Operating dragonfly discovery

Using the lights

dragonfly discovery has LEDs to illuminate the working area and facilitate filling reservoirs or
inserting syringes. To turn them on and off use the light switch shown below.

Loading syringes

If you are running an experiment layer by layer, select the layer that is to be run next and go to the ‘Setup’ page. The relevant syringe positions are highlighted in blue.

  1. Install a plunger into each syringe as shown below
    Note: Care should be taken when removing the syringes from the packaging and installing them in dragonfly discovery as the tip can easily be damaged, resulting in poor dispense performance.
    Note: Care should also be taken to ensure that only one plunger has been loaded into a syringe, as more than one plunger in a syringe can cause significant damage to the instrument.
  2. Use the button to the right-hand side of the syringe clamp to open the syringe guard.
    Drop the syringe guard to allow syringes to be loaded.
  3. Load assembled syringes into the positions highlighted on the setup page.
    Syringes are loaded by sliding them into the slots at the front of the machine. There are up to five slots and two syringes are loaded into each. The backmost, leftmost syringe corresponds to positions A1. The front left syringe corresponds to position B1.For a back-row syringe, slide the syringe until it stops then push upwards and rotate 90 degrees in the direction shown below. For a front row syringe, push upwards while sliding the syringe into the slot, when it pushes into a hole then rotate as below.

    The syringe plate securely locates the syringes and has access slots to help you guide the
    syringes to their correct position.
  4. When all syringes are loaded, reset the syringe guard by lifting it manually upward until it
    clicks into position.

Check loading

When a syringe has been loaded correctly a green 'syringe present' indication light is shown in that syringe position. Check that lights are shown in all highlighted syringe positions. If the green light fails to light then check the syringe is properly twisted into position; failing that remove the syringe and try another.

Loading syringes after initial aspiration

If you need to load additional syringes after the initial aspirate:

  1. Use the 'Open' button to open the tip guide clamp.
    The clamp automatically closes prior to a dispense run and ensures that the tips are
    accurately positioned relative to the well plate. In normal operation the clamp will not open
    until the run has completed.
  2. When the tip clamp is open, take great care to only remove syringes which are not already
    aspirated, as this can cause serious damage to the machine. If you try and remove a syringe
    while the dispensing head plunger rod is down, you are likely to damage the plunger rod,
    which will require a service visit.
  3. Load the syringes.

Filling and loading reservoirs

To fill and load the reservoirs:


Fill each reservior with at least the corresponding Required Volume (μL).




If the available reagent volume is limited then it is possible to minimise this additional volume, please contact reliance if you need to do this.


2. Slide the reservior tray into the filling position.

Optionally, you can remove the reservoir tray from the drive assembly, before loading the

3. Load the reservoirs into the correct positions.

    The position mapping on the Setup page matches the locations in on the loading tray. If the
    number of liquids exceeds the number of heads then not all liquids will be assigned to

4. If you removed the reservoir tray, reposition it on the drive assembly. The guide slots will
    help you position it correctly.

5. Return the tray to the aspirate position, it should be pulled into its correct position as it
    approaches the location stop. The software will also warn you when the loading tray is not in
    the correct position.

The reservoir plate must be in position under the syringes to aspirate liquid. If the plate is not
correctly located the instrument will not enable the reservoir drive and an alert will be displayed.

Aspirating liquids

Once you have loaded the syringes and filled reservoirs, and the loading tray is correctly located,
liquid can be aspirated.

Press the ‘Aspirate’ button.

The system will first raise the reservoirs and begin removing air from the syringes, then aspirate
the required volume and perform the pre-dispense shots.

NOTE: pressing 'Run' will aspirate liquids automatically, and immediately start dispensing. Use 'Aspirate' if there is a need to aspirate without immediately dispensing.

Using Advanced Aspiration to re-aspirate a reagent

If the total dispense volume for any liquid exceeds the 4mL capacity of the syringe, then splitting
the liquid between several syringes is a possible solution if there are syringes which are unused.
The dragonfly discovery, however, has the capability to re-aspirate once it runs out of liquid as
long as the volume does not exceed the maximum reservoir capacity of 10mL.

Use 'Advanced Aspiration' to aspirate enough liquid to run the same layer multiple times. The
amount of liquid aspirated is limited to the capacity of syringes – any remaining multiples that
cannot be aspirated will be forgotten.

Setup ► Advanced ► Advanced Aspiration.

When changing the multiplier, dispense, aspirate and total required volume will update.

Positioning the well plate

If you have a DWB dragonfly discovery, use the insert with shallow plates. The software will
prompt you when it is needed.

With all instruments, if prompted by the software, position the booster plate e.g. for a 384 well
PCR plate.

Insert the plate into the nest, or on top of the insert.

Well A1 must be in the top left position on the nest.

Starting the run

Before running the experiment, make sure:

  • the tip guard is raised
  • the reservoir tray is clicked into position

If they are not in position, warning messages are shown in the status bar at the bottom of the
window. Correct any errors before you try and start a run.

Select the Run tab and press the ‘Run’ button.

Once the experiment is running, a blue status bar message shows that the instrument is busy and the LED status indicator shows a blue light.

If the instrument goes into error, the status bar shows a red alarm message.

Check the Status view for the details of the error.

Using the incubation lid

To park the plate under the incubation lid, press ‘Park Under Lid’.

Removing the plate during the run

To release the plate for removal e.g. to spin down the contents, press ‘Park & Release’.

The plate stage will remain in the accessible 'park' position for you to reposition the plate and

Stopping a run before completion

To stop a run before completion then press the ‘Stop’ button next to the ‘Run’ button.

After the run

When your experiment has completed:

  1. Return to the Setup tab.
  2. Position reservoirs under each of the syringes which were used, to collect remaining reagent
    when you empty the syringe.
  3. Select any syringes which you intend to reuse in the same position. Use 'Purge' to empty
  4. Select the syringes that you are going to dispose of, then select 'Remove'.
  5. After you have used Remove to empty the syringes, and the piston rods have been retracted
    into the head, you can physically remove them.

    NOTE: If you try to remove a syringe body with the plunger rod down, it is possible that damage to the dispensing rod may occur and could result in a service call

              1. Use the button to the right-hand side of the Syringe Clamp to open it.

              2. Twist the syringes to disengage them, and remove them for disposal.


Before shutting down all syringes should be removed. To close down the dragonfly software and
shut down the instrument, click the Close button at the top right corner of the application window.

When the software application is closed, the instrument may be turned off using the power

NOTE: Always follow the above procedure for shutting down the instrument. Do not switch the
instrument off before exiting or closing down the software. Do not remove the Ethernet Cable between the PC/Laptop and the instrument before shutting down. Do not switch off the PC/Laptop before shutting down as described above.

Next article - Timing