How do I get rid of a block contamination error on my Agilent AriaMX?

This article describes the steps to follow if a block contamination error is observed.

A Block Contamination error is commonly caused by dirt/debris or scratches in or around the heat block area of the instrument which affects surface reflection characteristics used for background signal level calculations. The recommendation is to clean the wells, the heat block and surrounding areas, and the filter cartridges.

Please see below the protocol for cleaning.

  1. Use aerosol can to remove dust from thermal block wells, Thermal Plate and sample loading area.
  2. Wipe down hot top lid, thermal plate, thermal block and sample loading area with moistened lint-free cloth.
  3. Remove cartridges and examine the optical surface for any fingerprints or smudges. Wipe with lint-free cloth or Kimwipe. Apply 70 - 80% Ethanol or isopropanol to the cloth or Kimwipe tissue and clean the optical surfaces.
  4. Visually inspect the individual wells with 2-3x magnifier light and remove any
    obvious contaminants.
  5. Fill wells with 120 ul deionized H2O using multichannel pipette.
  6. Remove water and rinse with 120 ul 70 - 80% Ethanol or isopropanol.
  7. Heat block for 5 min at 95C.
  8. Allow instrument thermal system to cool to room temperature.
  9. Perform Motor Calibration procedure.

Log into instrument as Admin. Password is ‘ADMIN’ or ‘admin’. Then go to Settings > Run Motor Calibration. You will need a full plate filled with 20 uL ddH20 to do the calibration.

  1. Perform Background Calibration as cartridges were removed.

Doing so should get rid of the Block Contamination error. If the errors are not removed, please contact Agilent Technical Support:


T: +1 800 227 9770 , Option 3-4