Removing broken column from 5977G MSD

While removing a column from an Agilent mass spec 5977B the column broke off and I can't figure out how to remove it.  I'm using MassHunter version (12/15/2021) but not actually using the mass spec but only the FID on the back.  If I start a sequence the GC 8890 gives the error code:  "front inlet shutdown.  The only way to run my sequence is to acknowledge the error between each run.  Normally I start my sequence at the end of the day, so this is not feasible. 

Is there any way to bypass the mass spec int the software?

Thank you!


  • If the column broke off and the ferrule is still stuck on the end of the transferline, you can grab the ferrule with a pliers and gently wiggle it to get it to release. The column piece should be attached to the ferrule. 

    If the column broke off inside the tranferline with no ferrule  - vent, open the analyzer door, cover the turbo pump with a lint-free cloth and use a 26 gauge (0.026") solid wire electric guitar string (not a wire-wound one) or a piece of 0.025" solid music wire pushed through from the oven side to push the column residue out of the transferline into the MS.  The 0.026" wire is the largest that will safely fit.

    If those don't work, the only alternative is to have the transferline weldment replaced.

    This happens when the transferline nut is overtightened.  It does not need to be all that tight. The maximum pressure you're sealing against is 14.7 psi and the sealing surfaces are very small, so the total pressure there only needs to be some few ounces/grams.  If you think you need to tighten it more, vent and replace the ferrule.

    Close MassHunter Acquisition. Open Agilent GCMS Configuration.  Create an Instrument 2 and call it something like " GC Only".  Mass Spectrometer Model: None.

    Click on the OK button.  Open the new "GC Only" instrument, load a method, and navigate to your Instrument 1 method and load it.  Then Save As -- and navigate to the instrument 2 method file location and save it as a new name.  Then you should be able to make sequences and run.

    Make sure that you don't leave the GCMS vented for too long.  It's best to have the MS pumping all the time and ready to use, of course.

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