Showing posts from August 8, 2010

Testing my PCR thermocycler, Part I: Setup

Way too long ago, I bought a used thermocycler on ebay. It's quite a monster, a Perkin Elmer Cetus, and I've been meaning to test it. I initially thought about testing it simply by running a PCR and seeing whether I get the expected results, but there are so many sources of error in this plan that I've discarded it. There are just so many things that can go wrong with a PCR, even if the thermocycler works perfectly - not least due to my very limited lab skills.
So instead, I'm going to measure the temperature of the heating block over a few cycles. There are even sources on the internet that document the temperature profiles of other thermocyclers, so I can use those as a reference. All in all, this approach does not only yield quantifiable results, but seems more attainable to me. Plus, this will (ideally) produce a setup that allows me to test other thermocyclers, too.
So. After some investigation of temperature sensors in general and in particular, I decided to use an…