Is this large lab centrifuge capable of spinning? How can I check without a rotor attachment?
June 9, 2011 11:04 AM Subscribe
Is there any way to find out if the "spin functionality" of a large laboratory centrifuge is operational when said centrifuge was purchased secondhand and did not come with any rotor attachments?
posted by aecorwin to technology (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a hardware tech at a smallish biotech lab that often buys equipment "as-is" via auction, etc. Recently we got what seemed to be an excellent deal on a very large centrifuge (Sorvall RC-5B), the catch of course being that it's only REALLY going to turn out to be an excellent deal if it we can establish that it actually works (and fix it if it doesn't). And right now my main concern is that I can't tell if the unit is capable of spinning (which, you know, is sort of important for a centrifuge).
Anyhow, getting to my actual question: the centrifuge (being secondhand and all) did not come with a rotor*. If we are dealing (as I believe we are) with a centrifuge that has an automatic imbalance detection function, is it possible that the thing simply will not spin, period, unless there is a rotor in place? As in, might it be looking not just for "balance" but weight/pressure?
(I have recommended that we try to borrow or rent a rotor from a local supply house and this option is being considered, but I figured I would just try and get a bit of a sanity check in the meantime.
Oh, and I have the product manual but it doesn't specifically say anything along the lines of "the centrifuge post will not spin unless a rotor is installed". It just assumes you have a rotor and says "install the rotor", etc. Which is a reasonable thing for a manual to say, but doesn't help w/ my troubleshooting.
And while I suppose I could try calling tech support, something tells me this is one of those questions where they're not even going to believe I am in fact asking what I seem to be asking because it's so "obvious", meaning I still won't get an answer.)
* The rotor of a centrifuge is NOT to be confused with, say, the motor. I am absolutely certain this centrifuge has a motor. When you look into the chamber what you see is a shaft sticking up in the middle. The rotor is the thing that attaches to the shaft that holds the test tubes, etc. What I want to check is that the motor shaft is capable of spinning, given that the rev/minute needle currently doesn't move even when the device obviously has power, is on, etc. For most devices this is pretty trivial, however, given the large size and power of this unit I don't want to kludge my way into Serious Safety Risk town.