Controlling ExiGo microfluidic pump with SmartFlo software

SmartFlo is a versatile software for control of Cellix's ExiGo syringe pumps and UniGo or 4U pressure pumps. You don't have to choose between syringe pumps and pressure pumps; you can have both in one set-up, smartly controlled by one seamless software, SmartFlo.


How to use Cellix's SmartFlo Software with the ExiGo pulse free syringe pump?

This article covers the following topics - you can read through all of them or click on the links to jump to the topic which interests you:

  1. Selecting the COM port

  2. Initialize the ExiGo pump

  3. Set and install the syringe

  4. Manual mode: How to set the Flow Rate?

  5. Defining channel dimensions and viscosity for Shear Stress units

  6. Pump manifold: 3-way valve

  7. ECO mode

1. Selecting the COM port

Before we initialize the pump, we need to make sure that the correct COM port is selected. SmartFlo should detect the correct COM port and establish communication with the pump automatically. However, in some cases, it may be required for the user to select the adequate COM port, for example, if two or more pumps are connected to different USB ports in the PC.

More than 2 pumps detected

If there are more than 2 pumps connected (each to an independent USB port), the following dialog should appear.

Please, select the correct COM port for the pump you would like to connect.


Pump not automatically detected

When the SmartFlo user interface is not able to detect that a pump is connected, a manual COM port selection menu should appear.

Please, select the correct COM port for your pump by clicking the “drop down arrow” and click ok, [1].


How to manually find the correct COM port

To manually check the COM port assigned to a pump, open the Device Manager of the PC. Within the section “Ports (COM & LPT)”, the COM port should appear under the name “USB Serial Port” or “ExiGo USB Serial Port”.

2. Initialize ExiGo Pump

The NOT INITIALIZED status means that the pump MUST be initialized prior to starting the assay. In order to initialize the pump, please follow these steps:

  1. Remove any installed syringe on the pump, [2]. Then double click on the pump’s plunger image to begin the initialization.

  2. The user interface will ask for confirmation and then it will move the pump drive to the home position. Once the pump is initialized, the status will change to STOPPED.


3. Set and Install the Syringe

How to set the Syringe type

The type of syringe used during the experiment must be defined prior to starting the assay. To set the syringe, please complete the following steps:

Syringe clamp
  1. Double click on the syringe image in the user interface.

  2. A Syringe Selector window will appear. *

  3. Select the desired syringe and click SET or double click on the selected syringe to set it.

*NOTE : compatible syringes pre-loaded in the SmartFlo program include:

Defining a custom syringe

To create a “new” syringe, open the Syringe Selector by double clicking the Syringe Icon on the Home page.












1. Click on the + sign to create a new custom syringe.

2. In the pop-up window, enter the name, manufacturer and part number.

3. Enter the volume and the length, [3], of the syringe.

4. Click OK.

5. Click on the Save button to save changes.











Installing & clamping the syringe in place

  • Remove the syringe clamp.

  • Place the syringe in the pump with the body resting on the front of the pump (position 1) and the plunger resting in position 2. Move the position of the pump’s plunger if required.

  • Put the syringe clamp back in place (position 1) and tighten the screws firmly. Tighten the thumb screw (position 2) to secure the syringe plunger.

  • Please note that the syringe clamp is reversible, depending on the syringe to be installed. See table below:


Move the plunger to the initial required position

In most cases, the position of the pump after initialization will not be suitable for placing the syringe. To move the pump, simply drag the pump plunger on the user interface and drop it to the required position. An indicator of the approximate volume displaced during the pump movement will appear.






4. Manual mode: How to set the Flow Rate?

There are two different units you may choose to set the flow rate manually:

  • Flow Rate Units (L/min) or

  • Shear Stress Units (dyne/cm2)

Flow Rate Units

  1. Click in the flow rate indicator

  2. Set the desired flow rate value. Use the + and the - controls to change to positive (push mode) or negative (pull mode) flow rates. Click on ✅ to accept the changes.

  3. The flow rate you set should now appear within the flow rate indicator. Press SET in order to update the pump flow rate.

  4. Once the flow rate has been set, press the RUN button to start the assay.

Shear Stress Units

In order to set the flow rates in Shear Stress units, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The channel dimensions of your fluidic channel must be defined

  2. The viscosity of your media/sample/buffer must be set.

  1. Change the indicator to dynes/cm^2 by clicking the SHEAR button.

  2. Input the desired shear stress value. Use the + and the - controls to change to positive or negative flow rates. Click on ✅ to accept the changes.

  3. The shear stress value you set should now appear within the flow rate indicator. Press SET in order to update the pump flow rate set point. Once the shear stress is set, press the RUN button to start the assay.


5. Defining channel dimensions and viscosity for Shear Stress units

To define the dimensions of your fluidic channel and the viscosity of your media/sample/buffer:

  1. In the Manual Tab, click SETTINGS.

  2. In the settings window, click on the Biochip Icon.

  3. Select your Cellix Biochip or define the geometry for your custom biochip/channel Select your media or input the viscosity of your custom media in dyne x s /cm2.

  4. Click UPDATE.

Channel Dimensions and Viscosity

6. Pump Manifold: 3-way valve

Defining valve settings

The Pump Manifold is a 3-way valve, compatible with the ExiGo syringe pump which facilitates the pumping of fluid into one of three microfluidic channels at a time, [4]. The pump manifold can be programmed to automatically switch between fluidic channels and is extremely useful for applications which require:

  • Automatic refilling of the syringe.

  • Asynchronous injection of a reagent in multiple channels.

  • Continuous perfusion over long periods of time including sample recirculation, [5].



Defining valve settings and refill speed

To operate the pump manifold for recirculation:

  1. In the Manual Tab, click the VALVE button

  2. Select the Output valve (you can select from three available channels), click NEXT

  3. Select refill valve (you can select from three available channels), click NEXT

  4. Select the refill speed, click OK

7. ECO mode

If the ExiGo pump is overheating due to long-term continued use, it is possible to set the ECO mode to reduce the torque and thus, reduce the heat generated by the motor.


This is only recommended if the heat generated by the motor is affecting your sample or having an impact on your setup. The recommended option is to have the ECO mode disabled.

To change the pump to ECO mode:

  1. In the Manual Tab, click SETTINGS

  2. In the settings window, click on the Advanced settings Icon ⚙️

  3. Click ECO MODE to turn the ECO mode ON or OFF

If you have more questions about the SmartFlo Software or want to learn more, check out our website at wearecellix.com, or get in contact with us at info@wearecellix.com.

Start your upgrade today!


References

  1. If your COM port is not in the list, please ensure that the USB cable is properly connected between the pump and the PC, then click Refresh and try again.

  2. Warning: Failure to remove any installed syringe may cause the pump to malfunction during the initialisation

  3. The length usually corresponds to the graduated area only. Check with the syringe’s manufacturer for more details.

  4. Each channel can be used as an input or an output.

  5. Additional Equipment may be required.

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