New low-energy electron injection systems based on indirectly heated dispenser cathodes facilitate electron capture dissociation (ECD) in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometry. In this joint report, details are presented of the design and performance of these systems on two commercial FTICR instruments, 9.4 T Bruker BioAPEX in Uppsala and 4.7 T IonSpec Ultima in Odense. New results include obtaining meaningful one-scan MS/MS data for isolated precursor ions with millisecond irradiation times. The ECD rate improvement is not only due to the larger total electron current, but the larger emitting area as well. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.