Protocol Editor: The Deck (Part 2 of 4)

The base of the robot, referred to as the deck, is where all of the containers for the experiment live. Each robot comes with 15 slots that snugly fit 96 well plates, tube racks, tip racks and more. This post will first talk about all the types of containers, and then how to use them in the editor.

Container List

Before we get to how to use the containers, we’ll introduce all the supported containers so far.

Note: Some users have already begun making custom containers!

Tip Racks

  • tiprack-10ul


For a 10 uL pipette

  • tiprack-10ul-H


When a single channel pipette is on the right hand side, it can’t reach all the way to the left side of the deck. This rack enables a tip rack to be placed in the far left slots, but still be reachable by the pipette.

  • tiprack-200ul


For a 200 or 300 uL pipette

  • Tiprack-1000


For a 1000 uL pipette

Tube Racks & Troughs

  • tube-rack-.75ml


Fits 20 0.75 mL tubes

  • tube-rack-2ml


Fits 20 1.5-2 mL tubes

  • tube-rack-15_50ml


Fits 6 15 mL tubes and 4 50 mL tubes

  • trough-12row



  • 96-deep-well


  • 96-PCR-tall


  • 96-PCR-flat


  • PCR-strip-tall



As you may or may not have noticed, none of the above containers are labeled “trash," although a place to deposit used tips is a must for all protocols. Containers that utilize only a single point, such as trash receptacles or scales, can be defined as simply a “point."

Note: The trash container must always be named “trash” for the protocol to be processed.

Heat & Cold Decks

New additions to the OpenTrons container library: a heat deck and cold deck. The heat deck can hold a steady temperature up to 50°C, and the cold deck can go as low as 4°C. No need to keep refilling the ice, the cold deck will stay cold as long as your protocol demands! Both decks use a tube rack with the same dimensions as our 2 mL tube rack container, and can be labeled as such in the protocol editor.

Using the Containers

Now that you know what containers you can use, it’s time to head back to the Protocol Editor and actually use them! You can add, edit and delete containers in the Deck tab.

There are two parts to the container, the name and the labware identification. The name can be anything you would like, but keep in mind that this is the name you will use when referencing the containers in all instructions, so try and keep it short, sweet and descriptive for ease of use. The labware ID is syntax sensitive so it must match the container file name exactly.

Tip: Copy and paste container names from the above list to ensure your protocol is error-free.

See also: Creating a Protocol (Part 1), The Pipettes (Part 3), and The Instructions (Part 4).