LabOS Instrument Connector

Overview

LabOS communicates with all on-premises instruments through the Instrument Connector. An Instrument Connector must be installed in order to onboard and use laboratory instruments in LabOS.

By default Instrument Connectors run as a Windows Service. There is no UI, no CLI and no need for any user interaction. LabOS sends instrument commands to the Connector, which forwards them to the desired instrument(s) and returns the results. The target instrument can be connected to the Windows PC via a serial/USB cable or the network.

There is no hard limit on the number of instruments a single Instrument Connector can support, nor is there a hard limit on the number of Instrument Connectors customers can deploy in their labs.

Genie Instruments

All LabMate liquid handlers have an embedded Instrument Connector. No additional Instrument Connectors need to be installed to onboard and use a LabMate and any instrument directly attached to a LabMate (e.g. on-deck accessories or network-connected instruments).

Instrument Connector Installation

The installation must be performed by an administrator.

  • From the Windows PC, log in to LabOS.
  • Click on your name in the top right corner of the screen and select Connectors
  • Click on the + icon to add a new Connector
    • Download the Windows Connector installer
    • Generate a Registration Code (be sure to copy and save it)
    • Click the Claim button
  • Install the Instrument Connector on the PC, entering the registration code when prompted
  • A few seconds after the installation completes, refresh the Connector screen in LabOS. The installed Connector will be listed in the Connectors table. By default its name will be set to the registration code. You can click on the name to change it to something more user friendly.

Interactive Mode

Some instruments, such as BMG plate readers, do not support being controlled by a Windows Service and require the Instrument Connector to be run in interactive mode. Contact support@genielifesciences.com to check whether any of your instruments require running the Connector in interactive mode.

These steps must be performed by an administrator.

Disable Service

The first steps is to disable the Instrument Connector Service, so Windows does not start two instances of the Connector at the same time (which is not supported).

  • In the Windows Services app, right-click on the InstrumentConnector service and select Properties
    • Click Stop to stop the service
    • Change the Startup type to “Manual”
    • Click OK

Create Scheduler Task

The next step is to create a Scheduler task so the Instrument Connector is started in interactive mode each time a user logs in. When running in interactive mode, the Connector runs as a command line window that displays the Connector’s log. Minimize the window and let it run in the background. Interacting with this window can cause undesired side effects. For example, selecting text in this window (e.g., to copy the logs) causes Windows to suspend the Connector until the text is copied. The Connector will not be able to respond to LabOS requests while suspended.

  • Open the Windows Task Scheduler
  • Right-click on the Task Scheduler Library, select “Create Task…” and define the following:
    • In the General tab:
      • Set Name to “Instrument Connector”
      • Select the “Run with highest privileges“ checkbox.
    • In the Triggers tab
      • Click on “New…”
      • Set “Begin the task” to “At log on“
      • Click OK
    • In the Actions tab
      • Click on “New…”
      • Set “Program/script” to C:\Program Files\Instrument Connector\node.exe" (with quotes)
      • Set “Add arguments” to "C:\Program Files\Instrument Connector\src\index.js" (with quotes)
      • Set “Start in” to C:\Program Files\Instrument Connector
      • Click OK
    • In the Conditions tab
      • Deselect the “Start task only if the computer is on AC power“ checkbox
    • In the Settings tab:
      • Deselect the “Stop task if it runs longer than“ checkbox
      • Select the “If the task fails, restart every“ checkbox and set it to “1 minute” and “3 times“
    • Click OK
  • Right-click on the “Instrument Connector” task and select Run

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