Sample Set stops early - Empower 2 / Agilent 1100 stack

We have experienced a periodic problem with Sample Sets stopping before completion when using Empower 2 (SP G) to control one of our Agilent 1100 stacks.  This problem appears to be slightly different than described in other threads, in that the last sample injected is acquired fully (e.g., 11 minutes for an 11 minute run), but the run does not proceed to the next vial.  Instead, immediately at the conclusion of the vial, the Empower Message Center shows an entry that reads "Instrument Failure A1100#AgilentLC03", with no further explanation.  The shutdown method is then properly loaded to the Agilent system.  The Agilent handheld controller shows no error in any module corresponding to the time of the instrument failure reported in the Empower Message Center, nor does it appear that the Agilent stack got any instruction for the next vial in line.  It concludes the vial it was on, and the next action is the loading of the shutdown method parameters.  The next day (when the problem happens overnight), it is possible to resume the Sample Set without need to reboot the acquisition server or the HPLC.Has anyone experienced anything similar?This problem has only happened with 1 of our 4 Agilent stacks.  All stacks have the same version of Agilent firmware, and all are connected via LAN cables to the same L/ACE32 acquisition server.  The only substantial difference between this stack and the others is that it also has a busSAT/IN module for an ELSD detector configured as part of the system (connected via RS232), but the problem is being seen when the SAT/IN channel is disabled, and the failure in the Empower Message Center is attributed to the A1100 component of the system, not to the SAT/IN.Based on another thread, I reviewed the L/ACE32 computer's logs under System ToolsEvent Viewer, and found nothing in the logs that corresponded to the time of the phantom "Instrument Failure" being reported in the Empower Message Center.Any thoughts?Thanks,Jeff


  • Hello Jeff,

    You did not state the instrument control software version installed.  However, based on the version of Empower 2 and service pack I am going to assume it is ICS 1.06.

    If there is an Agilent 1100 DAD in the system, then a shutdown method specified with an A1100 DAD system, might encounter an instrument failure at the end of the sample set. To avoid this problem, add a zero volume injection line to the end of the sample set. This line should contain a method set with an instrument method to shutdown the system. The method on this line will run for the specified run time. The run time should therefore be set long enough to allow the shutdown changes to occur.

    The reason for not incorporating the shutdown parameters directly in the instrument method that is routinely using on each injection line is when using an A1100 system, the instrument method stops running at the end of the run time and the system reverts back to initial conditions. (Conversely, when using a system containing Waters’ equipment, the instrument method continues to execute after the specified run time, until another injection occurs.)

    How many systems are on the LAC/E32?  It looks like five (5).  It may be worth removing the busSAT/IN system, not just disabling, to see if this is interfering with it for some odd reason.

    Let me know if the suggestions are helpful.


  • Dot,

    The Agilent LC Control Software version is 1.05.1094.  Is this the version we should have?  Is there an update that should be applied?

    There is a DAD on the system in question.  However, we also have another instrument stack that includes a DAD, and to the best of my knowledge this behavior has never been seen with that system.

    I'm not totally clear on your comments with regard to the shutdown method.  We typically have a separate instrument method with reduced flow, column heater off, etc., and choose that in the "Shutdown Method" pulldown prior to starting the Sample Set.  So, the shutdown conditions are not part of the primary instrument method being used - they are separate.  Should this approach work properly, or are you suggesting that it's better to not use this function in this way?

    There are 4 instruments configured on the LAC/E32, but 5 connections to it because the busSAT/IN module has its own output.  So, 4 LAN connections plus a 9-pin serial connection to the COM port for the busSAT/IN.  We can certainly try removing that, but the problem that we're experiencing with the insturment failure is intermittent - it's not every run, or every week, it's just occasionally.  So if we unplug the busSAT/IN and don't see the problem, that doesn't really mean anything, and we can't leave it unplugged indefinitely since we use the ELSD sometimes.

    Thanks for your suggestions, and I look forward to any other thoughts you may have.


  • Hello Jeff,

    The current version for the Agilent LC is ICS v1.06.

    I have provided a link to the record, DWNL10090750, on the Waters website.  You will be able to download the software, release notes and the certificate of structural integrity. If you choose to order the Waters part number is 667003705.

    The ICS should be installed on the acquisition node where the instrument is attached, Citrix server (if applicable), and any nodes that have the full software stack for Empower client.

    The procedure you are using for shutdown is good. I suggest you not change it at this time.

    When the behavior is intermittent with one system and other systems do not exhibit the same symptoms, we need to look for differences.  Perhaps comparing the firmware revisions or other setup differences should be explored. You pointed out the busSAT/IN module. Look for any other diffierences.

    Let me know if this is helpful.


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