How to Properly Shut Down an Agilent GC-MS

A GC-MS is usually designed to be left on and ready for use at any time. However, there are occasions where the GC-MS may have to be shut down for one reason or the other. In parts of Africa where power outages are common, the GCMS is typically shut down after the day’s work and sometimes left shut down for several days or weeks until it is required again.

So, what is the right process for shutting down and storing an Agilent GCMS for a few hours or for weeks? The steps to be performed are given below ad they provide the following benefits:

  • These steps help to maintain an air and moisture free environment within the MS Analyzer
  • They speed up the process of getting the MS back to full functionality

Just Before Shutdown

STEP 1: Perform an autotune (and air and water check for some models) and print the report.

Shutting Down for a short time – A few minutes to a few hours

STEP 2: Set the Instrument to Vent

STEP 3: When the instrument is ready to vent, power off the GC, MS and the computer

When Ready to restart the instrument; just power on the GC, computer and follow pump down procedure

Shutting Down for a few Days

STEP 2: Set the Instrument to Vent

STEP 3: When the instrument is ready to vent, power off the GC, MS and the computer

STEP 4: Turn off the carrier gas tank

When Ready to restart the instrument; just turn on the carrier gas tank; power on the GC, computer and follow pump down procedure

Shutting Down for a week or two

STEP 2: Set the Instrument to Vent

STEP 3: When the instrument is ready to vent, power off the GC, MS and the computer

STEP 4: Loosen the MS column nut and remove the column from the MS transfer line

STEP 5: Instal a blank column nut (column nut with no-hole ferrule) on to the transfer line and tighten

STEP 6: Press the Analyzer door shut and power on the MS for about 1 minute

STEP 7: Power off the MS after about 1 minute

STEP 8: Loosely tighten the Analyzer set screws

STEP 9: Turn off the carrier gas tank

When ready to restart, turn the carrier gas tank, power on the GC and computer, loosen completely the analyser set screws, open the MS vent valve, remove the blank column nut from the transfer line, reinstall the column into the transfer line; and follow MS pump down procedure.

Shutting down for an indefinite length of time

STEP 2: Set the Instrument to Vent

STEP 3: When the instrument is ready to vent, power off the GC, MS and the computer

STEP 4: Loosen the MS column nut and remove the column from the MS transfer line

STEP 5: Instal a blank column nut (column nut with no-hole ferrule) on to the transfer line and tighten

STEP 6: Remove the column from the GC inlet; plug both ends of the column and store appropriately

STEP 7: Press the Analyzer door shut and power on the MS for about 1 minute

STEP 8: Power off the MS after about 1 minute

STEP 9: Loosely tighten the Analyzer set screws

STEP 10: Turn off the carrier gas tank

STEP 11: Instal a column nut and blank ferrule on to the GC inlet

The above Steps will help you shut down your GCMS properly and help to preserve the critical components in the MS. Do not store a GCMS system fully vented as the electron multiplier will degrade over time if exposed to air. The electron multiplier is a consumable part and is usually not covered by warranty or hardware service contract.

Reference:

Agilent Technologies:  GCMS Steps to Shut Down, March 2020

Posted by Muyiwa Adebola

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