Laserchrom HPLC Laboratories Ltd
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Laserchrom HPLC Laboratories Ltd

Units B16-17, Laser Quay,

Medway City Estate,

Rochester, Kent. ME2 4HU (United Kingdom)

HPLC Troubleshooting

They key to troubleshooting is to systematically eliminate possibilities, thereby homing in on the problem. From there it requires only minimal work to identify the cause.

We offer an HPLC Troubleshooting Course, where the solutions to all these problems and many more are covered. This is recommended for all those who need to be able to fix problems as they arise, and prevent problems recurring.

If you have problems with a method or an instrument, we also offer an on-site troubleshooting service. This is charged by the hour or by the day, and can include training, instrument repairs if necessary, and making a method work for you in your lab. To enquire about this service, please send an email to [email protected], outlining the problem and what you would like to achieve, and we will call you to discuss the options.

There are six indicators that should be considered when a problem arises, namely the back pressure, the baseline, peak retention times, peak heights, the retention time of the void volume peak and the drop rate into the waste bottle. These between them will suggest the answer to most problems. To learn how, you need to come on the course!


Peak Shape Problems

Tailing peaks

Broad Peaks

Shoulders on the side of Peaks, or Double peaks

Negative Peaks

Cut-off peaks

Flat Top Peaks

Baseline Problems

Noisy baseline

Drifting baseline

Step Changes in the baseline

Spiking Baseline

Cycling Baseline

Back Pressure Problems

Rising and falling back pressure

Low back pressure

High back pressure

Retention Time Problems

Unreproducible retention times

Too short retention times

Too long retention times

Peak height Problems

Peak heights too low

Peak heights too high

Peak heights varying from one injection to the next

Ghost Peaks

Gradient Elution

Isocratic Elution

You Get No Peaks
Click here for a long list!
Noises and Smells!
Click here for some ideas
Avoiding Leaks
Click here for a guide
Autosampler Problems

Air in the syringe

Bent needle

Blocked needle

Valve problems

Needle depth too high or too low

Unreproducible injections

Sample carryover

Wash solution problems

Vial, cap and septum problems

Run time errors

XY calibration

Pump Problems

Check valve faults

Piston failure

Piston seal failure

Motor Failure

Pressure cut-out faults



Solvent supply faults

UV Detector problems

Off scale

Wavelength settings

Cracked or broken cell

Old lamp

Incorrect Range setting

Incorrect output selected

RI Detector Problems

Purge valve open

Purge valve leaking

Reference cell not flushed

Optical balance out of range

Lamp alignment faults

Mishandling of negative peaks

Column Problems

Frit blocked

Inlet bed blocked


Column bed dried out

Column contaminated

Damaged end fitting

Column Regeneration

Free Technical Advice Available Now on 01634-294001

(09.00-17.00 GMT)


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