Communication Failures-Elan Series ICP-MS

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ToxLabRat
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Communication Failures-Elan Series ICP-MS

I have been working with Perkin Elmer Elan Series (5000, 6000, 9000 and DRCe) for the last 7 years, and today I encountered a new issue with one of my 6000s and am just wondering if there is anyone out there who has had this happen and/or may have some help to give.  In the middle of a run the instrument lost communication and therefore the plasma shut down as did the roughing pumps.  Typically I can just close out of the PE Sciex software, shut down the PC and turn off all 4 instrument breakers.  Then I will bring it all back up again and communication between the instrument and PC will be restored with no more issues.  I did this and was able to get the communication going, the plasma to light and get the instrument running samples again, but shortly there after there was another system disruption that shut it all down again.  The faults log stated "ICP Generator Not Ready".  So this time I repeated the same procedure, but when I flipped the system breaker, I did not hear the low hum of the power flowing into the instrument as I typically do.  So this made me concerned that the RF Generator had gone out.  Since I had a spare Elan 6000 in better condition that I have been meaning to switch over to, I decided now would be a good time to make the switch.  Once I got the other unit all hooked up in place of the older one I experienced the same thing.  No communication between the PC and Instrument, and no sound of juice flowing into the ICP-MS when the system breaker was flipped on.  All pumps are good with freshly changed oil, all cones, O rings, torch assembly, ect are clean and tight.  Could an issue with the software be causing these problems?  Anyone who has experienced this before, please do let me know how you overcame it.  Below is a summary of the troubleshooting steps that I took today.  Thanks.
closed softwarer--->shut down PC--->shut down all 4 instrument breakers-->replaced cones, torch, injector tube, injector adapter, torch adapter, spray chamber and neb tips with cleaned or new parts --->changed oil in both roughing pumps--->  re-aligned torch box--->optimized and tuned instrument (dual detector cal, autolens cal, ect.)----communication restored--->plasma lit------------>ran properly for about an hour---->plasma and vaccum shut down in the middle of a run---->entered service mode to check on gate status, then opened and closed gate manualy to make sure it was not sticking---->closed out of software, shut down PC and flipped off all 4 breakers again--->brought up PC and software and flipped on all 4 breakers and did not hear the normal humming sound produced when system breaker is on---->was never able to establish communication--->switched out units and did all of the above with the new Mass Spec but using the same PC, pump, autosampler and autosampler controller, chiller, ect.---->was not able to get this unit to prodcue the normal humming sound when system breaker is flipped on either---->communication was never achieved

Dr. Analytical
Dr. Analytical's picture
Sorry I didn't get back to

Sorry I didn't get back to this earlier.  I was hoping someone else might have some ideas.
I am told that there is a listserver where you can post your questions (assuming that you are unable to get help from the manufacturer).
Just send an email message to Mike Cheatham at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%6d%6d%63%68%65%61%74%68%40%53%59%52%2e%45%44%55%22%3e%6d%6d%63%68%65%61%74%68%40%53%59%52%2e%45%44%55%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) with this subject line:

SUBSCRIBE PLASMACHEM_L
 
Let us know how it comes out.
 

ToxLabRat
ToxLabRat's picture
Thanks for the information. 

Thanks for the information.  As a last ditch effort this past Monday I tried unpluging the IEEE cable from the instrument so that there was no communication what so ever between software and ICP-MS.  So the instrument stodd alone, and as soon as I did this, I flipped on all four breakers and everything came on (electronics, pumps, lights, ect.) just as it normaly would.  So with that, I concluded that either the software was to blame or the cable.  Since the cable was the easier thing to replace, I replaced it and since then have had no issues.  I had never seen the software or any component thereof actually interfere with the main breakers on an ICP-MS before, but apparently it does happen on a rare occasion.
Thanks again.

Dr. Analytical
Dr. Analytical's picture
I think this is one of the

I think this is one of the curses of modern instrumentation - the software and hardware are now so integrated that an unanticipated problem can shut everything down.
Cable failure of any kind is rare, unless it is subjected to stress - constant twisting, bending, etc.  Glad you found the problem.  Hope to see you on the forums again.
 

ToxLabRat
ToxLabRat's picture
Yes I would agree.  I have

Yes I would agree.  I have experienced, on several occasions, over the last 8 years, some communication failures (usually due to roughing or backing pump issues) but in all cases simply closing out of the software, shutting down the PC and the instrument and then bringing them all back up solves the problem and communication is restored, but I have to admit, this one was a first for me.  The instrument was just recently moved from one of our other labs to our lab in Raleigh and I would imagine the IEEE cable probably got damaged in the move.
Thanks again and I now that I have found this site, I will definatley be on here often!  It is great!