What speed do I need?
When shopping for a new centrifuge, you should focus more on its g-force capabilities than its speed capabilities. G-force, or relative centrifugal force, is the key to centrifugation. It's a measure of the gravitational force applied to samples as they spin. Speed, along with the radius of the rotor, are merely the factors used to calculate g-force.
Thus, two centrifuges set to spin at the exact same RPM (revolutions per minute) but with different rotors will generate two different amounts of g-force, and their respective samples won't separate to the same degree. As such, selecting a centrifuge based only on its speed can be misleading. By shopping with your g-force requirements in mind, you can rest assured that you'll find a centrifuge and rotor suitable for your work.
How can I tell if my rotor is compatible with my centrifuge?
Determining if a rotor will work with your centrifuge is as easy as checking the centrifuge's operation manual (don't have the manual? More on that below). Most manuals include a table detailing every compatible rotor. Should you not find a particular rotor in that table, it's safe to assume that the rotor is not compatible.
If no such table exists, however, you can usually find out if it's compatible simply by googling the rotor's model number. Many resellers specify the centrifuges compatible with each rotor they list for sale.
Do you have rotors compatible with my centrifuge?
How can I tell if my adapters are compatible with my rotor?
Much like rotors, you can check the centrifuge's manual to see which adapters its swing-bucket rotors accept. But if that information isn't in the manual, you can usually find the information by Googling the adapter's model number and viewing the listings for those adapters. Those listings often detail which rotors the adapter fits.
Do you have adapters compatible with my rotor?
How old is my centrifuge?
Some manufacturers encode a unit's manufacture date in its serial number. Beckman Coulter centrifuges, for instance, contain the last two digits of the year they were manufactured after the first three alphabetic characters. For example, a centrifuge with the serial number ALR06D12 was manufactured in 2006.
Not sure how your centrifuge's manufacturer encodes dates? Shoot a message over to their technical support team. Here's a few links to the support lines of other centrifuge manufacturers:
Where can I get my centrifuge's manual?
We have a wide collection of user manuals for all types of lab equipment, especially centrifuges. Contact us if you would like to enquire about a copy. If we don't have the manual for your particular unit, though, there's a few other sources you could try:
LabWrench — LabWrench is a forum dedicated to sharing news, documentation, and other information on lab equipment. There's always a chance your centrifuge's manual could be found on LabWrench.
MedWrench — Despite their similar names, MedWrench is completely unrelated to LabWrench. But its premise is the same: it's a product-focused forum for medical equipment, including certain centrifuges. If your centrifuge is approved for diagnostic use, you may find its documentation on MedWrench.
Finally, if all else fails, you could always just Google it! Lots of universities and other sources have manuals scattered around the web. However, make sure you only download files from a website you trust. We recommend only visiting the sites of manufacturers or educational institutions (sites ending in .edu) to remain safe.