FAQ

Q: Do I need the small null modem adapter on the Synergy Nano serial port connector for proper communication?

A: Synergy Nano controllers that do not have GPIB require this adapter for communication directly with a standard PC serial port. If the Synergy Nano does have GPIB, the Null Modem should not be used to communicate with a standard PC serial port.

Q: What version of firmware do I require to use the new email, network printing features?

A: Your controller must be version 3.06 or higher. Network printing also requires a registration code which can be obtained from TotalTemp Technologies or Tidal Engineering for a nominal fee. Free firmware updates available, easily installed from front panel USB port.

Q: Controller turns on but no heating, cooling or error messages show on the display.

A: The circuit breaker at the rear of the controller must be on in order to control temperature. It is good practice to always leave this circuit breaker ON.
Earlier platforms do not have indication of the state of the thermal safety switch in the platform. If there is no indicator or the red LED is on, turn power off, allow platform to cool slightly then turn back on.

Q: “Alarm” message on Synergy controller or “err” message on Watlow controller shows. System will not control

A: Verify that smaller ‘sensor’ connector is properly connected to platform. Clear prior alarm conditions on Synergy from the Maintenance -> Alarms menu on the front panel, press “RESET” button on Watlow controller to clear “err” message.

Q: Can I use my Synergy or Watlow controller to control other brands of thermal platforms?

A: TotalTemp makes a customized version of our controllers to be compatible with Sigma Systems thermal platforms. Consult factory regarding compatibility details.

Q: What coolants are my thermal platform compatible with?

A: There are four different coolant configurations, the correct coolant must be used for proper operation. Coolant conversion is readily made. Refer to label on product for coolant configuration. Coolant choices are: Low pressure (15-35 psig.) ,high pressure (50-100 psig.) L-N2, Low pressure (300 psig.), high pressure (800-1000 psig.) L-CO2

Q: Which cooling method is faster, cryogenics or mechanical refrigeration?

A: Expendable cryo coolants (L-CO2 or L-N2) are generally faster.

Q: How do I save money when I want the speed of cryogenic cooling but I only have intermittent use? Having a tank warm up and/or venting between uses and go to waste is expensive.

A: High pressure L-CO2 is a good option for intermittent use because it stores indefinitely in the tank at room temperature.

Q: How do I save money long term when buying a thermal platform?

A: Cryogenically cooled platforms are cheaper to buy than systems with refrigeration. They can also save money in making test times shorter with faster cycling. According to our math and years of experience, we see Cryo systems as generally cheaper in the long run.

Q: What are the drawbacks of mechanical refrigeration?

A: First, they are much more expensive to buy and maintain, but, they do not require the ongoing expense of expendable coolant. Mechanical refrigeration systems make motor noise and can expel significant heat into the room unless a water cooled option is used. All other things being neutral, TotalTemp generally recommends High Pressure L-N2 for overall ease of use, reliability, efficiency and speed.

Q: What are the lower temperature limits of the various cooling methods?

A: Single stage refrigeration systems typically have a lower temperature limit of -40°C. More expensive two stage cascade system typically have a lower temperature range of -65-80°C. L-CO2 systems typically go as cold as -65°C. L-N2 systems go as cold as -100°C.

Q: When do you recommend using low pressure L-CO2 or Low pressure L-N2?

A: Low pressure L-CO2 and L-N2 are generally recommended only if you already have that kind of coolant in use or have a distribution system in place.

Q: I have a question about the exhaust of an LN2 or LCO2 cooled system. I see you have the muffler to reduce the noise level, but what happens with the evaporated coolant afterwards? Do you recommend some sort of chimney to pass it to the outside, or is the evaporated coolant simply released into the lab?

A: There are several things to note with cryogenic exhaust gases. First the amount of exhaust our platforms expel is minimal. As compared to a chamber they are much smaller and more efficient with the use of the cryogenic liquid coolant. Also, the platforms are expelling exhaust only during the cooling cycle, or periodically during cold soaks to maintain temperature. So, generally speaking, the amount of exhaust expelled from one platform is not enough to cause any issues with the safety of the breathable air. Even several platforms in a normal size room with the usual typical venting found in most buildings would unlikely ever cause a problem. You would have to have many platforms in a small unvented room to ever cause concern.

With L-N2, the exhaust is nitrogen gas which is 80% of the normal air we breathe every day. The only concern with that exhaust is oxygen displacement, where so much nitrogen gas might be expelled that the oxygen levels reach unsafe low limits. This can easily be monitored with an O2 detector which doesn't cost that much if there is concern.

With L-CO2, the exhaust is carbon dioxide which of course is not something you want to breathe in high concentrations. As stated above, it would take many platforms before that becomes an issue.

Q: I am confused, what is right for my specific application?

A: Please call us to discuss further details of your specific application.