New to GC - buy unit for home lab to learn - help & guidance

Discussions about GC and other "gas phase" separation techniques.

5 posts Page 1 of 1
I've been doing amateur chemistry for a about 6-7 years and I'd like to be able to do LC & GC analysis so I can test compounds for purity and determine what contaminates & levels there are in samples.

I see there is a VERY wide range in prices for used devices and I'm not sure what would be a good model to get for home use. I have access to a Varian Star 3400 CX GC w/ auto sampler for basically the cost of gas to pick it up, or possibly shipping.

The thing is this unit had the ECD detector removed (b/c of the Nickel 63...) so I think that needs replaced or it won't work IIRC. Now IDK if that is going to make it cost prohibitive to buy that & pay maybe $!00 in shipping, or if it is still a good deal.

I've seen a number of HP 5890 SERIES II for good prices and If I keep my eyes open at a few places, I might be able to get one for $100-200.

So if anyone has any experience with these, I'd really appreciate some feedback on this and what is most likely the better option.
For a home lab I would avoid the ECD, as you need radiological license for those, either through the vendor or through your local state government, and used it might be difficult to get it through the vendor.

FID will allow you to do most of the work you would want to do along the lines of what you are describing, also TCD for FPD work well. It would also be good to find a Nitrogen and Hydrogen generator instead of the compressed gas cylinders if you can find them used, just makes for better safety, and the high purity gases needed can be expensive for the cylinders.

The HP/Agilent 5890 are some very rugged instruments. The only reason we ever got rid of the ones in our lab was that we had trouble keeping the older PC with Windows95-XP going(well we didn't have trouble but the IT department hated it.) The autosamplers for the 5890 may be difficult to find parts for now, but I imagine you can still find them. The Varians are also good units as well as Shimadzu, but I don't have experience with those myself.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
https://www.unichrom.com/matrix-gce.shtml

5890 installation manual:
https://www.unichrom.com/hpx890/hp5890% ... %20eng.pdf

If you decide run Linux system - I can give out free license.

5890 under Linux would work with 82335 and 82341 GPIB card (which your IT dept "hate"). To be honest is not your IT "hates" GC, but Agilent+MS "hates" you as customer.
antonk wrote:
https://www.unichrom.com/matrix-gce.shtml

5890 installation manual:
https://www.unichrom.com/hpx890/hp5890% ... %20eng.pdf

If you decide run Linux system - I can give out free license.

5890 under Linux would work with 82335 and 82341 GPIB card (which your IT dept "hate"). To be honest is not your IT "hates" GC, but Agilent+MS "hates" you as customer.


If it was me I would go to as much Linux as I could, but too many MS fans in IT. Wish it was Mass Spec but it isn't :(
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
Hi aegis,

My company specializes in GC refurbishment and customization. If you need assistance purchasing a functioning GC for your specific application, we'd be glad to set you up. There are a number of instruments we have onsite that could fulfill your needs. We also could provide some insight into proper maintenance of your equipment. How has progress been with your home laboratory?

Jeremy
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