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
- Product Sheet
- Quick Start Guides:
- PCS2 Specification Sheet
- PCS3 Specification Sheet
- Traceability Document
- Return Shipping Instructions
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 Pipette Calibration System
- How often do I need to perform a PCS Instrument Calibration?
- Do I need to purchase spare parts for the PCS, e.g. lamp?
- 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?
- Why are there barcodes on the PCS consumables?
- 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?
- Do I need a computer in the same room as the PCS to use the Pipette Tracker software?
- Does Artel Pipette Tracker 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 at least 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), and whenever the PCS is been moved to another location. More frequent calibration intervals might be desirable based on your labs SOP and risk assessment.
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.
How often should I be calibrating my pipettes?
The pipette calibration interval depends upon the risk tolerance of the lab and includes considerations like the degree of confidence required in your results, the frequency 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, devise operator assessment plans in the PCS Software, and 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 and ISO 8655) 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. Please contact your account representative at 888-406-3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org to determine your reagent requirements.
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 be stable for at least 9 months if stored unopened in a dark location of 18 °C- 28 °C.
My reagents were delivered frozen. Can I still use them?
Yes. Bring the reagents to room temperature (18 ºC to 28 ºC) and invert them several times.
Why are there barcodes on the PCS consumables?
Effective July 2016, all Artel PCS consumables (Blank Solution Vials, Sample Solutions, Instrument Calibrator Vials) will have barcodes on their labels. These barcodes are only for use with the new PCS Software, and not with Artel Pipette Tracker. The PCS consumables continue to be fully compatible with all PCS instruments and Artel Pipette Tracker software can be used in the same way as they have been in the past.
My PCS2 or PCS3 is unable to communicate with Artel Pipette Tracker Software.
Ensure the PCS is set to “computer link mode”. Check the PCS COM port settings on the computer (Control Panel|Device Manager). Ensure that Artel 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.
My PCS2 or PCS3 is unable to communicate with PCS Software.
Ensure the PCS2/PCS3 is set to “computer link mode”. Check the PCS2/PCS3 COM port settings on the computer (Control Panel|Device Manager). Ensure that an Instrument Type of Artel PCS2/PCS3 is used when configuring the instrument in PCS Software and that the COM Port setting is set to the port that the PCS2/PCS3 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.
My PCS is unable to communicate with PCS Software.
Check the PCS COM port settings on the computer (Control Panel|Device Manager). Ensure that an Instrument Type of Artel PCS is used when configuring the instrument in PCS Software and that the COM Port setting is set to the port found in Device Manager. If you need additional assistance, please contact Artel Technical Support.
Do I need to have Windows Administrative privileges to use Artel Pipette Tracker software?
You will need to have Windows Administrator privileges to install and register the software.
For daily use of the program:
- Windows 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 in Artel Pipette Tracker software? 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.
Do I need a computer in the same room as the PCS2 /PCS3 to use Artel Pipette Tracker software?
Yes. The program is tightly integrated with the PCS instrument and it needs to communicate with the instrument.
Does the Artel Pipette Tracker 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 the software 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.