Instruments We Love

Every now and then, a manufacturer hits a home run. An instrument is made that is well designed, easy to use, effective for its purpose, inexpensive to maintain, and looks good in your lab. These instruments usually get very popular, and are made for many years. They are the classics. They are the instruments we love. Sometimes, other manufacturers try to copy the formula, but none quite succeeds. The original is still the best.

In the world of automobiles, the Volkwagen Beetle, the Porsche 911, and the Chevy Impala are examples of classic cars we love. Each has been made a long time, and are familiar, and loved, world wide. Parts are readily available and each one does its job very well. Clubs and service companies have grown up around them. Just as some cars are loved by their users and servicers, so are certain instruments.

This article is part of a series, "Instruments We Love". The New Brunswick G25 shaker is an Instrument We Love.

It's been made for more than 20 years now, and while it has had careful, incremental upgrades over the years, even the oldest one is easily recognizable as a member of the same family. Many of the upgrades can be retrofitted to older units, and the basic design incorporates a simple backup system.

If you are planning to do incubation with shaking for fermentation, you owe it to yourself to buy a New Brunswick G25, or its identical little brother, the G24. These units can be often be found on eBay (search for "G25"), or from Biotech Equipment Sales. They will provide many years of 24x7 service at low cost and will be rebuildable for a long time to come.

A trivia point: While it doesn't really matter how old your G25 is, you might want to know. Lift the door and find the serial number tag. The first two digits are the year your shaker was made. For instance, if your serial number is 29012256, your shaker was made in 1992.

The G25 was designed with a simple, robust, architecture that is easily adaptable. Low profile units are available. Heavy load kits are available. Some units incorporate refrigeration for more precise temp control. The G24 is a virtual copy of the same unit, but for benchtop/kneewell use.

All parts are available for these units, and New Brunswick does a great job of supporting them, including upgrading instrumentation, air handling, and ergonomics during the long production run. Later models, called the "Classic C25", can sometimes be found.

Many service companies can service New Brunswick G-class incubators, and enjoy working on them. We feel they are perfect for many laboratories, as long as the right models and options are selected, and the operators know how to operate them.

The G25 has a simple points-style "Control Thermostat" which is very reliable and safe, but which is prone to failure about every 5-10 years depending on use. For this reason the G25 has an entire duplicate system, the "Safety Thermostat" which should only operate in case of failure of the primary Control Thermostat. This separation of duties is very important and it means if you see a Safety Thermostat working, meaning the pilot light is on, either the incubator needs service or the instrument is adjusted wrong. Give us a call and we'll fix the instrument or show you how to operate it correctly. It's important to fix it correctly because the Safety Thermostat is designed to be pristine, never used, just waiting for the chance to step in and save the day. Once this happens, the Control thermostat can be replaced by a service engineer.

Need a refrigerated shaker so you can shake near room temperature or even below? There are rare refrigerated G-25s out there as built by New Brunswick, or we can offer a G25 with a chiller retrofit to meet your needs. You don't have to buy a new fancy shaker with delicate internal motors and chiller. You can still use a Bullet proof G25 for this purpose.

Gearboxes are another item which can fail on the G25. But the gearboxes also strong and well designed. Gearbox rebuilds may seem expensive, but after 15 years of around-the-clock use, it's normal that you may need a rebuild. Ask us for a quote, and we think you'll find that it compares well with the cost of either a new or used incubator. Gearbox rebuilds can be cheaper if you call when the instrument starts to get noisy, instead of waiting until it fails. Or trade your noisy G25 in for a rebuilt one.

Noisy fans are another complaint we sometimes hear. The older version of G25 had a fan with a motor which stuck out of the unit, and this could get noisy-- plus it took valuable floor space. Newer units have a space-saver fan, which also runs more quietly. Give us a call and we can upgrade your unit to the newer type.

Drawbacks of the G25 are few, but thermostats can be difficult to replace, and operators must be trained to operate them correctly. Pilot lights used to burn out frequently, but the new style is more durable, too. Ergonomics have improved with the newer models, though some people think the older style gets "fiddled with" less.

Then there's the "vintage" New Brunswick color. Somewhere between a "Harvest Gold" and goldenrod, or mustard, suffice it to say it's a color that your mom's refrigerator never was, even back in the 70s.

Looks good in your lab? New Brunswick Yellow is a color that grows on you, once you start to appreciate how well the instrument is designed... back in the day, VW Beetles came in some pretty awful colors, too.

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