated).
  • Loosen the Spanner adequately to release the ferrules of the integrated fittings.
  • Insert the piece of tubing or plug in one port and push it all the way to the bottom of the port. The mark made at step 2 should be approximately flush with the top of the ram when tubing is fully seated.
  • Once tubing or plugs have been inserted in all ports, tighten the spanner to clench the fittings around tubing and plugs and have a tight connection. To check the tightness of your connection, you may pull gently on the tubing and plugs: they must stay fitted in the integrated fittings.
  • Warning:
  • The M-SWITCH™ device can only be connected with 1/16’’ OD tubing.
  • All ports need to be connected: Use plugs on the non-used ports.
  • Use the same tubing material (PEEK/FEP) on all the ports to have a well tighten of the spanner.

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How can I clean the M-Switch™ after use?

You can clean the M-Switch™ in the same way than the Flow Unit.

Besides, Fluigent strongly advises you to use filtered solutions. Wetted materials are custom polymer RPC7 only.

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How can I make a junction between an M-SWITCH™ and tubing with external diameters different from 1/16’’?

The M-SWITCH™ can only be connected with 1/16’’ OD tubing. There is a wide variety of materials and internal diameters available with 1/16’’ OD tubing to suit your application. However, if you have constraints on your fluidic setup that force you to use tubing of other external diameters than 1/16’’, a wide range of adaptors and unions are available from the fittings suppliers, to make a junction between your specific tubing and the M-SWITCH™ tubing.

Warning: Please note that sleeves cannot be used directly in the M-SWITCH™ fluidic ports (risks of trapping the smaller tubing and possible non-tight connection).

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MFCS™ Series

How to set the manual regulator/ air drier/MFCS™-EZ all together?

This scheme represents a typical positive pressure network. For negative pressure network, please contact us at mailto:support@fluigent.com.

To learn how to connectg each part see our section on “Pressure Accessories”

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How to run the MFCS™-EZ?

  • Connect the MFCS™-EZ as described on the previous question.
  • Connect the power supply and the USB cable to your computer.
  • Press the Play button.
  • Set the right inlet pressure on the display, according to the value written on the nameplate at the MFCS™-EZ back (below, the right value is 1300mbar).

  • Launch MAESFLO™ software

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What pressuring gas can I use?

You can use non-corrosive, non-toxic or explosive gas (air, N2, Ar, CO2, …).

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How to set the right value on the display?

  • The right value you have to set is written on the nameplate at the MFCS™-EZ back. In this example, it is 1300mbar

  • Turn the scroll wheel of the black manual regulator to adjust the pressure on the MFCS™-EZ display according to this value.

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Green & Red LEDs alternatively blink: What do I have to do?

The inlet pressure is too high. You have to reduce the inlet pressure using the manual pressure regulator as advised on the nameplate of MFCS™-EZ.

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The MFCS™-EZ does not turn on: What do I have to do?

Check you have well connected the power supply provided by Fluigent (24VDC). If the condition persists, please contact support@fluigent.com .

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Red led does not turn on: What do I have to do?

It means there is no USB connection. Check the USB cable is well connected between the MFCS™-EZ and the computer. Check the USB ports are not in sleep mode or turned off. Besides, Fluigent strongly advises you to connect the USB cable directly, not with a USB hub.

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Nothing is displayed on the LCD screen: What do I have to do?

Check you are using the power supply provided by Fluigent (24VDC). If the condition persists, please contact support@fluigent.com .

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Abnormal pressure drops/variations when using the MFCS™-EZ i.e Inlet pressure is not stable: What do I have to do?

Check your local pressure network or your pump. The pressure source may not be stable enough. Also check that you have well connected the pressure line.

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Pressure Accessories

How to connect my air dryer?

Plug the pneumatic tubing provided by Fluigent. Be careful, the air flow direction of the air dryer is indicated with an arrow.

air dryer picture from fluigent

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How to purge my air dryer?

In order to clean out the air drier (water coming from condensation), you have to push on the white part of the air drier as on the picture below:

air dryer FLPG

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How to connect my manual pressure regulator?

Plug the pneumatic tubing provided by Fluigent. Be careful, the air flow direction of the manual regulator is indicated with an arrow below it.

manual pressure regulator

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How to set the right inlet pressure with my manual regulator?

Turn the rotating button taking into account that the ‘+’ sense (clockwise) will increase the pressure and turning towards the ‘-‘ sign (anticlockwise) will reduce the pressure.

 

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How to connect my particle filter?

The “pressure in” side of the particle filter is indicated with a little arrow on the filter’s bottom side. This filter must be used when the pressurized air contains dirty particles likely to damage the MFCS™-EZ or MFCS™-EX or the Flow EZ™.

particle filter fluigent

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What type of particle is the particle filter is for?

The Particle filter will allow particles thiner than 0.01µm to go through and will stop particles bigger than 0.01µm to go into your MFCS™-EZ or MFCS™-EX or Flow EZ™.

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Reservoirs: Fluiwell-4C, 1C-15, 1C-50, P-CAP and Custom caps

What is the maximum pressure I can use with my reservoirs?

All reservoirs, except  the custom caps, can handle pressurization under 7bar.

Please be careful with the custom caps. For now, there is no bottle compatible with the custom caps having a pressure resistance equal to 7bar. Fluigent strongly advises you to use customs caps with pressure below 2bar only. If you still have questions, please contact Fluigent support at support@fluigent.com.

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Can I autoclave my reservoir?

All your reservoirs are autoclavable.

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What are the materials of my reservoir?

All our Fluiwells are made of Delrin®, our P-CAP are made of anodized aluminum and our custom caps are made of PTFE.

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I cannot reach the order pressure with my reservoir. What can I do?

Check you have not a pneumatic leakage due to a badly screwed fitting.

Check the O-ring is well positioned on the Fluiwell.

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