[3dem] Vitrobot humidifier problem

Morgan, David Gene dagmorga at indiana.edu
Mon Apr 23 08:27:45 PDT 2018

As a follow up to Jason's suggestion, we survived for a year or two with our non-functional humidifier by putting a pair of small glass Petri dishes (on the order of 25 mm diameter) into the Vitrobot chamber, and then putting a piece of kitchen sponge and some water into each.  These won't dry out even during a long freezing run, and is somewhat less messy than damp Kimwipes...

    politics is more difficult than physics.
                                             A. Einstein

            David Gene Morgan
        Electron Microscopy Center
             047D Simon Hall
             IU Bloomington
          812 856 1457 (office)
          812 856 3221 (3200)
From: 3dem <3dem-bounces at ncmir.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Jason Kaelber <jason.kaelber at rutgers.edu>
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 11:22 AM
To: 3dem at ncmir.ucsd.edu
Subject: Re: [3dem] Vitrobot humidifier problem

Artemis, there are many things that could cause this problem. One of the quickest things to try is swap the water tank with a spare or one from another unit. Also try swapping the cable that connects the tank to the unit.I have seen both these parts go bad on a Mark IV and give an "empty" error. If it is a board you are SOL until you get parts from FEI ThermoFisher.

In the meantime, you can soak two Kimwipes and paste them to the chamber walls, this should keep your humidity high enough to get good ice if you are patient. When they get dry during freezing, you can put a squirt bottle into the port where you would pipette specimen and spray it a bit. I can vouch for having solved at least one atomic structure under such conditions.

Best of luck


J T Kaelber, PhD
Director, Rutgers New Jersey CryoEM/CryoET Core Facility
Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine
174 Frelinghuysen Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854
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