FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Are miniPCR™ products for sale outside of the USA?

Yes, we sell and ship our products outside of the USA (with some exceptions due to international trade regulations). Some countries impose customs duties, tariffs, taxes, or VAT on imported items. As the importer, you are responsible for these costs which will be billed to you directly by the freight carrier. We are unable to give estimates of such costs as they can vary by country. To place an order, visit our store or contact us to identify an authorized miniPCR distributor in your country.

What is the warranty on miniPCR™ thermocyclers and blueGel™ electrophoresis system?

The miniPCR™ Limited Warranty and blueGel™ Limited Warranty cover defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase.  They do not cover wear and tear to components resulting from normal use of the products, nor does it cover failures caused by incorrect use, negligence, alterations, or damage caused by intentional or accidental misuse of equipment.

miniPCR™

Is the performance of miniPCR™ the same as that of other more expensive thermocyclers?

miniPCR™ machines have been rigorously tested by our team of Ph.D. molecular biologists. They have also been independently tested by third party scientists at leading university and industry labs on a broad range of applications including cloning, screening, genotyping, microbial detection, personal ID, and other uses. Both internal and third-party tests found miniPCR™ to work as well as or better than a variety of other thermal cyclers tested. See performance validation reports here.

How are miniPCR™ machines better than a 96-well plate thermal cycler?

Users have shared a variety of reasons for which they love miniPCRTM, including:
(i) The ability to put a PCR machine directly on their bench, right where they are working
(ii) Ease of operation.
(iii) Ease of creating, storing, and sharing programs without interfering with other users
(iv) Ease of use as a heat block.
(v) miniPCR devices can be easily shared and loaned
(vi) miniPCR devices expand your PCR capacity without having to spend thousands of $$$.

Some of our happiest users just love the convenience of having their own personal PCR machine.

Why are miniPCR™ thermal cyclers well suited for biotech education?

miniPCR™ gives students full ownership over their DNA experiments. Many miniPCR™ users are high schools, colleges and science outreach groups. They tell us that miniPCR™ enhances the classroom experience. They appreciate that students themselves can do their DNA experiments from start to finish, fully engaging with the instrument. miniPCR Apps allows students to program their own reactions and to track the temperature in real-time, while animations illustrate changes to the DNA molecule during different steps in PCR.

We have also heard from many teachers how having a low-cost PCR instrument eliminates the fear of putting it fully in the hands of students.

Does the miniPCR™ platform use standard PCR reagents and consumables?

Yes, miniPCR™ uses standard 200 microliter PCR tubes and standard PCR reagents. miniPCR™ wells are spaced so that they can accept 8-tube strips.

Can miniPCR™ thermal cycler hold at 4°C?

You can cool samples down to room temperature but not to 4°C. You can leave reaction tubes inside the miniPCR™ at room temperature following your run (Taq-amplified DNA is extremely stable in PCR buffer at room temperature, for at least 2 weeks and even more). If you plan on storing your reactions for use after several days, refrigerate the tubes after finishing a run.

How do you make a thermal cycler so small?

Most, if not all PCR machines in the market today use thermoelectric heating (also known as Peltier) because it is a reliable technology that allows for fast heating and cooling of samples. The drawbacks are that these devices need a large heat sink and a large cooling element to be effective. They also typically need hefty power supplies to support their energy requirements. By rethinking the heating and cooling technologies, and innovating the block design, we were able to shrink the machine to create a truly portable and accessible mini thermal cycler.

Does the miniPCR™ machine need to be plugged to my computer or phone to run?

You only need a computer or phone to program your miniPCR™ machine. Once programmed, miniPCR™ will keep the program in memory. It can be unplugged from your computer or phone and it will keep running your program, and you can follow the progress through the LED interface. If you wish to restart the same program, just flip the power switch OFF and then ON again.

blueGel™

What DNA staining agents are compatible with blueGel™ Electrophoresis System?

Most green fluorescent nucleic acid dyes designed for gel staining are compatible with standard visible blue-light excitation (470-490 nm range). This includes laser-based gel scanner.  We recommend GelGreen™ or GreenView™ Plus as safe and sensitive alternatives to ethidium bromide, available in our store.

What makes blueGel™ safer than conventional gel electrophoresis systems?

blueGel™ makes electrophoresis safer by using low voltage, non-hazardous DNA stains (i.e. no Ethidium Bromide), and through an electromechanic circuit gating mechanism that makes the run chamber completely inaccessible during a run, minimizing the risk of accidental electric shocks.

How do blueGel™ run times compare to conventional agarose gels?

Separation with blueGel™ can be seen in as little as five minutes. On a 1% gel you will see informative band separation within 15-20 minutes, and on a 2% gel in 20-30 minutes. Run time with blueGel™ is comparable to other larger systems that run at 2 or 3 times higher voltages.

What electrophoresis buffers are compatible with blueGel™?

We recommend the use of TBE electrophoresis buffer (Tris/Borate/EDTA) available in miniPCR™ store or other vendors.  1 liter of 20x stock solution can be made by mixing 108g Tris base, 55g Boric acid, 40ml 0.5M EDTA (ph 8.0)

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