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Interface pump oil disappearing

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DianaShinko

Participant

Posts: 2

Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 12:50 am

Post Thu May 16, 2019 2:01 am

Interface pump oil disappearing

Dear all,

We recently had an issue with the interface pump oil whereby it almost completely disappeared (within 2 weeks) and I was wondering if anyone had an explanation of why this can happen.

Briefly, I replaced the interface pump oil as usual and we ran some samples over the next 2 weeks. I checked the oil after that and it was fine. About a week later, we started seeing low Tb counts and low argon dimer signals and over the next few days the tuning results did not improve even after we tried cleaning everything, replacing lines/nebuliser, and a whole list of other troubleshooting. Luckily our Helios was scheduled for a preventative maintenance so when the engineer arrived, he told us that one of the reasons we're seeing a low argon dimer signal could be due to the interface pump oil. When he checked it, we saw that the oil was running out, it was almost empty! The engineer said it could be due to running samples with a lot of debris but that doesn’t quite explain why the oil would disappear? Has anyone seen this happen before or know why it can occur?

Thank you!

Diana
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mleipold

Guru

Posts: 2086

Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:30 pm

Location: Stanford HIMC, CA, USA

Post Thu May 16, 2019 2:56 pm

Re: Interface pump oil disappearing

Hi Diana,

In most cases, pump oil disappears due to a leak. This could be that you didn't tighten one of the plugs sufficiently, or it could be because of an o-ring cracking. Do you see any evidence of oil accumulation in the tray under the interface pump, or anywhere else inside (or underneath...) the machine?

There have been a couple other instances where the interface pump oil got sucked up into the interface area, which created a big mess. Presumably, if this had happened, your engineer would have noticed. And, from what my engineer tells me, all the instruments should have been retrofitted with a filter that prevents this from happening (I know both of my instruments have been retrofitted).


If the oil is too low, the pump doesn't work properly, and you don't actually achieve the vacuum levels you're supposed to. In the case of the interface pump, insufficient vacuum (closer to atmospheric pressure) usually greatly decreases the efficiency of the ions getting into the instrument, even Ar dimer.


Mike
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UCLACyTOF

Participant

Posts: 5

Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:51 pm

Post Thu May 16, 2019 6:03 pm

Re: Interface pump oil disappearing

Hello Diana, ditto what Mike said. We just had our interface pump replaced 2 weeks ago. It was leaking onto the tray underneath. It was contained there but maybe the oil from your pump is leaking from a different place.

Good luck,
Alex
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Chowduck

Contributor

Posts: 24

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:39 pm

Location: Toronto, Canada

Post Thu May 16, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Interface pump oil disappearing

Hello,

We have had vacuum pump leaks as well. Other than oil in the tray that has been suggested, if you can see hanging drop from the pump you can get an idea of where it's leaking from.

A few years ago we experienced rapid burn off and darkening of the interface pump oil. It would go from clear to dark brown in a matter of days and the volume would disappear in about a 1-2 weeks. From the smoke that was visible when opening the fill port, I assume it was burning off. After several pump replacements experiencing the same symptoms it turns out the issue was the transformer powering the pump that had malfunctioned and was sending incorrect voltage to the interface pump causing it to overheat.

Short video of the smoke from the oil burn off and separate incidents of leaks showing hanging drops of oil: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wUdEuWZc6Mj2kTEi8

-Greg Chang
The SickKids - UHN FMCF
Toronto, Canada
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DianaShinko

Participant

Posts: 2

Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 12:50 am

Post Mon May 20, 2019 1:53 am

Re: Interface pump oil disappearing

Thanks Mike, Alex and Greg for your replies.

We see some oil in the tray but I don't think it's enough to explain the massive loss.
Greg, from your description and video, it looks very similar to the problem we're having. There's definitely visible smoke whenever we open the fill port. It also looks like the problem is getting worse, we lost about half of the oil in one day of running. Whether it's leaking or overheating (or possibly both), it definitely looks like it's a massive issue. Thank you for letting me know, I will follow it up with Fluidigm.

Thanks,
Diana

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