Heka Patch Clamp Amplifiers (EPC 10 USB)

Heka Patch Clamp Amplifiers (EPC 10 USB)

The EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, combined with a computer and PATCHMASTER software is a fully equipped recording setup.

  • Computer controlled via PatchMaster Software
  • Integrated data acquisition
  • Three headstage configurations available
  • Available in Single, Double, Triple, and Quadro versions
  • Expandable to as many as 64 recording channels

Item# Description U.S. List Price Quantity
89-5000 EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, Single
89-5001 EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, Double
89-5002 EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, Triple
89-5003 EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, Quadro
89-5093 Heka pipette holder, 1.3 mm
89-5094 Heka pipette holder, 1.5 mm
89-5095 Heka pipette holder, 1.7 mm
89-5096 Heka pipette holder, 2.0 mm
89-5042 PATCHMASTER Upgrade
89-5047 FITMASTER Pro
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Models and Features

epc 10 usb

EPC 10 Single

EPC 10 USB Single Patch Clamp Amplifier – The EPC 10 USB is a complete data acquisition system, which can be used with HEKA’s PatchMaster software. A DLL (dynamic link library) is available for software developers who are interested in writing their own Windows data acquisition software.

The EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier, combined with a computer and PATCHMASTER software is equivalent to a fully equipped recording setup, which includes a patch clamp amplifier, a digital storage oscilloscope, a variable analog filter, a sophisticated pulse generator, and a full featured data acquisition and analysis system.

epc 10 usb double

EPC 10 USB Double, Triple, Quadro

The EPC 10 USB Double, Triple and Quadro amplifiers are the optimal instruments for performing multiple patch/cell experiments. Although two, three or four amplifiers are combined in a single housing, along with the built-in LIH 8+8 interface, each amplifier is completely independent. The amplifiers and headstages are clearly identified, so the user can immediately assign the amplifiers to particular patched cells. The PatchMaster software can simultaneously stimulate and acquire the response from each amplifier. Current and/or voltage signals from all of the amplifiers can be recorded, displayed and analyzed online.

epc 10 usb quadro

The EPC 10 USB Double, Triple and Quadro amplifiers also provide an economical solutions in comparison to a combination of several individual instruments. They also have advantages of optimized noise performance, grounding, data acquisition and data storage, convenience and ease of integration over multiple external amplifiers.



The EPC 10 USB family of amplifiers can be used, for example, for any of the following applications:

  • Low noise single-channel recordings.
  • Low noise whole-cell patch clamp recordings: voltage clamp and current clamp/Low Frequency Voltage Clamp (LFVC).
  • Measurements of fast action potentials (AP), fast switching between voltage and current clamp and vice versa.
  • Loose-patch recordings.
  • Intracellular voltage recordings with high resistance electrodes.
  • Field potential recordings.
  • Recordings from artificial membranes (Bilayer Recordings) and nanopores.
  • Study Synaptic Transmission by simultaneous stimulation/recording from multiple cells (e.g. pre- and post-synaptic cells).
  • Study of Long Term Potentiation (LTP) and Long Term Depression (LTD).

Study of Exocytosis/Endocytosis or Synaptic Transmission by:

  • Measurement of whole-cell membrane capacitance
  • Measurement of on-cell membrane capacitance
  • Detection of released substances (amperometry with e.g. carbon fiber electrodes)
  • Detection of released substances under a patch (patch amperometry)
  • Combined membrane capacitance measurements with amperometry (using EPC 10 USB Double)
  • Combined patch amperometry and on-cell capacitance measurements (using EPC 10 USB Double)

All above mentioned methods can be combined with photometric determination of, for example, the internal calcium ion concentration.


Red Star Headstage

All EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifiers are now shipped standard with the Red Star Headstage with improved noise performance. Especially the most relevant bandwidth between 1 and 10 kHz is now significantly improved.

redstar headstage

RMS noise values, Red Star Headstage EPC 10 vs. EPC 9

  • 1 kHz 31 fA vs 35 fA
  • 3 kHz 72 fA vs 90 fA
  • 5 kHz 120 fA vs 150 fA

  • Improved noise performance in the important 1 – 10 kHz band
  • Three feedback resistors for three gain ranges, switchable during the experiment
  • Optimized for single-channel and whole-cell recordings
  • Retrofittable on older EPC 10 amplifiers

The unique feature of the S-Probe is the massively reduced size (49 x 16.5 x 14 mm) and weight (24g) compared to our standard headstages. This increases the area of applications e.g. wherever the experimental space is limited or where the weight of the headstage itself matters. The cable is very flexible and therefore prevents cable stress.

The electrical specifications of the S-Probe are identical to our standard Red Star Headstage. In addition it has the feature of an optional bath sense connection which gives it the opportunity to operate in the 3 Electrode Mode (see 3 Electrode Mode Headstage).

3-Electrode Mode Headstage (Optional)

3 electrode headstage

With the 3-Electrode Headstage the EPC 10 USB can measure the potential difference between a third electrode (reference) and the ground (counter) electrode without having current flowing through the reference electrode. The reference electrode stays in equilibrium! The potential difference is added to the command potential for the working electrode.

With the 3-Electrode Mode Headstage, the EPC 10 USB patch clamp amplifier has the performance of a high-end potentiostat/galvanostat with a scan range of ± 2 V.

Patch Amperometry Headstage (Optional)

patch amperometry headstage

The detection of released substances from cells as oxidation current at carbon fiber electrodes is often directly combined with electrical measurements from cells.

A typical measuring configurations is patch amperometry combined with on-cell capacitance measurements.



The EPC 10 USB family of amplifiers can be controlled with PatchMaster software on either Windows (XP, Win7, Win8, Win10) or Mac (OS X 10.4+) platform. PatchMaster is a multi-channel stimulation/acquisition and control software. For more details please refer to the PatchMaster brochure.

Complete amplifier control

Each amplifier can be accessed through the software and many tasks such as compensation of capacitance values can be automated and executed on a single mouse click or button press.

Amplifier parameters can be read and set from the software allowing sophisticated control loops.

Sophisticated design of your stimulation protocols

The Pulse Generator window within PatchMaster defines all of the parameters for data acquisition, waveform generation and external device control. A Pulse Generator File (PGF) is comprised of any number of predefined sequences

Entire experimental procedures at the touch of a button

Simple or complex experimental procedures can be designed and stored within the Protocol Editor and executed from the Control Window of PatchMaster.

The idea is to generate a list of events or tasks, which comprise your complete experiment, and can be executed automatically. Within a procedure, feedback from external inputs, amplifier controls, online analysis results or user inputs and experimental parameters can be adjusted. A protocol can be started/called from another protocol. Various tasks such as repeat loops, input queries or conditional statements allow for the generation of complex interactive processes.

Scientists asking for complex, precisely timed experimental protocols will appreciate the vast array of features within the Protocol Editor. The high degree of automation options will increase efficiency and minimize experimental errors.



Number of
EPC 10 USB Single  1 
EPC 10 USB Double  2 
EPC 10 USB Triple  3 
EPC 10 USB Quatro  4 
Fully software controlled patch clamp amplifier featuring e.g. direct access to all amplifier settings, automatic calibration and self testing/diagnosis procedures.   
 Host Interface  USB 2.0   
 Dimensions Main Unit  Single  Double  Triple  Quadro
 Depth x Width 31.1 x 48.3 cm (12.3 x 19.0 in )  
 Height   14.5 cm (5.7 in)  18.0 cm (7.1 in)  26.9 cm (10.6 in)
 Mounts in a 19" rack
 Weight Main Unit    Single  Double  Triple  Quadro
 11.4 kg (24.8 lb)  112.2 kg (16.5 lb)  15.3 kg (33.3 lb)  16.5 kb (38.9 lb)
 D x W x H: 90 x 17 x 14.5 mm  (3.54 x 0.67 x 0.57 in)   
 Power Supply Power requirements are 125 Watt. The logic controlled power supply automatically switches the voltage range. It operates in the ranges 90 V to 120 V and 210 V to 250 Vat line frequencies of 50 or 60 Hz. A shielded transformer minimizes noise pickup from power line frequencies   
 Ground Lines A Signal ground is accessible via a Banana plug on the front panel of the main unit and via a connector pin on the headstage. In case of EPC 10 Double, Triple and Quadro, all amplifiers share the same ground.

A Chassis ground is accessible via a Banana plug on the front panel of the main unit. Chassis and Signal ground are connected via a 10 MQ resistor.   


Voltage Clamp Mode

Measuring Resistors 
 The headstage provides three feedback resistors. The gain ranges can be switched during the experiment.    
Low gain range (5 MΩ):
Medium gain range (500 MΩ):
High gain range (50 GΩ):
± 2 µA current range  
± 20 nA current range
± 200 pA
Current Gain Settings Low gain range:
Medium gain range:
High gain range:
0.005, 0.01, 0.02, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 mV/pA 
0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 mV/pAe 
50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 mV/pA 
Input Capacitance <1 pF    
Noise performance Measured with open input via external 8-pole Bessel filter  
  Medium gain range: up to 1 kHz:
up to 3 kHz:
up to 10 kHz:
 ~180 fA rms (theoretical limit)
~320 fA rms (theoretical limit)
~580 fA rms
  High gain range: up to 1 kHz:
up to 3 kHz:
up to 10 kHz:
~31 fA rms (theoretical limit)
~72 fA rms (theoretical limit)
~350 fA rms


100 kHz (low and medium gain range), >60 kHz (high gain range  
Current Filter

Filter 1 is a 6-pole Bessel pre-filter with 10 kHz, 30 kHz, 100 kHz, and HQ 30 kHz. The EPC 10 USB Single, Double, and Triple allow to directly sample the current signal of Filter 1.

Filter 2 is a 4-pole filter with 100 Hz to 15 kHz bandwidth with selectable Bessel or Butterworth characteristics. Filter 2 is usable in series with Filter 1 or as separate filter for external signals.  
Holding Potential

Software controlled holding within a ± 2000 mV range

External Stimulus Input (VC)

Via a BNC connector at the front panel an external stimulus input can be added to the internal set holding potential. An external stim scaling circuit allows scaling of the external stimulus with a factor in the range of ±1.0.


Compensations in Voltage Clamp Mode

Pipette Offset Potential Compensation Automatic or manual adjustment of the offset potential in the range ±200 mV

 Injection Capacitors

The C-Fast compensation signal is injected via a 1 pF capacitor. The C-Slow compensation signals are injected via a 10 pF capacitor in medium and low gain and via a 1 pF capacitor in high gain range.
 C-Fast Compensation Automatic or manual compensation in all gain ranges:
0 to 15 pF, 0 to 8 µs tau (calibrated)
0 to ~80 pF (Extended C-Fast)
 C-Slow Compensation Automatic or manual compensation in all gain ranges:
0.2 to 1000 pF (low and medium range) 0.2 to 100 pF (high range)
Rs range 1 M;Omega; to 1 G;Omega
Synchronous C-Slow Compensation The EPC 10 USB Double, Triple and Quadro provide the option for synchronous C-Slow compensation pulses on multiple cells. This is essential for using the C-Slow compensation when measuring on multiple electrically connected cells.
Series Resistance Compensation Maximal compensation is 95% with the optimal setting being dependent on the cell capacitance.
Equivalent time constants: 2, 5, 10, and 100 µs
Hardware Leak Subtraction Automatic or manual linear leak subtraction in all gain ranges:
0 to 2 nS (high range)
0 to 200 nS (medium range)
0 to 20 µS (low range).
Injection time constant: 100 µs
Software Leak Subtraction A versatile p/n leak subtraction is provided in combination with the PATCHMASTER software.


Other VC Features

Zap Pulse Provided by the PATCHMASTER software. The amplitude (up to ±1 V) and duration is programmable.
Audio Resistance Monitor A 3.5 mm jack is provided at the rear panel for connecting phones or speakers. Volume and Resistance/Frequency ratio can be adjusted by the PATCHMASTER software.
Frequency range: 1 Hz to 10 kHz.

 Current Clamp Mode

Current Injection     Four current injection gains are selectable:  

0.1 pA/mV range:
1 pA/mV range
10 pA/mV range:
100 pA/mV range:


±1 nA
±10 nA
±100 nA
±1 µA

In the “Extended Stimulus Range” the current injection capability in current clamp mode is increased by factor of “5”.  
Voltage Gain  Two gains are selectable:  Bit resolution:
V-mon x 10:
V-mon x 100:
±1000 mV
±100 mV
30 µV
3 µV
Voltage Filter  Filter 2 setting do also allow the filtering of the voltage signal in a current clamp measurement.  
Voltage Measuring Range The voltage measuring range is ± 1 V (± 5 V when using the “Extended Stimulus Range”) in current clamp mode.  
External Stim
Input (CC)
Via a BNC connector at the front panel an external stimulus input can be added to the internally set holding current. The scaling factor is determined by the selected current injection gain.  
 C-Fast in CC Mode C-Fast is active in current clamp mode to allow voltage recordings at high bandwidth.  
 Bridge Mode The voltage drop across the pipette resistance can be compensated.  
Low Frequency Voltage Clamp (LFVC) Automatic current tracking readjusts the holding current to fix any slow voltage drift while in current clamp mode  
Gentle Switch When switching from voltage to current clamp, the holding current is automatically set to the “I-mon” in voltage clamp mode.  
Fast Mode Switching The PATCHMASTER software allows to rapidly switch between current and voltage clamp mode and vice versa during data acquisition.  


DA/AD Converter

Stimulation Number of DA-converters:
Settling Time:
DA output voltage range:
Number of AD-converters:
DA/AD resolution:
Fastest Sampling Rate:
2 channels
8 channels
1 µs
± 10 V
16 bit 
200 kHz
50 kHz  
Free DA Channels:

EPC 10 USB Single
EPC 10 USB Double
EPC 10 USB Triple
EPC 10 USB Quadro

Free AD Channels: EPC 10 USB Single
EPC 10 USB Double
EPC 10 USB Triple
EPC 10 USB Quadro
Digital Input/Output

Digital I/O:16 digital in and 16 digital out channels are provided on a 40 pin male connector on the rear panel.
Digital In:16 channels provided at the Digital In connector on the rear panel.
Digital Out:16 channels provided at the Digital Out connector on the rear panel, three of them are also provided via BNC on the front panel.
Trigger In:Via 1 BNC connector on the front panel data acquisition can be triggered externally.

Master/Slave Sync

2 CAT5 connectors for synchronization of a second amplifier/interface system are provided at the rear panel.









Use for Brochures Use for Manuals
bro_epc10usb.pdfEPC 10 Brochure
m_epc10.pdfEPC 10 USB Manual