Real Shimadzu EZChrom (aka Class VP) bugs and experiences

c_gaylor at c_gaylor at
Mon Jun 14 14:12:32 EST 1999

Real Shimadzu EZChrom (aka Class VP) Bugs and Experiences

....the Shimadzu name is synonymous with bugs and bad experiences

We received the following unsolicited email on 14 May 1999:

To: shimadzu-sux at
From: identity withheld
Subject: EZChrom software OQ violation

I remember using EZ-Chrom with the newly presented Shimadzu PDA [photo
diode array detector] around 1993 for UDL laboratories in Florida. I
don't remember the actual model numbers [probably SPD-M6A or SPD-M10A]
and have lost track with Shimadzu since I haven't purchased any more of
their "products." I consider the term product to be quite generous in
this case!

EZChrom was designed under Windows 3.1 (sic) to be a "time share"
acquisition system. Designing such a system under [Windows] 3.1 tells
you how much they understood about their computer platform. During
acquisition and conversion of analog data, if a lengthy disk access was
being made by another program, EZChrom would miss the signal and a flat
line would occur on the chromatograph [and contour plot] during the
time of the disk access. I experienced this problem while trying to
manually quantitate data [from a previous run] while acquiring [new]

Working under strict FDA guidelines, this totally violated the
operational qualification [OQ] of the software. Shimadzu denied this
problem for 3 months continuously only to claim [that] we were using
the system incorrectly. They later said it was a Windows problem! I am
curious if the problem has been corrected; especially with the
availability of Windows NT and [Windows] 95 versions. Our sales rep was
the only person who seemed to care. (He later became a little
disturbed; was fired by Shimadzu and somehow managed to set the
Shimadzu travel van on fire intentionally - but that's another story!)

I suggest all customers and consumers using any type of data
acquisition software to perform their own operational qualifications
before you purchase the equipment. Make [the] purchase contingent upon
passing your IQ/OQ/PQ specifications; not the manufacturer's. Don't let
the manufacturer of the equipment/software do it for you!

To perform the test properly - especially with multiple instruments
being configured on a single computer - all instruments should be
turned on at the same time and forced to acquire data at their highest
[acquisition] rates. Examine the chromatograms/output of each of the
instruments for signal drops. If the system can't do this, make sure
the manufacturer has told you so before performing the test.

It is a good idea to acquire data on the instrument first with no other
background processes or instruments operating. Compare the signals from
the multi-operation to the signal of the single instrument operation.
Do they look the same? If they don't, you have a problem! Perform the
test with a familiar analyte.


Director of Analytical Services

n.b. To answer the writer's query: "I am curious if the problem has
been corrected; especially with the availability of Windows NT and
[Windows] 95 versions," one only needs to consider the robust
observations that were posted to the sci.chem newsgroup last year and
which we highlighted in Shimadzu HPLC Battles & GC-MS Crashes.

n.b. We will state emphatically that there were similar accounts of
EZChrom OQ problems (like those disclosed at UDL Laboratories) reported
in other labs around the US (and probably around the world) but
Shimadzu in-house product managers were perpetually mum. The field
personnel at Shimadzu were not even served formal notice of this
pervasive chromatography data acquisition problem. What does that tell

n.b. It bears repeating that a Director of Analytical Services at a
major domestic corporation recounted that "Shimadzu denied this problem
for 3 months." And when Shimadzu finally admitted that there was a
problem, then they blamed it on Microsoft Windows! How does that grab
you? Guess who many times Shimadzu customers were stiffed and told to
call Microsoft Corporation instead! (This director has agreed to answer
any specific questions regarding his observations if they are forwarded
to: shimadzu-sux at with "EZChrom software OQ violation" in
the subject line.)

n.b. Terry L. Adams, who coined the term Sleazy-Chrom, witnessed nearly
identical problems (to those reported at UDL Laboratories in Florida)
with a EZChrom/SPD-M6A detector which he sold to A.L. Pharma Labs in
East Baltimore. How pervasive do you think this problem really was? Do
you think the problem was ever totally solved? Would you want this
"rugged and reliable" rubbish in YOUR lab?

n.b. Shimadzu changed the name of their EZChrom software product to
Class VP in 1996. Scientific Software (Pleasanton, CA) writes the
source code for Shimadzu's Class VP (aka Class Crap) software and uses
the EZChrom Elite name exclusively in it's own marketing campaign of
the chromatography software product. (ThermoQuest also uses the data
integration source code from EZChrom and then adds their own instrument
control code.... the resulting product is private-labelled as

Questions: What kind of rugged in-depth testing did this combo software
(EZChrom)/hardware (PDA) product receive before it was released for
sale to the consuming public? Would you be generous enough to call it a
product? How many other so-called Shimadzu products (including Class
VP) have made their way to market complete with software bugs and/or
hardware glitches still intact.... you don't even want to know! Can you
say SHIT-MA-ZOO? Why would you trust anyone from Shimadzu to tell you
the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

       Take Your Productivity to Low Levels With Shimadzu Software
   (Don't bring this unreliable and defective rubbish into your lab!)

          For more information about Shimadzu, call 1-800-LIARS
              or visit:

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