Learn about pipetting best practices, find part numbers for single-channel calibration equipment, and get answers to frequently asked questions about operation and troubleshooting for the PCS.
- SDS Safety Data Sheets
- Quick Start Guides:
- PCS2 Specification Sheet
- PCS3 Specification Sheet
- Traceability Document
- Return Shipping Instructions
- Standard Operating Procedure (CLSI formatted)
Get the Most Out of Your PCS
Artel Lab Reports
- Lab Report 1: How many data points?
- Lab Report 2: Impact of pipetting technique
- Lab Report 3: Pipette use and ergonomics
- Lab Report 4: Defining accuracy and precision
- Lab Report 5: Setting tolerances for pipettes in the laboratory
- Lab Report 6: Calibration frequency for pipettes
- Lab Report 7: Facilitating Assay Transfer
Frequently Asked Questions – PCS Users
- How often do I need to perform a PCS Instrument Calibration?
- Do I need to purchase spare parts for the PCS, e.g. lamp?
- Can I get an electronic copy of a CLSI formatted Standard Operating Procedure?
- How often should I be calibrating my pipettes?
- Who should do the pipette performance testing?
- Where should pipette calibrations be done?
- How many data points should be used in a calibration?
- Should I be deleting data points to make my pipettes pass calibration?
- How much reagent do I need to perform my pipette calibrations?
- What are the definitions of Inaccuracy and Imprecision?
- What is the shelf life of the PCS reagents?
- My reagents were delivered frozen. Can I still use them?
- My PCS is unable to communicate with the software program.
- Do I need to have Windows Administrative privileges to use Pipette Tracker software?
- How do I sort my worklist or inventory? For example, how do I sort the display by owner?
- When would I want to use multiple pipette databases?
- Do I need a computer in the same room as the PCS to use the Pipette Tracker software?
- Can I network my databases?
- Does the software notify the administrator of a user lockout?
- Can Artel Pipette Tracker be used on a Windows 7 operating system?
How often do I need to perform a PCS Instrument Calibration?
We recommend calibrating the PCS every 30 days or prior to calibrating pipettes, whichever is later (e.g. if you calibrate every 6 months, do one prior to calibrating at that time).
Do I need to purchase spare parts for the PCS, e.g. lamp?
Spare parts are not necessary. The PCS optical lamp has a very long life expectancy and usually never needs replacement. Most internal components, e.g. filters, need to be replaced here at Artel by qualified personnel.
Can I get an electronic copy of a CLSI formatted Standard Operating Procedure?
Yes. You may download a copy here.
How often should I be calibrating my pipettes?
The pipette calibration interval depends upon several factors including the degree of confidence required in your results, the amount and type of use a pipette receives, and the accuracy and precision required in specific procedures. In some cases, pipette performance should be verified daily. For more information on this topic, refer to our Lab Report 6.
Who should do the pipette performance testing?
The performance of a manual action pipette, possibly more than any other precision instrument, is dependent on operator technique. Pipette operators should be trained in one standardized method of pipetting technique to ensure data integrity. For more information on this topic, refer to our Lab Report 2 or review our training information.
Where should pipette calibrations be done?
The performance of a pipette is affected by environmental factors including temperature, humidity, and pressure. Finely tuned pipette tolerance limits reflect what is possible using a functional pipette in its working environment. We recommend testing pipette performance in the laboratory in which they are used, or under environmental conditions that are similar to those in your laboratory. For more information on this topic, refer to our Lab Report 5 or visit our Extreme Pipetting Expedition site to see how environmental factors play a role in pipette performance.
How many data points should be used in a calibration?
The number of data points will vary depending upon your laboratory’s needs, and whether you are testing for accuracy only or for accuracy and precision. There are published standards (e.g. ASTM E-1154) that recommend specific numbers of data points to be used; however, there are no mandated number of data points that need to be used. For more information on this topic, please refer to our Lab Report 1.
Should I be deleting data points to make my pipettes pass calibration?
When data points do not fall within an expected tolerance range, they may be pointing to a problem with the pipette that should not be ignored. Data points should only be deleted when there is a good, solid, objective, defensible reason as to why they were outside of tolerance limits (e.g. bubbles, loose tip, etc). At the very least, the pipette should be retested. If it continues to display this behavior, then it should be maintained, repaired or replaced.
How much reagent do I need to perform my pipette calibrations?
In order for us to determine how much reagent you will need for your pipette calibrations, you will need to complete a Pipette Population worksheet. Once completed, fax it to Artel at 1-207-854-0867 and your sales representative will contact you with the reagent information you need.
What are the definitions of Inaccuracy and Imprecision?
Inaccuracy is the deviation of a measurement from a standard value or true quantity. In a group of values, inaccuracy would be the deviation of the mean of the group of values from the standard value. Imprecision is the closeness of two or more measurements to each other, rather than to the standard value. It is measured in terms of standard deviation or coefficient of variation. (It is possible for a group of values to be precise without being accurate and vice versa.) For more information on this topic, refer to our Lab Report 4.
What is the shelf life of the PCS reagents?
All PCS reagents and calibrators will ship with at least 9 months dating.
My reagents were delivered frozen. Can I still use them?
Yes. Bring the reagents to room temperature (18º – 28º C) and invert them several times.
My PCS is unable to communicate with the software program.
Ensure the PCS is set to “computer link mode”. Check the PCS COM port settings on the computer (control panel|device manager). Ensure that Pipette Tracker reflects the COM port that the PCS is connected to (the default COM port is COM1; if you are using a USB adapter, a different COM port has likely been assigned by the computer). If a USB adapter is needed, please contact Artel Technical Support.
If you are a Canadian or international customer, please check the regional settings on your computer. The regional setting needs to be set to English-US. Contact Artel Technical Support for additional assistance.
Do I need to have Windows Administrative privileges to use Pipette Tracker software?
You will need to have Windows Administrator privileges to install and register the software.
For daily use of the program:
- XP and Vista users should have Windows Power User Privileges.
- Windows 7 users should have elevated permissions to the application folder and registry node. See technical bulletins below.
These are Microsoft requirements that are not specific to our software program.
How do I sort my worklist or inventory? For example, how do I sort the display by owner?
The easiest way to sort the worklist and inventory is to click on the column header. The worklist will be sorted alphabetically by the data in the column. Each department can also print out a report with their own inventory on it by creating a report that filters only their pipettes.
When would I want to use multiple pipette databases?
The most appropriate case would be when there are multiple PCS instruments in different locations and you want the data to be managed/reviewed in a central location.
Do I need a computer in the same room as the PCS to use the Pipette Tracker software?
Yes. The program is tightly integrated with the PCS instrument and it needs to communicate with the PCS.
Can I network my databases?*
The software can be installed on a network for viewing data. Install the software on the server and point the pipette, method and audit trail databases to a network location. (The default location is on the C drive). Each local PC installation of the software can then also direct the databases to that same location. In this way, the data can be viewed and shared from multiple locations and the data is automatically backed up.
*For version 3.3, please refer to Pipette Tracker 3.3 users manual, section 3 or contact Technical Support.
Does the software notify the administrator of a user lockout?
It is possible for an email notification to be sent to someone (i.e. administrator) when a lockout occurs. For example, if someone is locked out of APT due to using someone else’s password incorrectly, an email will be sent to the administrator’s email informing of this lockout. They will remain locked out until the administrator unlocks them. This feature is found in Security –> Setup –> Account Lockout and Admin Notification.
Can Artel Pipette Tracker be used on a Windows 7 operating system?
Yes, Artel Pipette Tracker can be used on a Windows 7 operating system, both 32 and 64 bit.
Artel Pipette Tracker v3.3: Artel has formally validated version 3.3 on a Windows 7 32 and 64 bit system. See technical bulletin for Artel Pipette Tracker v3.3 Windows 7 requirements.
Artel Pipette Tracker v3.2: While Artel has not formally tested or validated version 3.2 on a Windows 7 platform, we have confirmed it to be compatible with this operating system. See technical bulletin for Artel Pipette Tracker v3.2 Windows 7 requirements.