Patch Clamp Amplifier (PC-505B)

Patch Clamp Amplifier (PC-505B)

The lowest noise, switchable, resistive-feedback patch clamp amplifier currently available.

  • Lowest noise! Approaches theoretical limit
  • Calibrated cap comp and series R circuitry
  • % compensation circuitry
  • Independent V hold and I hold controls
  • Zap safety switch
  • LED meter

Item# Description U.S. List Price Quantity
64-0000 PC-505BLC Patch Clamp PC-505B with LC-201B Headstage (50 G Ohm/500 M Ohm). Specify glass size (outside diameter) to be used with the holder and line operating voltage if other than 100-130 VAC. Supplied with model cell and rack mount hardware.
64-0001 PC-505BHC Patch Clamp PC-505B with HC-202B Headstage (50 G Ohm/50 M Ohm). Specify glass size (outside diameter) to be used with the holder and line operating voltage if other than 100-130 VAC. Supplied with model cell and rack mount hardware.
64-0002 PC-505BHB Patch Clamp PC-505B with -205B Headstage Bilayer. Specify glass size (outside diameter) to be used with the holder and line operating voltage if other than 100-130 VAC. Supplied with model cell and rack mount hardware.
64-0004 LC-201B 50 G Ohm/500 M Ohm Headstage
64-0005 HC-202B 50 G Ohm/50 M Ohm Headstage
64-0006 BS4-205B 50 G Ohm Headstage for Bilayer
64-2300 (TH-1) Replacement handle with 6-32 female thread (fits Warner headstages)
64-0455 (PV-830) Power Line Conditioner
1000 VA, 120 VAC 60HZ
64-0456 (PV-830CE) Power Line Conditioner 1000 VA, 220 VAC 50/60HZ
64-0821 Q-Series with 1 mm Pin; Wire with Straight Connector and Port, 1.0 mm Glass OD
64-0822 Q-Series with 1 mm Pin; Wire with Straight Connector and Port, 1.2 mm Glass OD
64-0823 Q-Series with 1 mm Pin; Wire with Straight Connector and Port, 1.5 mm Glass OD
64-0978 Q-Series with 1 mm Pin; Wire with Straight Connector and Port, 1.7 mm Glass OD
64-0824 Q-Series with 1 mm Pin; Wire with Straight Connector and Port, 2.0 mm Glass OD
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The PC-505B is the lowest noise, switchable, resistive-feedback patch clamp amplifier currently available. This new model also has features of particular interest to those doing whole cell studies. The slow capacitance compensation circuitry has been combined into a single control and allows direct measurement of membrane capacitance. The companion Series R control displays the access resistance and the new % correction circuit compensates up to 90% of the access resistance. These and other new features make the PC-505B an extremely capable amplifier.

Switching Headstages

Two selectable feedback resistors in the headstages permit both single channel and whole cell recording in the same cell. A 50 GΩ resistor is used in both switching models for low noise single channel recording with currents to 200 pA.

  • LC-201B Headstage (50 GΩ/500 MΩ) This headstage with a 500 MΩ feedback resistor will handle whole cell currents up to 20 nA.
  • HC-202B Headstage (50 GΩ/50 MΩ) For larger whole cell currents, the 50 MΩ resistor in this headstage permits currents up to 200 nA.
  • WI-205B Bilayer Headstage (50 GΩ modified) The 50 GΩ resistor headstage is modified for artificial bilayer capacitances up to 250 pF.


The PC-505B has three modes of operation: voltage clamp, zero current clamp, and current clamp.

  • V Clamp In the voltage clamp mode, the input range is ±1 volt. Active commands V hold, junction and auto zero, test pulse, zap, and external inputs are scaled and summed at the headstage input. Capacity compensation and speed test are also active.
  • Io Zero current is essentially a standby mode used to preset voltage hold or current hold levels before switching to voltage or current clamp. All commands are inactive with the exception of junction zero which, in this case, functions as an offset control for the electrode and tip potentials associated with the pipette.
  • I Clamp Current clamp mode clamps the cell to a current level determined by current hold setting and any external commands. Capacitance compensation is inactive in this mode.


Headstage feedback resistance is dynamically switched at the amplifier front panel. LEDs indicate resistor selection and corresponding multiplying factor applied to the current gain [Im] switch setting.


Voltage and current commands applied to the cell include: voltage and current hold, junction and auto zero, test pulse, speed test, and zap.

V and I Hold
Holding potentials and currents are set with separate controls eliminating the need to reset levels when switching between voltage and current clamp modes.

Junction and Auto Zero
Adjusting for offset potentials is done with either the manual junction zero control or with the auto zero. The offset potential is read on the meter or at the Vc x10 output.

Test Pulse and Speed Tests
Test Pulse and Speed Tests are internally generated 50/60 Hz signals. Test pulse is attenuated by the command sensitivity and is useful for monitoring the formation of a gigaseal. The speed test signal is applied to the headstage input to allow for tuning the headstage response. A rear panel speed test switch allows for an external signal to be used for the speed test.

Variable duration pulse used to rupture the cell membrane for whole cell recording. Signals applied to the command input are attenuated at one of three levels with the command sensitivity selector.

Capacitance & Resistance Compensation: Fast Compensation

Stray capacitance between the input and electrode resistance is compensated with two pair of controls, C-Fast 1 and C-Fast 2. Amplitude and time constant of each pair is independently adjustable. Whole cell capacitance compensation is adjusted with the single control, C-Slow. Membrane capacitance is read from the C-Slow calibrated dial. The companion Series R control is used in conjunction with the C-Slow and its calibrated dial provides a reading of the access resistance. C-Slow may be disabled to view the uncompensated signal. The % Correction control is used to increase the command signal to compensate for the voltage drop across the access (Series R) resistance. Correction is adjustable up to 90%.


Signals at the Im output are filtered at the selected cutoff frequency set with the 4-pole Bessel filter. Selecting Bypass presents the full bandwidth signal to the Im output. Filtered and unfiltered Im output is also available at the instrument rear panel. Additional outputs are the membrane voltage Vm x10 and the sum of the voltage commands Vc x10, both at x10 gain.

Electrode Holders

Warner patch clamp holders are made from polycarbonate to minimize recording noise. Holders are custom-bored for glass diameters from 1 to 2 mm to minimize lateral movement of the pipette. Electrical coupling to the pipette is made with a silver wire. Holders are not included with the PC-505B. They must be purchased separately based on your glass outer diameter.

Voltammetry with PC-505B

The PC-505B functions as an excellent low-noise potentiostat for voltammetric and other electrochemical measurements. In this mode, the V hold (electrode potential) is increased to a maximum of ±1 volt and the maximum external command signal to ±2 volts at electrode or sensor.

LC-201B Headstage Single channel currents to 200 pA, whole cell currents to 20 nA. (50 GΩ/500 MΩ)
HC-202B Headstage Single channel currents to 200 pA, whole cell currents to 200 nA.(50 GΩ/50 MΩ)
WI-205B Bilayer Headstage For artificial bilayer capacitances up to 250 pF, currents to 200 pA. (50 GΩ, modified)
Noise (referred to input) Measured with an 8-pole Bessel filter, input open, 50 GΩ resistor:
DC to 1 kHz 0.035 pA RMS
DC to 5 kHz 0.150 pA RMS
Bandwidth 25 kHz
Voltage Clamp Commands
Command In BNC ± 10 V Max, AC or DC, applied to input
Voltage Hold ± 200 mV Max with 10-turn control
Junction Zero ± 100 mV Max with 10-turn control
Internal Test Pulse 1 V 50/60 Hz (line freq.) square wave attenuated by Command Sensitivity
Command Sensitivity x0.1, x0.01, and x0.001
Zap 1.0 V Pulse, adjustable duration from 0.1 to 10 msec
Current Clamp Commands
Command In
± 1000 pA max With Command Sensitivity @ x0.1.
± 100 pA max With Command Sensitivity @ x0.01.
± 10 pA max With Command Sensitivity @ x0.001.
Current Hold ± 1 nA with 10-turn control.
Internal Test Pulse 1 nA 100 Hz square wave through Command Sensitivity.
Command Sensitivity Attenuators x 0.1, x 0.01, and x 0.001.
Fast Capacitance Compensation (Voltage Mode)
C Fast 1 0.1 to 1.75 µsec, 0 to 5 pF
C Fast 2 0.33 to 8.5 µsec, 0 to 15 pF
Whole Cell Compensation
C Slow 0-100 pF with 10 turn control
Series R 0-100 MΩ with 10 turn control
% Correction 0-90% of Series R
Leak Subtraction
to 50 GΩ 50 GΩ Headstage Resistor
to 500 MΩ 500 MΩ Headstage Resistor
to 50 MΩ 50 MΩ Headstage Resistor
Front Panel Outputs
Im (membrane current) Selected in the range of
Gains of 0.05 to 10 mV/pA With 50 MΩ headstage resistor
Gains of 0.5 to 100 mV/pA With 500 MΩ headstage resistor
Gains of 5 to 1000 mV/pA With 50 GΩ headstage resistor
Vc x10 Summation of all commands amplified by 10
Vm x10 Membrane voltage amplified by 10
Im Low-Pass Filter 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 kHz and Bypass. (4-Pole Bessel -3 dB points)
Panel Meter 3-1/2 Digit LED reads (full scale):
Junction Zero ± 199.9 mV
Vc + h In Sum of all commands and V Hold, ± 199.9 mV
£Vc Sum of all commands, ± 199.9 mV
Vm Membrane voltage ± 199.9 mV (current clamp mode)
Im Membrane current, ± 1999 pA
RMS Noise 1.999 pA
Rear Panel Outputs
Gain Telegraph From 0.5 to 7.0 V in 0.5 V steps*
Filter Telegraphs From 0.2 to 2.0 V in 0.2 V steps*
Im/Vm Telegraph Logic levels, V-Clamp=1, I-Clamp=0
Sync Out Signal for synchronizing an oscilloscope to internal test
Power 110 to 130 or 220 to 250 VAC, 50/60 Hz , 15 VA.
Physical Dimensions
Main Unit 8.9 cm H x 43.2 cm W x 30.5 cm D
Headstage 1.9 cm H x 3.5 cm W x 5.7 cm L with 1.8 m cable
Mounting Rod 6.3 mm D x 6.3 cm L
Shipping Weight 11.4 kg
Warranty Three years, parts and labor

Back View

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PC-505B (120716.1)..pdfPC-505B User's Manual
Connecting the PC-505B to pClamp.pdfConnecting the PC-505B to pClamp