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avatar: smcmanigle
smcmanigle
4 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 16th, 2014

I have a Beckman Coulter Avanti J26XPI that is suddenly giving me an F4 FRS error at 3050 RPM.

I've cleaned the lid/seal and applied silicone vacuum grease to the seal, but this didn't work. We also did a 911 reset as well as a 473 reset. We even unplugged the machine for an hour.

Finally, I ran vacuum only for 4 hours to purge moisture. However, this failed as well.

I've never had to call for repair on either my J6 or this machine and don't want to start.

Any ideas?

avatar: dpkleessr
dpkleessr
1036 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 16th, 2014

First, comparing an Avanti J centrifuge to a J6 centrifuge is completely invalid.  For starters, the J6 does not have a vacuum system which is exactly the problem you have with the Avanti J.  Also, the J26XPI has 3 microprocessors running in it and your J6 does not have any.  So, to assume that a complex piece of instrumentation like an Avanti JXPI will never need service is unwise at best.  You have a vacuum system issue, plain and simple.  Finding the leak may not be so simple.  I'm also curious how you ran the vacuum system for 4 hours without the centrifuge running.  The vacuum system is designed to NOT turn on until certain run conditions are met.  Performing a 911 reset also does nothing to deal with the FRS issue.  While cleaning and regreasing the rotor lid gaskets is a good regular maintenance procedure, a dry or even missing gasket will NOT cause an F4 FRS diagnostic issue either.

The source of the leak can be very simple or in all likelihood, it will require service.  How long have you had the centrifuge?  What rotor are you trying to run?  Have any of the service updates and modifications been performed since you have had the centrifuge in your possession?  Can you actually hear the vacuum system turn on at some point during the run after the windage and inertia chaecks are run on the rotor?

Get back to me after you answer my questions and we will go from there.

Don

avatar: smcmanigle
smcmanigle
4 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 17th, 2014

Don, I am by no means comparing the two machines other than to say, I’ve have pretty good luck with them in terms of breakdowns. The J6 is typically a belt, which I keep on hand.

As for running vacuum only, that was recommended by BC and all that has to be done is set the speed to zero before the run.

I didn’t say it would never need service; I’m just trying to avoid it. I take good care of these machines and as I said, have had little in the way of problems.

According to the manual, a bad seal on the gasket will cause this issue. Maybe you are more educated with this machine, obviously more than I am, but I did follow manufacturer recommendations.

This morning I pondered a possible leak and contemplated taking the front off to examine the hoses. Other than a connection point, I don’t see how a leak could happen, but again, you seem to know your stuff.

I’ve had this centrifuge for about 7 years and run it intermittently. In other words, it hasn’t seen heavy use. No updates have been done. I can hear the vacuum kick on. I’m running an 8.1 rotor, which has been in the machine for quite a long time.

It looks as though I may be opening the centrifuge to check for leaks, but I’ll wait until you advise.

Thanks for your time on this matter.

avatar: dpkleessr
dpkleessr
1036 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 17th, 2014

I apologize for insinuating anything but your email was a little misleading in regards to your wants or desires about getting service involved. By the way, I was a Beckman Coulter service engineer for over 32 years so I do have more than a little experience on the Ananti centrifuges.

Anyway, from your email, it sounds as if you cleaned and greased the large chamber o'ring. If this is the case then the first thing you need to do is recle3an the o'ring to remove all of the vacuum grease because the chamber o'ring is meant to be clean and dry with NO vacuum grease. Since you are running a JLA8.1 rotor then there is no vacuum grease involved with that rotor.

Has the rotor been stored in the centrifuge for all of it's life? If so, then you probably have a two fold problem. First, the rubber drive mounts have probably collapsed somewhat. The drive mounts were very problematic with this centrifuge series until about 4 years ago when a new rubber compound was formulated. The new mounts are red in color so any black mounts will need to be replaced. In addition, if the mounts have collapsed, then the chamber boot that the drive spindle sticks through may have developed a leak. Without eyes on the centrifuge I can only make best guesses as to what I would be looking at if I was called in to fix the problem. The other issue with your centrifuge is that it has an oil type vacuum pump. If it never has been serviced then there it is probably a good time to get it serviced. Moisture accumulates in the oil and degrades the performance of the oil itself. Since it sounds as if you have never had the centrifuge serviced, then you may also have cracks in your main vacuum hose.

What it comes down to is that you really should call Beckman Coulter service for these repairs. Some third party service groups do not have the newer drive mounts and may just install some of the older mounts which have actually failed in less than 6 months time. If you do call someone else for service and they try to install black mounts then stop them because they will fail again. Finally, do not store your JLA8.1 rotor inside of the centrifuge. The constant loading on the mounts will cause them to deteriorate more rapidly, if if you get the new mounts installed.

Get aback to me when you can and I will help as much as I can while sitting at my desk.

Don

avatar: dpkleessr
dpkleessr
1036 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 17th, 2014

One other thing, you need to check UNDERNEATH the chamber O'ring for any debris that may accumulated over time. Carefully lift the lip of the O'Ring up from inside of the chamber to examine it. You can take a small bladed flat screwdriver and carefully go around underneath the gasket but be VERY CAREFUL to not cut into the gasket. Replacing a chamber gasket is a pain and takes a lot of time to do it right.

Don

avatar: smcmanigle
smcmanigle
4 posts
Replied to dpkleessr's post on September 17th, 2014

Don, The rotor did not come with the centrifuge. We run two rotors. The 8.1 and JCF-Z. However, when the centrifuge is not running the 8.1 does sit in it, so as you said, it's probably not been good for it over the long run.

The continuous flow ports are all plugged and I made sure those plugs weren't loose. Also, already removed the grease yesterday.

I probably should call for service. I've just got a quote from a secondary source for a serice contract, but I didn't feel comfortable with them. I will call Beckman and get them in here.

By the way, no offense at anything you said. Just clarifying things.

I'll let you know how it goes and how close you were to what needed done. I suspect you are right on target with everything.

Thanks!

--Scott

avatar: dpkleessr
dpkleessr
1036 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on September 17th, 2014

Scott,  Believe me, I no longer have any vested interest in Beckman.  I retired after 32+ years because after Danaher bought the company, everything changed and not necessarily for the better as far as service is concerned.  The engineers, however, still will do what's correct and right for the customer.

One thing about the CF plugs, there you can add some vacuum grease around each plub before you reinsert them.  That has fixed problems for me in the past.  The other issue, and hopefully not the cause, may be with the attachment points where the CF plate attached to the inside of the chamber.  Those tie down points sometimes leaked so before you call, push some vacuum grease into the threads and smear some around the outside of the area around the fittings and try your run.  This, too, has been a quick fix for me in the past.  If it does fix your problem and you want service to replace the attachment points, then make sure that you tell the engineer BEFORE he comes in because you need special tools to replace them and not every engineer has the tools nor do they necessarily even know about the problems.  The group I worked with was very much up to date on taking care of those kind of problems but we were sometimes ahead of the curve relative to unusual problems.

You can also have issues where the vacuum cylinder actaully sinks down into the supporting foam which can cause vacuum issues.  There is a shim kit available to slightly lift up the chamber gasket in order to make contact with the chamber door.  Again, lots of possibilities as to the root cause of the vacuum problem.  Good luck.

Don

avatar: smcmanigle
smcmanigle
4 posts
Replied to dpkleessr's post on August 10th, 2018

Don,

I know it's been a while since I spoke to you and I said I'd tell you how things transpired. i'm not one to be tardy, but this one got by me.

That said, I ended up getting a service contract. As usual, the quote for repair far exceeded the cost of the contract. No suprprise there, as they push their service contracts (as you know).

They replaced the vacuum pump, which I thought was fine. Then they replaced the master board. Sorry, don't remember the exact name of the board and finally, the mounts were collapsed. I did see that personally.

While I know the routine and realize they are very overpriced, what got me is, the tech took everything he removed with him. As smart as I seem to think i am, I failed to notice this until he was gone. I am the lab manager and am constantly running, going to meetings, putting out fires, etc..I left my right hand man to finish up with him, as I had a meeting. Of course, when I got back, he was gone, as were my parts. I immedaitely emailed everyone involved and made a stink about it. He had no right to take these parts. There was no trade in deal on anything, so my company owned those parts, whether they were trash, or not.

Resolution: None! After several back and forths, I ended up getting nothing back. I suspect I was right about the vacuum pump, that he replaced a perfectly good pump. I'm not going to accuse BC of anything underhanded, but don't tell me these tech's don't know when a pump is spent.

Bottom line: If I need a contractor to come in and replace parts on any equipment, unless I specifically tell them to take the relaced parts, they are to be left on site. Since this happened, I trust BC less than I did before. There was one tech who worked on other centrifuges we had at the company and he was a great guy. I watch people, what they do and how they react. He would go out of his way to tell me I ddin't need "this expensive part", or "a big tear down". He was gone and this was a new tech.

We also have a guy who comes for our analyzers, whom is a very honest tech. Other than that, I find it hard to trust anyone. I'm a boomer, as I'm sure you are. So we both remember when a man shook your hand, it was his bond and held more weight than any signed document. I can still remember making verbal agreements with vendors and having relationships with local vendors who would go out of their way to service you at a moments notice. If they needed to borrow something from me, they just asked and if I had it, they were welcome to it. If they needed my recommedation, I was glad to give it. Now, it's all about signing and locking in. This I notice is most prevelant with Nazi companies like GE, who would cast off a long time customer of a company they bought, just for not following their twisted proceedure.

Anyway, I appreciate all your support. I treat every new event, or corrispondance as a learing experience. I've learned some good things from you and some bad things from BC.

Thanks,

--Scott

avatar: dpkleessr
dpkleessr
1036 posts
Replied to smcmanigle's post on August 11th, 2018

Scott, The Beckman Coulter that I worked for and knew started changing when Danaher bought them outright.  Everything literally changed both inside as to how the employees were treated and outside as to how customers were treated.  Those changes were part of the reasons why I retired at 63 instead of 67.  Those of us that started our careers under Dr. Beckman had a very different outlook on what customer service is all about and it was not all about making money.  Yes, we were a cost center and had to be pretty much self supporting but making some money was a whole lot different than gouging the customer which is what it was becoming when I retired.

You are absolutely correct that those parts removed from your centrifuge ARE your property UNLESS they were service exchange parts.  At least that's how I treated them but who knows today.  Did you contact the engineer's manager about the issue?  I worked on the Avanti J's from the time they were released until I retired and only replaced 1 vacuum pump but only because the chamber got flooded as did the vacuum pump and then it sat until I could get access to the lab.  Other than that those pumps were just a solid piece of hardware.

Service agreements also got ridiculously priced and that is part of the reason I help out on this site with people around the world, except certain war zones.  I will help where I can when I can so if you need help with Beckman centrifuges, spectrophotometers, or scintillation counters then ask away.

Don