Varian Saturn 5.2 software for Finnigan MAT ITS40 GC/MS system

Finnigan MAT ITS40 it is somewhat unical device, it is GC/MS system, which consists of Varian 3400 gas chromatorgaph and Finnigan MAT ion trap as  detector. This kind of apparatus were produced in  90th, and it is almost miracle, that two devices with serial numbers #IS 003138 and #IS 000150 which I have in my lab still works ! First one I have purchased in 2011 from Germany ( LabExchange ). Another one –  in 2022 for spare parts directly from US,  but it was in pritty good condition and I also have managed to get it working !   One of devices ( #IS 003138 ) have equipped with Restek   30m 0.25mm capillary column 1um  RTX-1701 phase for solvents and in another ( #IS 000150 )  was  installed J&W also 30m 0,25mm capillary column with 0.25um DB-5 phase – for heavier compounds.   On the picture below is #IS 003138 purchased on 2011 from Germany:


Due to my careless,  in 2018 year happened  one problem with first device ( #IS 003138 ), as due to discharge of BIOS battery of PC and failure of it’s hard disk ( what a misfortune, both happened almost simultaneosly ) I have lost all original ITS40 software.  I had in mind and it was my mistake, that  floppies, which were enclosed to the device from LabExchage in accesoary box contains copy of the software…. but a misfortune again – there was software for another Finnigan MAT device – ion trap ITD800, but it is not compatible with  ITS40.   So, what to do ?  In order to keep device running I have purchased Vx software from Adron Systems. It is quite good option, it can be run on Win7 instead of DOS, what of course  is very convenient. But Vx software contains only part of all service, which is available in  original ITS40 program.   And in 2023 finally happened to find good way  to get my ITS’s  on almost original SW !  Of course, it is almost hopeless idea to find nowadays original ITS40 software.  At  Chromatofraphy forum I seen interesting offer how this issue to solve.   ITS40 appears to work fine with Varian Saturn 5.2 software, it is a bit newer, released in  1995 year or so, but still it is DOS based and very similar to ITS40. Only is necessary to change ( or to reprogram old ones )  two EPROMs in ITS40 SAP board.   And I am very happy that in 2023 I have contacted Walter Lehmann, former Varian employee, with question about spare parts for my devices.  Also asked him about software for ITS40.   And finally it worked !! He offered me Varian Saturn software just for nothing and I only  paid  EUR 120.- for set of EPROMs. At his web-site you can find offer for EPROMS for Varian Saturn and here is also reference on software .

Finally all seems nice ! But it was not easy to get this software running  on modern PCs. And here is my story how all it happened. Main problem here is that Saturn software runs under MS-DOS only, but one equisition file has up to 700 – 800 MB, and it must be copied to some memory carrier  to pass it for  further processing to another, more powerfull  PC.  To use floppy disks for this purpose is troublesome – even HD 1.44MB floppies has too small memory.  USB flash card would be fine, but there is no USB ports in old DOS PCs…. Where is solution ?

Solution is here – USB emuator, which is produced by Bulgarian company Nalbantov Electronics.   They started to produce special USB  boards, which can be installed into old PCs instead of 3.5 or 5.25  inch drives. Initially it was intended for musicians, but later same boards were used as upgrade for old industrial equipment.  Boards are available on e-Bay, but here is reference on Nalbantov Electronics web-page: .

Some information about the PC, which I have purchased in 2011 together with ITS40 – it was Compaq 386/20e Deskpro.  And I  became a fan of Compaq.   It is fantastic reliable device.  I have installed on that original Compaq software – MS-DOS ver. 5.0.   Only two parts been replaced since it was produced in 1989 – BIOS battery and hard drive. Instead of crashed Conner type 33  I have installed SeaGate ST31722A Medalist, with 1.28 GB of total  memory, FAT16 formatted  to 640MB. Here is  pictures of my PC with Nalbantov card installed ( both ITSs are connected to the same Compaq – I never run ITSs simultaneously ):


Lef side on the wall you can see my Chemical Angel – present of my wife.   It is my safeguard !



and two main boot files:





















And now about the reason why Saturn 5.2 may not work on modern PCs. First of all  –  file system. If you have FAT32, you need to reformat your hard drive to FAT16.  Another reason  is memory. Saturn software uses for communication with MS a pease of RAM memory starting with C800.  Take a look into BIOS of your PC – if this region is already  occupied  ( most probably by video-card or BIOS ROM  ), this PC will not communicate correctly with your GPIB card.

Am very grateful to Walter Lehmann for Saturn 5.2 software and assistance in it’s installation.

Also many thanks to my acquaintance  Stanislav, who have helped me with selection of hard drive for Compaq PC.

Wish you good luck !