HELP: Which Thermanl Cycler to Buy?

John Watson ajwatson at
Mon May 23 13:15:56 EST 1994

In article <2rj02n$qa3 at lace.Colorado.EDU>, tnickles at beagle.Colorado.EDU
(Tim Nickles) wrote:
> Hi Folks.  OUr lab is in the market for a thermal cycler, the one I
> have looked at is an Ericomp, dual block cycler.  This machine can
> take two combo blocks that hold 60 0.5 ml and 45 0.2 ml tubes each with
> the controller able to cycler the blocks independently (like having 2
> machines).  There is also a heated lid option that supposedly allows
> one to forego the use of mineral oil or other vapor barrier.
> Does anybody out there have any other suggestions for machines to look
> at?  Does anybody have experience with Ericomp?  Are they good? Reliable?
> Does anybody have experience with the heated lid system?  Does it really
> work? 

Have used Ericomp cyclers for years.  They are cheap and reliable and easy
to program.  Only drawback is the need for placement near a sink/water
line.  We also have a Perkin Elmer 470 (?) and an a newer MJ Research
96-well machine.  We like them all.  The Perkin Elmer (an older model,
maybe the newer ones are better) is the least user friendly.  The only
machine with a heated lid that works that I've used is the Perkin Elmer
9600.  All the others (Ericomp, MJ, Biometra, and Hybaid) are simply not
effective.  Some tubes amplify fine (usually those in the center of the
block) while others amplify much worse or not at all.  Unless you really
want to avoid the use of oil overlays, skip the heated lids.  In many cases
you can add them later, if you want.

John Watson
Caltech Division of Biology, 147-75
Pasadena, CA 91125
ajwatson at

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