used incubators off ebay: anyone have good or bad experience?

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jonatmudd
jonatmudd's picture
used incubators off ebay: anyone have good or bad experience?

I need to acquire an incubator for my lab.  Just starting up, have fairly limited funds.  New incubators are now endowed with microcontrollers that are high-tech enough to control an airplane--> $$$$.
I'll be culturing primary neurons, and don't need anything high-tech--the older models (e.g., Napco 6000 series) will work fine...err, at least they got me through grad school.
Thus, I am considering buying a used one off of ebay (or elsewhere--any other suggestions where to look?)
Has anyone ever purchased an installed a used incubator in your lab?  If so, what has been your experience?
Of course, I am terrified of buying a "sick" incubator, one in which the fungal spores, or other grodies, have already set up shop.  
Are these fears misplaced?  If anyone has any words of caution, advice, encouragement, or otherwise, would love to hear them.
Many thanks!

Ivan Delgado
Ivan Delgado's picture
 

 
Hi jonatmudd,
I know your situation and completely understand the need to save some $$$ by purchasing used equipment. Having said that, my recommendation to you is not to try to cut corners when it comes to a CO2 incubator. Even new ones can be finicky and you definitely want to have a warranty when the life of your cells is the consideration. Even if you go with a used incubator from more reputable resellers like LabX, you are incurring a significant risk.
Whatever decision you make, good luck with your incubator. I've had bad experiences even with new ones (from Thermo Fisher).
 

jonatmudd
jonatmudd's picture
Hi Ivan,

Hi Ivan,
Thanks for your input!
Hmmm, so tempting to try to cut the corner to save $5K (at this point in my nascent career that's a signifcant $$$).  Not exactly reassuring that new ones from Thermo/Fisher haven't worked properly, but, as you point out, at least they are backed up with warranty.  Kind of surprising that they can be so finicky...they are really quite simple machines overall.  Sigh...
Thanks again for sharing your experience.
 

Ivan Delgado
Ivan Delgado's picture
 

 
Anytime. I wished I could point you towards a good used incubator (there are some instruments that in my experience are robust enough to buy used), but in my experience this is one of those instruments that are simply too critical to risk buying used. You are 100% right, they are very simple so there is no reason why they would be delicate, but they are. Plus it is also one of those piece of mind purchases. For example I am open to the idea of buying a used freezer, since they are pretty robust, but because of the critical nature of such an instrument I have always bought new. 
Good luck
 

Midsci
Midsci's picture
I understand your hesitance

I understand your hesitance for a new incubator, but check out our new incubators here:
http://shop.midsci.com/scategory/M50/335
If you request a quote, someone will get back with you as soon as possible.  With these incubators, you have the assurance that they will last a long time (up to 7 year warranty), and you won't have to worry about it being "sick" either.  If you would like to speak with someone about them, please feel free to call in, a real person will answer the phone!  If you have any questions, please let us know.

heehawmcduff
heehawmcduff's picture
Hi there,

Hi there,
In theory, if you completely chemical decontaminate the used incubator prior to use then you should be able to destroy any contaminants that may be lingering.  If it is a used incubator (and depending on the age of it) then the more important worry may be mechanical failure.
That said, my old lab had loads of 'ancient' incubators as well as modern ones and, if your culture requirements are not too rigorous, then a used one may work.  Having never cultured neurones personally, I don't know how sensitive they are to co2 / temp fluctuations.  If they are fairly robust cells, then you may be ok.
 

jonatmudd
jonatmudd's picture
Thanks to everyone for all

Thanks to everyone for all your helpful replies!
Thinking out loud, one other route to go may to buy a "cheap" model, instead of a nice one (say Napco 8000).  Anyone know of any reputable, affordable incubators?  Or is the concensus really that it is just best to buy a new one and have the peace of mind that it will be warrantied for 7 years---and work....and not be prone to grodies? 
Who knew incubators could cost about 1/2 what a car does?  Ah, the joys of setting up a new lab...

samm
samm's picture
My only experience with used

My only experience with used equipment off eBay has been a Sorval RC-5B - paid $330 for the centrifuge and $800 for S&H! The centrifuge including the refrigeration worked fine (~2 yrs now), but the rotor was actually warped, and derated to less than usuable gs. Fortunately, the instrument shop had the rotors from older decomminsioned Sorvalls, so we got the SS34 from them.
For your incubator, even if you do decide on a used one (which should be okay for most apps), ensure that you do a thourough decontam as suggested earlier (if its water-jacketed, flush the jacket 2x with autoclaved DI H2O).
Also calibrate the CO2 sensor - preferrably get an incubator with an IR sensor.

cellsleuth
cellsleuth's picture
 I realize this is an old

 I realize this is an old post, but the URL didn't work. I am trying to set up a third/fourth year undergrad cell biology course.  Can anyone recommend a good CO2 incubator?

The FFM
The FFM's picture
 what is your budget?

 what is your budget?

FYI - link above updated

cellsleuth
cellsleuth's picture
 $5000 or under

 $5000 or under