Looking for an SBS compatible, conical cold block for PCR, options?

Hello. Our lab would really love to do PCR on one of our Preps, however we cannot find a solid solution for keeping our mastermix cold (taq/non-specific binding worries). Are there any large conical cold blocks that are sbs/PREP compatible that anyone can recommend? Would be more than happy to hear opinions.

Small issue but can you change the title to be something more specific to your question? Half the topics here are people looking for solutions lol

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@Michael_Vuke can probably help here

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Not sure what you mean by conical. Do you want to put 50mL conicals on the deck? Inheco’s CPAC is capable to 4°C, then you can find any number of SLAS compatible aluminum blocks to set on that. You could do 50mL conicals, 15mL conicals, Eppendorf tubes, PCR plates or even a reservoir (but I don’t imagine you’d want to fill a SLAS reservoir with mastermix).

Yeah but on the Prep you may not be able to integrate a CPAC. Hamilton also controls what labware you can use on the system and anything custom has to be run through them so they can create a file for it.

Edit: I believe 50mL tubes are allowed and so are 15mL but not sure about cold blocks tbh.

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For now it’s passive cooling on the deck of the PREP–not active. We can do custom definitions (free of charge!) for labware that isn’t already defined, but the challenge for doing it in a 50mL tube cold block would be that it would have to sit below the deck.

That is concerning to me, as that gives a lot of literal wiggle room, so my guess is we would not do that. Otherwise it could slide around under the deck, moving the positioning of the 50mL tubes.

Depending on how temperature sensitive things are, one customer I know takes ice packs and puts them under the deck of the PREP. It’s not the same as direct contact, but it does help keep it cooler for longer.

It’s certainly not an officially tested or guaranteed technique, but if it’s a sealed ice pack, there’s not any concern around you doing it and it might help.

Does it have to be a conical tube?

If not, there are some SBS reservoirs that might be worth looking into. You’d need to be careful of the Z-height clearance, but there could be a cold block that the reservoir could sit on top of?

Have not used any of their products personally, but recently came across MĂ©Cour Thermal Blocks that seem to be a decent solution.

I’m not sure if there’s a video, but at the New England LRIG meeting that just happened a bit ago, there was a presenter talking about creative/custom solutions with a 3d-printer in her lab. One of the solutions was a really simple and brilliant solution where she literally just printed an ice tray with support for (in this case) a 100mL standard Tecan trough. Simple and to the point, gets the job done, fits standard ANSI/SLAS nests, probably $0.15 worth of plastic. Shoot a message to Rachel, maybe she can share the .stl or a newer iteration.

Other than that, there’s always aluminum cold-blocks if you don’t mind aliquoting into several source tubes. The more volume to store, the less cold material available to shield and maintain temp, so care with throughput and batching to ensure your reagents stay cold.

Found a link to the presentations. Rachel McCrory was the presenter.


That was an awesome presentation

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The other presentation wasn’t terrible either!

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The second presentation looks like a snoozefest!


Tecan NGS Systems use POGOs POGO® - 24 Position Aluminum Tube Rack Alpaqua
As they can be kept in a fridge and placed on deck for just in time runs to keep master mixes cool for longer. They are sprung so you can aspirate the very last drop of master mix if you set retracting post aspirate to be very slow. I think they come in different tube sizes might have to dig into the Alpaqua site. They are well engineered adaptors so expect the price to reflect that. They also have great magnetic base adapter for bead prep work, which I have had issues with other brands before so always default to Alpaqua adapters.


+1 for anything Alpaqua. Great products.

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Thank you all for your advice. I think we’re coming to the realization that we just need to buy a couple Starlet’s to match our Star. Maybe use the PREP for RT-PCR… Idk.

Just to reiterate for future readers with this same sort of question:

the PREP does not do third party device integrations, so if you’re looking at an active cooling option, it would need to be on the Hamilton has released.

We DO work with third-party labware on the PREP all day, every day. That includes the ability to work with passive cooling blocks (theoretically something like an IsoFreeze, Pogo, CoolRack, etc.). The requirement would be that the cooling block be SBS footprint.

There are some nuances that would be worth talking to us about before you purchase a cooling block, so shoot me a DM here or reach out to product support on the Hamilton website.

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Honestly, Michael, I was not happy with the support for third party labware for the Prep. I jumped through all the hoops only to be (between the lines) told I was an idiot. There is still no supported good solution for skirtless non-rigid PCR plates even though I had one that I inquired about.

Not meaning to knock on the Prep, great product, but the support I experienced was less than stellar.

Hey Florian,
Sorry for the delay–was at a conference when this came in.

That’s not the experience we are shooting for; I’ll shoot you a DM to talk on the side. Thanks for sharing.

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