The Eppendorf 5810R centrifuge is a highly modular and very versatile refrigerated bench-top centrifuge. The mechanical quality of this instrument is excellent as Eppendorf has used high quality materials and paid strict attention to engineering and construction. In addition, a vibration regulator, insulation and good ventilation keeps the instrument very quiet. In comparison with our other centrifuges the Eppendorf is significantly quieter, even at full speed. The temperature of the 5810R can be set from -9o
C to +40o
C and includes a pre-cool setting for rotors/samples before beginning the run. Our experiments often required a constant cold temperature and the ability to pre-chill the rotors in the centrifuge makes this much easier than having to move rotors to a fridge or cold-room. All rotors are able to operate at full speed and may be refrigerated to 4o
C for extended runs. If you require colder centrifugation temperatures, there are several centrifuges manufactured by competing companies that can cool to nearly -20o
C, however for normal refrigerated use we have found this necessary – the 5810R keeps the samples at 2o
C for extended periods of centrifugation (many hours) without warming up. An additional bonus in terms of mechanics is the fast-breaking motor design, designed to stop rotation of the rotor quickly, which is important for a busy lab where the centrifuge is constantly in use.
We have found the control interface to be clear and easy to use, utilizing a back-lit blue LCD display and a set of soft-touch fully-sealed buttons. Our centrifuge is used mostly for pelleting bacterial cells, and the fully sealed keypad means that the centrifuge panel can be cleaned and disinfected without damage. Operation of the controls is straightforward and intuitive. A maximum of 34 programs can be stored, including acceleration and braking profiles. Almost all parameters can be viewed and changed with the touch of a button, even while the run is in progress. The rotor speed can be programmed in RPM, relative centrifugal force (rcf or g) or radius correction values (rad) and the instrument will automatically display conversions to any other unit depending on the rotor in use. Also, the last user program remains unless changed for future runs.
The lid latch and release mechanism is motorized so very little pressure is required to close the centrifuge, unlike many others that we have tested. The lid is spring-loaded and attached by gas struts, thus, it opens and raises automatically on pressing the appropriate button on the front of the instrument. With a wide range of available rotors, including both fixed-angle and swing-out, the centrifuge can accept a huge assortment of tube sizes, from 0.2mL PCR tubes and strips to 400mL bottles (maximum capacity is 1.6L). There are also various adapters and rotors to spin slides, tissue culture flasks, PCR plates, single or stacked microtiter trays and Eppendorf PerfectPrep 384-well plasmid preparation kits.
In terms of bench space, the centrifuge is relatively large (70cm x 61cm) due to the placement of the refrigeration unit on the side of the unit. Many other centrifuges are considerably smaller and this initially counted against the 5810R in our purchase decision. However, as a result of this design, it measures only 35cm in height making it easy to load and remove samples if the unit is placed on a bench-top. We often require our centrifuges to be moved, and although it may not be a problem for many laboratories, this is made difficult as the instrument weighs nearly 100kg without a rotor. This means that loading onto a trolley (etc) requires several people to organise. Despite the size of some of the rotors, centrifugation can be halted in less than one minute due to the relatively light weight of most rotors. We have found that this makes rotor transport very easy when they need to be stored or used in another instrument. The rotors are automatically recognized by the centrifuge to prevent over-speed damage and a sensor prevents damage from improperly balanced samples.
Scott J. Coutts
Bacterial Pathogenesis Research Group
Monash University, Australia.