Your favorite UPS setup for GC-MS?

Discussions about GC-MS, LC-MS, LC-FTIR, and other "coupled" analytical techniques.

8 posts Page 1 of 1
We get a lot of storms and power interruptions in my area. So, there are frequent surges and occasionally power goes off and on repeatedly 15-30 minutes at a time. We had just such an event that ended at 4:45AM this morning. So I had fun coaxing my 5973inert/6890N system back up and running. Last year at the end of May I lost a turbopump because of these repeated on/off surges.

I just talked to Agilent tech support and they tell me there is no official paper for how to protect a GC-MS from power drops and surges. He did note that many customers put a UPS on their MS (but not the GC because they simply draw too much power). He said the most important thing was to be sure the backflow valve on the roughing pump was working to prevent air at room pressure from suddenly flowing into the turbopump outlet.

I have an APC NS1350 UPS running my PC, network switch, a new Edwards RV3 backing pump and my 5973inert MS. Typical power draw is 500VA with periodic short spikes to ~700VA. No backup for the 6890N GC because it pulls too many amps. I also have my Archon and Tekmar 3000 P&T setup on the surge protected but not battery backed part of the UPS. This gives me maybe 10 minutes of backup which is enough for the occasional drop/surge.

When I walked in this morning the system was down and the UPS battery was drained and shut itself off. It all fired back up when I restarted the UPS and was a little wonky about finding the GC on the network.

What sort of backup are the rest of you using to protect your most sensitive equipment?
We have been experimenting with this for about a year now. We use an APC SmartUPS 2200 to run the GC and MS(minus rough pump) and a 1500 UPS to run the Centurion/Evolution combination.

Our building has a backup generator that comes online in about 10 seconds so we don't need it to run very long but it handles that great. Load on the 2200 averages about 35% so not bad on the battery, just spikes near 100% if you fire everything up from cold at the same time. If you turn on the GC and let the inlet warm up while the oven is near ambient then turn on the MS, you don't have any problems.

To run the rough pump we rewired it to plug into the regular 120v outlet, it goes on and off with the main power, but when off only 10 seconds the MS never really notices it. The GC running full out will pull more than the rough pump actually.

The 2200 is a hefty unit but still on 120v input so it can go on the floor under the bench. I think a 5000 rated unit would carry everything, but those usually require a 240v input.

We have one of the large units for the LCMSMS that is 30A/240v but it is the size of a dishwasher, and costs as much as a good used car.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
LALman wrote:

I just talked to Agilent tech support and they tell me there is no official paper for how to protect a GC-MS from power drops and surges.


I've looked into this recently as well, and in fact Agilent has an official paper the recommends not putting a GC on a UPS https://community.agilent.com/technical/gc/m/files/462

On the other hand, this supplier has UPS's marketed specifically for Agilent GC/GCMS systems. I've never used them so I can't endorse their stuff. With the high power requirements of the GC, they're of course very expensive. https://www.backupbatterypower.com/coll ... or-agilent
Please install and use a "UPS" only on the computer system that is used to Control and acquire data from the GC/MS system. That is the critical component that requires power to prevent loss of data and loss of control of the instrument during a brown out, black out or other interruption.

Here is a link to a FREE article (unbiased, not Agilent, no sales of UPS systems) on the topic of UPS systems and analytical instruments.

"Power and Surge Protection for Computers & Analytical Instruments (e.g. Uninterruptible Power Supply AKA UPS)"; https://hplctips.blogspot.com/2011/05/p ... n-for.html
Multidimensional wrote:
Please install and use a "UPS" only on the computer system that is used to Control and acquire data from the GC/MS system. That is the critical component that requires power to prevent loss of data and loss of control of the instrument during a brown out, black out or other interruption.

Here is a link to a FREE article (unbiased, not Agilent, no sales of UPS systems) on the topic of UPS systems and analytical instruments.

"Power and Surge Protection for Computers & Analytical Instruments (e.g. Uninterruptible Power Supply AKA UPS)"; https://hplctips.blogspot.com/2011/05/p ... n-for.html


But if the power is off for more than a few microseconds, the MS and GC will reboot and the connection is lost along with any data for the time remaining in the run. Also once the connection is lost to the software, the software has to be restarted before it will reconnect, at least if using MSDChemstation, Mass Hunter I think may reconnect after some time, but not immediately. If everything isn't on the backup, then some data is going to be lost and the run itself will halt.

The article is geared towards protecting the equipment and not ensuring that you keep producing data through an outage.

Back in 2009 we were without power for 8 days during an ice storm, after that we added a 150KW Generac running on natural gas. Only takes a few days without power to pay back that investment. Smaller labs can get by with a smaller unit that handles just the mission critical equipment if needed, the battery backup for us holds us for the 10-15 seconds required for the generator to come online. It has saved us many hours of lost work/instrument time and has been well worth the investment.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
The key takeaway of the article is that you must have the computer system connected to a pure sine wave power backup system at all times. When the power gets "glitched" for 10 microseconds or ten seconds, all communication will be lost to control the instruments (and that includes data acquisition). If the computer is running on continuous backup power, then it may be able save data. If the computer is not connected to a backup, then the computer may loose ALL run data, instrument control and possible crash or corrupt existing methods and data. This is why the first step in creating a data/method backup plan is to insure that the computer system running the instrument has backup power[/b]. If funding is available (which it may not be for some labs), then of course you want to install a large backup generator system that can power all critical instruments during a power outage or brownout.
    I agree 100% that if maintaining your instruments is given the proper importance they deserve, the cost of having an on-site power generator may be low vs. being without power to maintain (and protect!) them plus the data generated. Many people find this out long after they have suffered extended down times with loss of data due to a system crash from power loss.

    Of course proper data and method backup strategy should always be part of a proper SOP (a separate issue). "Routine Backup of HPLC Data, Methods And Related Data:; Part 3, Overlooked HPLC Chromatography Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's)"; https://hplctips.blogspot.com/2019/02/p ... raphy.html
    I thought it was the MS that needed the pure sine wave, which is the more expensive unit, which we are using (Smart-UPS).

    We had backups on our control computers for quite a while, but needed better protection of productivity so we started testing the backup systems last year. That instrument has not stopped due to a power outage all year so we are looking at expanding it out to all the instruments eventually, just not easy doing the expenditure for all of them all at once. I have also noticed that any quotes for LCMSMS instruments now include a power backup unit for them, which when you are in that price range I imagine they prefer not to be replacing items under warranty due to simple power spikes or brown outs.

    Definitely need data backup, that has saved us many times in the past when losing a hard drive. I have a simple batch file running an XCopy command to backup all recent data that has not been backed up or any that has been altered with Qedit. It is really simple just run it with the slash to set the archive bit, then it will skip over it until something alters the data file so it saves time and wear and tear on the drives.

    I spread the data around across all the instruments on the network, since we don't have a single dedicated backup server. Unless we lose multiple instruments at once we then have backup data to rebuild the lost drive. We also started purchasing all instrument computers with Raid 1 mirrored drives which also helps protect against loss due to a failed drive.
    The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
    "I thought it was the MS that needed the pure sine wave, which is the more expensive unit, which we are using (Smart-UPS)."


    Of course ALL systems should have pure sine-wave backup power. The computer system is the most important, and the one to start with.

    BTW: Be very careful with APC branded UPS systems. They changed the specs on their "Smart-UPS" line several years ago. Used to be if you purchased their "Smart-UPS" line, you were assured of getting their top quality units. Not any more. Now, some of the "SMART-UPS" system uses psudo-sine wave, not pure sine wave output (cheaper system, same name, cost cutting!). Always check the SPEC's for the specific model to be sure.

    And of course NEVER trust the battery charge indicator as a true gauge of if the system will hold a charge when their is a power outage. The LED's are not reliable. They can show full capacity, then when power is removed fall to zero. Test periodically by removing the AC plug from the wall (simulating a power outage) and monitor in actual time how long the system can maintain power to a ~ 25% remaining level. Battery replacement (lead-acid) is usually required every 2-5 years, per module to maintain function.
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