Does anybody have experience with laboratory automation via Arduino?

I'm just curious right now because I'm a long way from needing this. A lot of scientific equipment talks with RS232 (example), and you can get Arduino to talk to RS232.

A few questions crop up, for those who have done something like this:

  • What equipment was it, and what needed to be done?
  • What special sensors or effectors were used in the application?
  • Did the professional equipment come with a manual telling you how to interpret / send data along the serial link, or did you have to reverse engineer anything?
  • Was the programming relatively simple for your purposes, or did you have to dive into (digital) control theory for a proper outcome? (I haven't learned control theory yet so now would be a good time to know.)

Hi. I'm been working a long time in a clinical laboratory. I developed the program which controlls all the gestion of the patients, samples, results and reports. Of course, I had to deal with RS232. -The equipment I had connected to the main system was Cell counters (at least 3 differet models), Autoanalisers (at least 3 of them also), photometers (2 of them) ans ELISA readers ( a kind of photometers with a specific pourpose). The most of times, we needed only to recover the results of the instruments, understanding you have a way to identify the sample in the data transmitted. In a very particular case, I had to make a bi-directional comunication, in which I had to tell to the machine (a chemistry analiser) what test have to run with each sample. - As the instruments work by itselfs, they don't need any additional circuitery or sensors. - Regarding the documentation, the manuals used to come with de machine doesn't include this info (without some exceptions), but asking to the dealer for technical manuals I always got it without problems. - I'm not sure about your last question. If you are regarding the flow control, it's not a matter (unless you need to do make a really big computational task in the middle of the transmission). The flow control uses to be by software (xon-xoff protocol) unless you are dealing with very old machines which could use hardware protocols.