When it rains …

This looks odd.

[GC inlet temperature]

That’s the screen of our gas chromatograph. I’m attempting to set up this instrument for my summer students to use, and I’ve just turned on the instrument. This is the temperature reported by the instrument for one of the injection ports. These ports are heated during operation of the instrument, but:

  • I had just turned the instrument on, and hadn’t yet turned on the heater – so the temperature should be about 22 or so degrees C.
  • Even if I had used the instrument, this injection port wouldn’t be 520 degrees C.

I pondered this for a minute, and the instrument decided to tell me something else, instead.


If you’ve ever seen the movie Office Space, you know what my exact thought was at that moment.

PRT NOT FOUND? What the f–k does that mean?”

So I looked the message up in the manual. It’s actually in there. It means “Call your Perkin-Elmer Service Representative”.

Somehow, I get the feeling that I should have known that.

Sigh. When it rains …

4 Responses to “When it rains …”

  1. Dave Liloia says:


    I am the E-Commerce Manager for PerkinElmer, and I noticed that you had an issue with a PKI instrument. Would you like me to get someone to give you a call about this? Let me know, as I was just on the phone a moment ago with the regional leader for your area (Atlanta it seems).

    Send me an email and I will pass back my phone and other contact information.


    Dave Liloia

  2. eric says:

    every time i see “pc load letter,” i want to take a bat … no, my bare fist … and pummel it’s guts.

  3. Rick says:

    Thanks for the reply. We’ve got a service contract on the instrument, and I’ve put in a service call. Hopefully, the instrument will be up and running again soon.

    I used to own the same model printer as the one which got smashed up in Office Space. Extremely reliable printer. Extremely useless error messages. Extremely fun to take a sledgehammer to when it finally dies.

  4. Rick says:

    We’re back in business. The injector’s temperature sensor had simply failed. It’s a good thing P-E still has replacement parts for an instrument as old as ours.