1. Clarity or Clarity Lite
See the detailed pages for Clarity and Clarity Lite. Clarity is appropriate for all systems, but Clarity Lite may save you money if you have a single HPLC or GC instrument, your require no instrument control, and you work in an unregulated environemnt (no audit trails required etc). Clarity Lite is significantly less expensive, and you can upgrade at any time. However it is less expensive to buy the full version in the first place, than to buy Clarity Lite and then upgrade.
2. Which A/D Converter
If you are buying the Instrument Control Option or the Diode Array Option, you may not need an A/D converter. Otherwise at least one A/D converter will be required.
You will need one A/D channel for each detector on each instrument. (Remember that a dual channel instrument counts as 2). A/D channels can be shared between instruments connected to the same computer.
There are three choices:
INT7 cards. These are internal cards mounted in a PCI slot inside the computer. They do not require a separate power supply. They are available with 1,2 or 4 channel capacity, and you can have as many as your computer has PCI slots free. Rather than run out of capacity later, we recommend ordering the 4-channel cards unless you are certain you will never need the capacity.
U-PAD. This is a 2-channel A/D converter that plugs into a USB port on the computer. It has its own power supply that needs to be plugged in. It is useful if a portable A/D converter is required, if no PCI slots are available, or if Clarity is to be installed on a portable computer.
NetPAD. This is a 2 channel A/D converter which plugs into a LAN hub. As long as the computer with Clarity installed is on the network, it will be able to see the NetPAD. It requires its own power supply, which must be on at the point when Clarity boots up. The main advantages of the NetPAD are that it eliminates the need for long wires when an instrument is situated on another bench, and it allows Clarity to be controlled and monitored from an office. However, using this option, you will need to have network access and firewall permissions before you can install the NetPAD on a company's netwaork!
Note that the NetPAD and the U-PAD are the same price as a 4-channel INT7 card, so it is always better to buy the card unless you specifically need the advantages offered by the other options.
3. Which Add-ons to buy
There are various toppings you might like to consider:
Single System Upgrade. If you wish to interface with more than one LC or GC system to the same computer, you will need an Extra System Upgrade for each one. Up to four systems in total can interface to a single Clarity installation. Bear in mind that each system opens in several windows (Control, Data monitoring, Results, Calibration etc) so it can be quite confusing to have four complete systems open at once. You will also require quite a big screen to be able to work with four systems at once even if you are just monitoring the chromatograms. It can be done, but we recommend no more than 2-3 instruments per Clarity installation.
Instrument Control. If you have pumps for which Clarity has a driver available, you may wish to invest in the Instrument Control option. This allows flow rates to be built into a method, the pump to be stopped at the end of a run, and High Pressure Mixing gradients to be formed if more than one pump is available. See the List of Controlled Instruments to see if this option could be of use to you.
Autosampler control. Certain autosamplers can be controlled by Clarity. If you have one of these you may like to choose the Autosampler Control option. Bear in mind that the sample names etc are set in the data system and not the autosampler anyway, so this option only saves a little time programming the number of runs and the start and end vial. It is still possible to place vials in the wrong place, choose the wrong run time, or the wrong vial range. But it does make it easier to programme an autosampler which is not easy to interact with! See the List of Controlled Instruments to see if this option is available to you.
GPC. If you wish to do GPC as well as HPLC, then this option is for you. Even if you only want to do GPC, you will need this option.
Diode Array. If a driver is available for your PDA detector, you can collect 3D data in Clarity using this option.
Clarity Off-line. This is an additional off-line Clarity licence which allows you to process and analyse data on a different computer, such as at home, in a training room or in another office. It costs very little, and one licence is currently available free to Universities purchasing a full copy of Clarity.
System Suitability Test. this option allows you to set limits for column efficiency, retention times etc, so that data which is out of spec is rejected.
4. Computer and printer
We supply a Dell PC with Clarity. You are welcome to source your own PC, and may find that a local source of PC technical support is useful. If you have an IT department, this is their chance to earn their considerable salary. If not, you need to know where to go if the wheels come off. We can supply the computer if required, but do not offer on-site visits for computer-related problems. Regarding a printer, a colour printer makes the best use of the coloured output from Clarity, and a Laser Printer gives more lasting results. Reporting in Clarity is so easy you will be able to produce top quality reports in minutes!