On Deck Heater Shaker/Cooler Positions

Hi All! I wanted to reach out to the community see if anyone had strong opinions on the various Heating/Cooling/Shaking on deck integrations that are available.

I have a lab that has been using Thermoshake Classics on a Vantage, but it has sometimes been challenging to adjust the yellow risers to be loose enough to allow good IPG movements, but also tight enough to keep the plate stable when doing touch offs after pippetting. We may have the opportunity to upgrade these units. One option would be to switch to Thermoshake AC units, where we could use the active clamping mechanism.

Does anyone have any experience with the QINSTRUMENTS Devices (especially the Q1) on a Hamilton Vantage platform? This lab works with Matrigel, so I like the ability of it to go down to -20C if necessary. I also like that it doesn’t require controller boxes to operate. How does the cable wiring compare to the big green cables that the Inhecos run with? Any issues with the output heat coming out of the vents on the right?

How well written is the Venus Library for QINSTRUMENTS products?

Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts. The lab is doing mostly cellular drug screening protocols, if that helps. Thanks all!

We have integrated the BioShake Q1 device though I haven’t worked with it personally. See below for the driver commands - seems pretty straightforward.

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I’m using the Q1 (not on a Vantage) and it honestly is impressive.

I’ve used just about every other QInstruments device for years except for the Q1 so I don’t have that long term historical knowledge but so far so good.

It has two cables, one leading to power and another serial cable. You’ll need an adapter for USB-to-Serial.

Writing drivers for this device is simple as well.

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My only issue I’ve ever had with bioshakes is on Tecan; running into errors midway through script can leave the shaker perpetually running the last sent command. Custom error recovery logic can resolve that.

Huge fan of those shakers and they send a pretty nice quality pen along when you buy one.

I believe you can control whether you want integrated devices to stop as well on error commands, most of the time you do not want that unless you’re on a heating step but generally keeping things cool or shaking/mixing is fine for most use cases.

I’ve used Inheco products & Q Instrument products on a variety of platforms,
both work really well
but I’ve always found the issues arise, not from the hardware, but how the robotic integration/software drivers function,
especially feedback & error handling - what happens after an error, plate clamp remains closed, shaking doesn’t turn off, heater remains on & bakes the well contents until someone attends to the error …

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Very good points! Coming from the method development side rather than production or data gen side, I think the benefit was lost on me since that function mostly just got in the way of rerunning tests. Maybe I’m just impatient :person_shrugging:

Also for visibility, I’ve ran into a few folks that didn’t realize that their bioshake had a manual release lever for the edge lock mechanism! Be sure to note that in the installation so its comfortable and natural to activate in recovery situations.


I think you have to setup that error ability in Driver Framework which is generally totally underutilized (and clunky) but it can help with recovery.

Thanks all for the feedback. The Q Instruments seems better in most ways, so I wanted to be sure I am not missing anything crazy here. I’m comfortable writing custom error handling to account for various issues as they arise. Happy to hear the positive feedback overall.

Has anyone loaded up many(>6) of the Q1s on their deck? I inherited a system that has 10(!) Thermoshake classics (2 Inheco controller boxes). I’m not sure that we really need these many positions, but I guess that could be a limitation as well.

Not the Q1’s but I’ve had as many as 12 QInstrument devices on a deck (not Hamilton).

You’ll want something akin to a large USB-to-Serial Converter (edgeport, moxa, etc…) to manage connectivity and they usually come with plug and play software you can assign COM ports.


Also should add that I know that Inheco was prioritizing moving toward a more plug & play model so I would double check with them too.

@luisvillaautomata Agreed, they did mention that when I talked to them at SLAS. I’ll have to see if their timeline for that matches what I am going to need. I wonder if they are working on lowering their minimum set temperatures as well.

Thanks you for the suggestions and feedback, I appreciate it!

If you approach your conversation with a “I need to buy 10 of these” A LOT of vendors (and I mean A LOT) will perk up in their chairs and maybe review their timelines haha. Heck they may even loop you into their Early Access or Beta access!

I would highly recommend the Qinsturments devices. I have used them for a long time but not on Hamiltons but as standalone and integrated on Tecan platforms. The drive is simple but effective. The Q1 and 3000 elm have been reliable devices with a good selection of labware adapter. They use to supply a nice pen with every device so I gather a large collection over the years :smiley:

My only issues have been with the odd port comms issues with using RS232 adapter to USB but this was mainly windows updates to USB ports or faulty adapter that have caused drop outs in comms.

Teaching for plate grips can be challenging for some labware with lids but this can be solve quickly by switch to more rigid labware and lids or increase grip tolerance. The sauce of the issue is the bioshake labware grips can bend the labware on gripping and the offset the pickup position on release.

The most I have had on a Tecan deck was eight across two carriers. Work fine once you assigned clear naming conventions for each device to make programming more error free.

I would recommend activating the open labware grip automatically after a shake as remembering to program this for more than four device can be a hassle.

I do not see a limit to the number of devices, other than how many ports you have on your PC. I have not experienced of using a RS232/USB hub but imagine you may get some slower or interfering comms if you don’t set this up well.