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Guide to Buying Used HPLC Equipment
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Why buy secondhand?

There are several reasons why it might make sense to buy used equipment instead of new:

  • For a short term project. This maybe a large batch of samples to analyse, or a research project with no on-going requirement for the equipment when the project is over.
  • Because sufficient funds are not available. If you need the equipment now, but don't have enough money, you may still be able to have a good system secondhand.
  • It is almost invariably cheaper than leasing. Leasing gets you new equipment without the up-front investment. However you have to cover the bulk of the depreciation, without owning anything at the end! So it is always expensive in the long run.
  • Top quality equipment becomes affordable when it is a few years old! So rather than buy a brand new budget system, remember that a secondhand Mercedes can be a good buy!
  • As a back-up. If the consequences of an HPLC system failure would be expensive, one option is a fast response service contract. The other is a complete secondhand system as a backup. It costs about the same as a one year service contract. The benefit becomes obvious at the end of the first year!
  • Because you need a different detector, or want to add an autosampler. These needs sometimes come up suddenly as situations arise. You can wait, dig deep for a new one, or buy a secondhand model out of petty cash!

What are the risks?

It won't last as long as a new one. Its obvious, but the point is, some secondhand equipment may not last very long at all. Its a risk. Talk to us about it. Some equipment lasts much longer than others, some manufacturers spares are much easier to get than others, some manufacturers have even gone bust but we can still get the spares. If its a concern, call us and we'll talk through the options

Cost of spares. This is not really an issue, because spares for most new equipment are much more expensive! However you might need spares like lamps sooner than you would on a new instrument, and a lamp can cost from £200-£800!

There may be no manual. We have lots of manuals in pdf format that we have downloaded at various stages. We also have lots of original paper copy manuals. We will never sell our last one, but we might let you take a copy!

Who will fix it if it goes wrong? This is really only an issue if you buy an unusual instrument, made by a company who are no longer trading or have been swallowed up by one of the big guys. However you need to know the answer to this!

What to buy secondhand and what not.

The safest bet is usually a pump! A pump motor will normally last for many years, and pump maintenance spares (seals, pistons, check valves) are realatively cheap and readily available. Be careful buying secondhand autosamplers. They have more moving parts than the rest of the system put together, and they don't like being moved. So an autosampler that has been to auction and back might be a risk! Also note that older autosamplers require a supply of compressed gas to drive the valve.

One thing that is really a potential problem is a data system. Software, interface cards and computers become obsolete really fast. So although it may work now, if the computer dies and the interface card requires an ISA slot for example, such computers haven't been made for 8 years! If in doubt, buy a new data system and don't be too hung up on having total system control from the PC. It makes the package much more vulnerable to problems, much more expensive, and it wipes out most of your options. We will be pleased to make recommendations if you would like to discuss the options with us.

Another problem is diode array detectors. They cost a lot of money new, and hence seem a real bargain secondhand. The problem is that without the software they are just a big paperweight. The data output is not an analogue signal, and so the only way to process the data is using the software supplied with it. However for older detectors, the software was designed maybe for Windows 3.1 or Windows 98 and may not even run under XP or Vista. My advice is to leave old diode array detectors well alone, and certainly don't pay money for them, unless you get the computer and software too, and even then, remember that when the computer dies, thats the end of the road!

Buying at Auctions.

There are two words of advice. Buyer Beware! Good bargains are to be had, but in our experience, 2 out of 3 items will have faults, and at least 1 item in 3 won't even work! The dead pump from under the bench gets sold alongside a good pump, by someone who will claim to know nothing about anything. The same goes for eBay. Even 'respectable' people make claims like "It was running in my lab till last week" when in fact they have never even plugged it in. Decide how much to bid on the basis that you may have to buy two or three lemons to get a peach! Once again, Let the Buyer Beware!!

So why buy from Laserchrom?

The secondhand equipment listed on these pages is all sold tested and in good working order, unless otherwise stated. We can deliver it, install it, show you how it works, and usually fix it if it goes wrong! Our stock of secondhand equipment is quite extensive. We have good contacts with manufacturers of all the usual spares, and we have a graveyeard of dead instruments which we can use for those hard-to get spares! (Please don't bin your old instruments without giving us a call first!) We are also working with a number of companies in other countries who do the same as we do but have experience of other makes of equipement. So we can usually find a solution! We even offer a warranty!

3 Month Warranty

We offer a 3 months return to base warranty on used equipment, from delivery date.  The warranty excludes lamp, piston seals, pistons and check valves.  In the event that we are unable to repair the equipment we would, at our option, offer an equivalent item as a replacement or a refund of the purchase price.

 

 
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