Direct Access-QA 403/404

Direct Access-QA 403/404-
The number one thing on my mind as I get ready to evaluate the QA 403 as a design/repair tool and especially in the repair environment is:

What is absolutely essential and transitioning from an analog test environment, to more of a digital domain, is the direct access and instant access using a touchscreen.

It would be extremely helpful is to have a large keypad that comes up on screen where you can directly punch in the value for the level of the generator, and the frequency.

I would say that is vital.

Also: Having a sliding bar to adjust the generator level as a vernier/tweak.

Generator mute button.

Is there a screen function to decouple grounding between the generator output and the input?

Keep in mind: We’re working on replacing the lions share of this rig, which of course is next to impossible, but there are some key elements that are needed in the repair environment. Think of it as: A menu driven digital mixing console is nothing like having a quality analog mixing console, when you need to get things right now, in a hurry, and have the vision of an analog console, directly in front of you. Now we’d like that, with digital acquisition, and some number crunching. But having vision, and instant access is everything. Also is there a provision for pink not white noise in the generator? And of course, vision of it all, even if it’s 2 screens is vital- But I can tell you this: As far as a rig like the one here, It GETS after it in the repair world, with a wide variety of topologies and gear, with solid results- Conversely: I once had a girlfriend – she was incredibly beautiful, but she was incredibly high maintenance.

These are good points that I also find myself wanting. If you have a mouse and are at a desk, it’s much easier. But if you are relying on the touch screen to drive everything and the mouse is buried on a track-pad , certain operations vexing.

The 1 and 2 button will toggle generator outputs. And if you click on the AMP or FREQ buttons with CTRL pressed, you’ll change amp or freq by 10X. And if you click on the AMP or FREQ buttons with ALT pressed, you’ll change amp or freq by 1/10th.

Maybe something like CTRL+1 brings up a direct entry screen for ampltiude, and ALT+1 brings up a direct entry screen for freq for Gen1. And CTRL+2 and ALT+2 do the same for Gen2

And then CTRL+ up arrow increases GEN1 output by 10X the step setting. And ALT + up arrow increases GEN1 output by 1/10th the step setting.

And the direct input for amplitude could automatically handle conversion. So, you could key in 1.0 and then press a Vrms button and it’d set the amplitude to 0 dBV.

In any case, yes I agree there is more to be done here to optimize for touchscreen-dominated operation.

Is there a screen function to decouple grounding between the generator output and the input?

Those grounds are shared always, and there’s not a way to decouple. In the future, it might interesting to allow a user-controlled relay connection between PC-ground (USB) and the analyzer ground (which is normally isolated).

What about HOT KEYS to Quickly access Routines?

That is quite the setup you have there! Aside from a good DMM and a Scope, the QA40x would be next on the list for me. I use it several times a week, and have owned it around 2years. Having to use a touchscreen has never has come up since there is a computer keyboard and mouse involved with its operation. I mainly look at Vintage audio gear ('2000 and older) and it does an outstanding job. Matt does a pretty good job of implementing software suggestions if they can be implemented “easily”- I don’t know how he manages to do everything to be honest. I often will troubleshoot by connecting a scope probe to one of the analyzer’s inputs, if the voltages are going to be greater than 25v, I switch the probe to x10. There is definitely a learning curve with it, but not too steep of one. It is also small enough to bring with you (as well as a laptop) to test something away from your bench. Just my nickels worth

What about HOT KEYS to Quickly access Routines?

Hi @CESAUDIOPRO, the last routine you used is always available to run again with the F3 key. This is useful because if you run a test once, chances are very high you’ll need to run it again as you get things setup and tweaked. And the settings are remembered from the prior run. So it should be a very smooth iterative process.

But in general, there’s not a way to assign an arbitrary Automated Test to a particular hotkey.

The latest manual I found for download is revision 1.20 which doesn’t show all that in the Soft Key section. Having a complete collection on a separate page would be great. I would imagine most users to print that page and hang it on their work bench.

Hi @THDaniel, the manual tends to track the latest release, while a lot of the new features go into a pre-release. And the pre-release stuff is sometimes experimental to see how something “feels.” The direct entry for amplitude setting falls into the experimental bucket. And so, you need to read the release notes to see how it works.

I think the software keys for the direct entry will need to change. Currently CTRL-1 brings up the GEN1 amplitude direct entry. And then CTRL-2 will bring up GEN2 amplitude direct entry. But it’d be nice to have frequency direct entry too. And so maybe that is ALT-1 and ALT2.

And the CTRL + up/down arrow keys currently function as the AMP1 up/down buttons. And then the CTRL + left/right arrow keys will function as FREQ1 up/down buttons.

In any case, it’s being studied and comments at this point are especially valuable and appreciated.