Waters Alliance 2695 UHPLC Upgrade (8.500 psi)

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Hello members and guests,

I like to introduce our new Alliance UHPLC Upgrade. With this upgrade installed, you can use UHPLC columns down to 1.7µm particles with your Alliance system. We belief that this upgrade is of great value for Alliance users.

About us: We are a small company consist of 4 people, one ex Agilent and Waters engineer, one software developer and one electronics engineer. We have deep knowledge in instrument development. Please feel free to visit our website. We appreciate all comments.


Very interesting. Anything in the works for a similar Agilent 1100 upgrade? Or is the hardware design not as robust as the Alliance platform?
The Alliance 269X is a perfect platform. If you compare the plunger drive with the one from the Acquity, it´s almost the same. The stepper motor that drives the spindle is identical and can be interchanged. All seals can be designed to resist u-high pressure. With the reduction of the dwell volume below 400µl, it can compete with the Acquity H-Class.

The 1100 pumps are not as robust as the one used in the Alliance. I guess 8500psi would be possible, but you have to consider the other components like the injector valve. The Rheodyne valve in the G1313A ALS is rated to 5500 psi.

Would you be satisfied with an 1100 Upgrade to 8500psi?

I would, but I'd have to weight the cost/benefits of the upgrade with the need (cost) to upgrade my autosampler to the 600-bar autosampler. However, I could just as easily purchase an OEM pump that will make 600-bar without going through a retrofit process. If I had an old Alliance system sitting around, I think I would be very interested in purchasing the upgrade.

I just compared the part numbers from the 1200SL with the 1100. Identical are the plunger, seals, intake valve, damper and pump drive. Different are the inlet and outlet checkvalves, capillaries. The differences between the pumps are very little. Maybe I can turn a 1100 bin pump into a 1200SL by upgrading the firmware. I´ll try it today.

Any luck?

The Firmware G1312B for the 1200SL can´t be loaded on a G1312A 1100 bin pump. First the upgrade software will show only one dlb file to choose. I edited the header name of the B file with a hex editor and then it is recognized. The upgrade process starts and when it is almost complete it gives an verification error that the firmware can´t be transfered to the main system. If I edit one byte of the G1312A dlb file, it also didn´t work. The module will do a crc checksum test and the result didn´t match. Agilent use a makedlb.exe to create the firmware from the source data. There are some other parameters that I noticed, the DPS_RAMSIZE is set to 256 for 1100 modules and 1024 for 1200 modules. I guess that the 1200 mainboard might have a new revision which require this firmware.

To run higher pressures it might work by using a small analog circuit which divide you output voltage of the pressure transducer. This could be easiely done, because the 1100 has only one transducer for the system pressure. This is not as complicated as in the Alliance where the transducer influence the pump algorithm. I´ll think about it.

We have made some progress with the 1100 Upgrade. Our electronics engineer found a way to enable higher pressures. This requires a small pcb. The upgrade prototype will have a 5 position switch where you can select the shutoff pressure (400,500,600,700,800 bar). This switch is located outside the module and can be actuated during operation. We have to do further test, but from the results now, 600 bar are easy to achieve. We also found a way to improve the rheodyne injector valve to work at higher pressures. With minor changes (the customer can do it by himself) you can upgrade your 1100/1200 bin or quat system to SL and maybe more.

Well, I know I'll stay tuned for the updates.
Meanwhile, the concept is written on paper and we are in a phase to build the first prototype. We investigated that the pressure/output curve of the 1100 pressure transducer start to become non linear at a pressure of 470Bar. For that reason an analog curcuit would not be the best choice. Now we decided to use a µController for this project. The Board will have a RS232 port and you can change parameters with a little program from a PC.

For the user the board is true plug and play. There is no switch or other cables. Most of the time to install the board is needed to separate the pump from the system (disconnect all tubings). Then the installation can be done in 5 minutes.

The pump will work as usual up to a pressure of 350Bar. In this range the readback is accurate. Over 350 Bar the circuit is active. If you run a higher flowrate the pressure will increase slower until it shuts down at 400Bar. This would be an effective pressure between 620-630Bar. There is a variation because the transducers are little different from one unit to another.

On our test bench the pump was able to do a pressure of 630Bar easiely. Calculations show that the pump mechanism shouldn't have a problem with the forces applied to the plungers. The pump module has two ball spindle drives which are driven by a stepper motor through gearbox. The pump motion has the same principle as you see on the Alliance or the Thermo pumps former (Flux Rheos). The drive in the Agilent 1100 pump has a 10mm Spindle, the same diameter is used in the Alliance. These type of ball spindle has a typical dynamic load limit about 1.9kN. If you run the pump at 600Bar, the spindle use only 25% of the limit. This will ensure a long life of the pump. The stepper motor and the gearbox are also able to do it.

When the first prototype has passed our test I´ll write a short technical note with nice pictures which can be downloaded from our website.
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