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Opinions on Ultra-Low Freezers Please


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Lucky me - I get a new ultra-low freezer next quarter! The old one has been hanging on by a thread for several years now. It's time for it to retire.


I was hoping that Helmer's new ultra-lows would be out by now, but they're not going to be on the market until some time in 2015. So that takes them out of the running. We are thinking Panasonic/Sanyo because the one in send outs has been very reliable.


So I need opinions from those of you who have purchased or evaluated ultra-lows recently. Sanyo? Horizon Scientific? Nor-Lake? Anything else?



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We purchased the thermoscientific Hera freeze 13cu ft -86C model 8933 cat# HFU240BA, around $13000 with warranty and 7 day chart recorder. It is used mainly for reagent storage and as a backup method for dump freezing stem cells if our controlled rate fails (stem cells need colder than the standard plasma storage temp of -30ish to maintain viability). The door is opened only maybe a couple times a day.


We received it 9/13/12 and by 12/19/13 it had a compressor failure which required factory repair offsite. I got it back 2/10/14.


Because we had the 3 yr warranty, it didnt cost us anything, but I am still not real impressed by getting 1 year of service out of something that has such light usage. I would not recommend this particular unit. From talking to our facility HVAC guys, I get the impression a poorer quality of manufacture (less insulation, underpowered compressors, etc) is becoming much more common in the units currently sold. Management always wants to spend the least money, and these cheaper units are a response to that niche.  


So whatever you get, I would definitely recommend the extra money up front for extended warranty/service contract (compressor rebuild on our last freezer cost $5000)



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  • 1 month later...

Our ultra low freezer has a CO2 backup system.  We just found out that it has a battery deep inside to run the backup system which is dead and that we had the wrong kind of CO2 tanks connected to it so it couldn't have worked anyway.  Thanks to a recent planned power outage, my wonderful staff got into testing it more than average and discovered these problems now rather than at some crucial time when we needed the backup. We are getting the right CO2 tanks and will post a label of what is required and put the battery on the Facility Dept's check schedule.  


I thought I would share these foibles in case anyone else has a similar system and didn't realize these limitations about it. And maybe for someone considering buying such a system to understand the issues.  I can't think of the brand name right now, but it isn't one of the common ones.

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