[Cytometry] Replacement computer for FACScalibur?

Telford, William (NIH/NCI) [E] telfordw at mail.nih.gov
Tue Feb 18 22:22:10 EST 2014

Wow, 7300 and 7600s!  A blast from the past!  I still have a couple of the old long BDMAC interface cards around that I'm afraid to throw away in case someone needs them  (OK, that's probably never going to happen).

And thanks Tony for summarizing the more recent Mac builds - it gets a bit complex after MacOS 10.


From: Geza Paukovics [mailto:paukovic at burnet.edu.au]
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:37 PM
To: FACShelp at ALT Service
Cc: Telford, William (NIH/NCI) [E]; Joanne Lannigan; Martin, Colin H.; cytometry at lists.purdue.edu
Subject: Re: [Cytometry] Replacement computer for FACScalibur?

We here at AMREP flow concur with William. We are in the process of upgrading our FACSCaliburs that used to run on the old (yes) 7300 and 7600 MAC platforms as well as a few G3s MACs. We upgraded to G4s 733Mhz platforms with larger hard drives (from memory 100MB to 300-400GB sourced locally in Melbourne from a MAC refurbishing place, but there are lots available online eg Ebay),  Cell Quest Pro v5.1, as William stated the last MAC to be compatible with the older BDPAC cards is the G4 MAC, the only addition we have from our end is that with the CellQuest Pro v5.1, the operating system is simply not OSX, but we found it had to be upgraqded to either 10.2.6 or 10.2.8. (free upgrades can be found online)
Hope that helps

On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 8:23 AM, FACShelp at ALT Service <facshelp at altservice.com<mailto:facshelp at altservice.com>> wrote:
Hello to All,
I have all the interface criteria sorted out if anyone wants to know what BDPAC and software revs work with mac computers connected to BD FACS instruments.
Most of the information given in this thread is accurate, but dated. For current, up to date info, feel free to contact me directly and I will provide the information you need for the interface you are using.
The mass of variation makes it difficult to post all the information, but here are the basics;
OS9.2.2 and FACStation 3.5.1 are the highest revs for OS9
>Requires dongle model ERB=0683
OSX 10.5 and FACstation 5.2.1 are the highest revs for OSX non-intel.
>Requires dongle model ERB=1222
OSX 10.5 and FACStation 6.0 are for Intel Mac's. This rev eliminates most older cytometers from the instrument configuration and uses a different dongle.
Best regards,
Tony Leger
ALT Service
> facshelp at altservice.com<mailto:facshelp at altservice.com>

"Telford, William (NIH/NCI) [E]" <telfordw at mail.nih.gov<mailto:telfordw at mail.nih.gov>> wrote:
>Hi Colin...
>Joanne is right, the silver G4s (733-867 MHz) are the "newest" and most
>stable workstations for running MacOS 9.2.1 and CellQuest 3.4. However,
>the somewhat older grey Mac G4s and even the green Mac G3s will work OK
>too.  The main issues are age and quality - the newer computers are
>both younger and better built, so they will last the longest.  But if
>you have one of these older computers at your institution, it should
>work fine.  We had a FACSCalibur running on a Mac G3 400 MHz with 128K
>memory for a long time, and ran decently (if a bit slow).
>The silver G4s are the last Macs to accept the older style BDPAC cards
>- when BD went to MacOS 10 and the CellQuest/CellQuest Pro transition,
>there were several adjustments to BDPAC card design to accommodate the
>newer Mac peripheral slots.  So anything newer than a silver G4
>probably won't accommodate your BDPAC card.
>Fortunately, there are a lot of these computers on the used market.
>Bill Telford
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Joanne Lannigan [mailto:jl7fj at virginia.edu<mailto:jl7fj at virginia.edu>]
>Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:32 PM
>To: Martin, Colin H.
>Cc: cytometry at lists.purdue.edu<mailto:cytometry at lists.purdue.edu>
>Subject: Re: [Cytometry] Replacement computer for FACScalibur?
>Hi Colin:
>If you can get your hands on the old PowerMac Silver G4s, you can run
>either OS9 or X on those. We have three Caliburs running on these
>running OSX. You will have to run CellquestPro however if you run OSX.
>Perhaps someone on the list has an old CellquestPro dongle they can
>send you. BD originally told us CellquestPro was not supported for the
>OSX unless you bought a special interface board, but we have been
>successfully running these without for more than 8 years. We were lucky
>enough at one point to retrieve 18 of these G4s from institutional
>surplus and have been working off of these as a supply for
>replacementcomputers and parts. We still have plenty of people who just
>want to do simple <4 color experiments and there is no need to tie up
>our higher end instrumentation with these users. They cost virtually
>nothing to maintain and IMHO still have the most robust fluidics
>systems out there!
>Check ebay, you might find some there.
>Joanne Lannigan, MS
>Director, Flow Cytometry Core
>University of Virginia
>School of Medicine
>1300 Jefferson Park Ave.
>Jordan Hall, Rm 2011A
>Charlottesville, VA 22908-0734
>flowcytometry at virginia.edu<mailto:flowcytometry at virginia.edu>
>office: 434-924-0274<tel:434-924-0274>
>lab: 434-243-2711<tel:434-243-2711>
>On Feb 11, 2014, at 4:49 PM, Martin, Colin H. wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> I work at a university where our cytometer, a FACScalibur 4-color
>model, is used primarily by undergraduates in laboratory classes. After
>years of faithful service, the computer that runs our Calibur finally
>died. It had been running OS 9. The prices that we have found for
>buying a new computer to run the cytometer seem really high
>($6,000-8,000) especially since the university has many old, perfectly
>functional computers capable of running OS 9 or OS X lying around.
>> Has anyone had experience with replacing a computer for an older
>model cytometer? Any good resources you can recommend, other than just
>shelling out the $$$?
>> Thanks!
>> Colin Martin
>> University of St. Thomas Biology
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Geza Paukovics
AMREP Flow Cytometry Core Facility Manager
AMREP Senior Flow Cytometrist
Burnet: Corporate Support Services - Laboratory Services
VHPF Flow Cytometry Program Group
Sidney Myer Fund Flow Cytometry Unit
Monash: Monash Central School of Medicine (AMREP)

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