Cheap Thermocycler

Jon Nakamoto jnakamot at
Sat Dec 3 16:22:46 EST 1994

Dear Mark,

If money is more an issue than time, have you considered a homemade
device? Three water baths and an insulated ice bucket plus a
programmable robot arm work (don't laugh, I've seen a couple used -- if
you can track down Steve Ponder, MD at U Tex-Galveston in the Pediatric
Endocrinology division, I recall that he built one controlled by an old
microcomputer running BASIC and even wrote it up (unfortunately,
whatever it was in wasn't indexed by MEDLINE). This way you can get
super-rapid ramp rates and do any size tubes or even plates. You'll
need those tiny plastic balls to float on the surface of your
denaturing temp bath to limit evaporation but allow the rack and tubes
to enter the water. 

On the other hand, there are some pretty cheap simple cyclers out there
now (low to mid 2000's). I'd beware of reconditioned machines (not only
older, but often tend to use more moving parts). Have you ever had your
cycler break down right before an abstract or grant deadline? Ouch. 

Best of luck,

Jon Nakamoto, MD
Clinical Instructor of Pediatrics/Endocrinology, UCLA
jnakamot at

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