Resource Hub / ChromaBLOGraphy / Cannot achieve constant peak widths Troubleshooting my Agilent 5973 MS

“Cannot achieve constant peak widths” – Troubleshooting my Agilent 5973 MS

21 Oct 2012

So my Agilent 5973 MS has been working like a gem, but I recently had to power it down. Recall from my previous blog, which I am sure you read, I had the power killed to my work bench. Although my system was working fine prior to the power down, I thought it would be good standard laboratory practice to tune my 5973 once I was back up running and pumped down. However upon doing so I was met with the following error:

Tue Oct 02 10:56:27 2012
App: msinsctl.exe, Method: VMS.M, RunType: Sampl, Vial: 1
DataFile: C:\MSDCHEM\1\DATA9281292812007.D
Macro: ADJ_MID_MASS, Cmd: widths 30,3
Cannot achieve constant peak widths.

a mountain range with snow

If I read “Cannot achieve constant peak widths” one more time, I am going to burn my 5973 to the ground. To better understand my disdain for the aforementioned error, here is a list of some things I checked out, cleaned, replaced, tinkered with, etc…

  1. Vacuum was good and air/ water was spot on.
  2. The source was spotless.
  3. Filaments were virtually brand new.
  4. Brand new ETP had been installed.
  5. PFTBA was topped off.
  6. Etc…

I probably missed a few details, but you get the picture. I went up one side of this instrument and down the other. Nothing would work!!! The odd thing of it all was that the instrument would start the tune off looking great. 69, 219, 502 were there and looking purdy! However, as the tune went on and the system was “refining” itself, it would go from good to bad. It was as if my instrument was possessed to self-destruct every tune.

Cannot achieve constant peak widths… Cannot achieve constant peak widths… Cannot achieve constant peak widths… I think a fellow co-worker heard me murmuring my new mantra to myself.

I finally reached a point where I knew this was electrical/software related. The only physical component left to the MS, which I had not tinkered with, was the quad. I knew I had a new side board recently replaced, so that narrowed it down to software. Instead of reinstalling Chemstation, I decided to just do a new configuration on the instrument.

To do so, click on the “config” icon on our desktop (if yours is missing, you may also find it at: c:\msdchem\MSexe\msconfig.exe). From there, click on the drop down tab “configure” and select “instrument 1”. Now all you need to do is click “next” 6 times and then “finish”… and PRESTO!!! If you had a corrupt tune file as it appears I did, this will cure what ails you! In the end, it turns out I was just chasing my tail around, as this corrupt tune file was never going to allow for a proper tune.