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Cloud Database

Let's say the first 50 units of your new widget prototype have come off the line. You're excited because this is the first time you've built more than a few units. But now you are faced with the daunting task of measuring and analyzing that performance. You have a few choices: You could manually measure each unit, and the put the parameters into Excel, and then ask Excel to compute mean and standard deviation on the units. Or you could spend a few minutes working on a custom test script, save the tests to the QuantAsylum cloud database, and let Tractor do the analysis for you.

The cloud database is free and requires almost no effort to set up. You can create as many tests as you wish. The only limit is that you are throttled at saving one test per second to the cloud. There's nothing special you need to do: Just enable cloud database audit logging in Tractor, run your tests as needed and they will be stored to the cloud in the background. 

As an example, let's start by collecting the gain of the primary signal path on a dozen units. This test can easily be expanded to measure THD, noise and a host of other parameters. But for now, let's just look at gain.

First, let's manually check gain in the QA401 application. We get a quick snapshot of the widget's gain, and we the gain is 11.62 dB. This is a bit lower than we expected from the widget--the target was 12 dB.

Next, we can launch Tractor. Tractor is another application that "drives" the QA401 application to make measurements for us automatically. The opening window of the Tractor application is shown below:

Go into the Settings menu, and you'll see the following screen. Check the "Use Database" checkbox in the Audit Database group and leave the other defaults.

You should be able to press the "Test Connection" button in the Audio Database group and see a version number reported. The first time you do this might take a bit of time as things are set up. 

The product ID at this point is random and that is OK. A new one is created every time you create a new Tractor test. The product ID is saved as part of the Tractor test, and this is what allows you to add more data or query data later on. If you lose the product ID, you won't be able to query data on your product any longer. So, for very important tests, you can save a the product ID (PID) to a separate file as backup. For now, these tests are "throwaway" in that we won't need them tomorrow, so we can just take the defaults. Click "OK" to save the settings and return to the main application.

Back in the main application, press Add New Test:

Select the "Level/Gain" category, and the GainA10 test as shown:

Click OK, and then disable the right channel (we're measuring mono on left channel on this widget) adjust the gain limits as shown (11 to 13 dB will be considered a "pass"), press "OK" to save the limit edits, and then press "Run Tests"

Now, the gain test will be run as many times as you'd like. And the gains will be saved to the cloud database. After we press the "Run Tests" above, you'll see the following screen. Press the "Start" button:

The test should run, and you should see the QA401 update. The results are shown below, and if the gain is between our limits of 11 dB to 13 dB, then the test will pass:

Run all your widgets. And as you work, the results will be uploaded to the cloud in the background. The Audit Queue Depth in the lower left of the window above reflects the number of items that are still on your machine and haven't yet been submitted to the cloud. If your internet connection is working, you should see the tests getting submitted in real time. 

When you are done, close the Test Task window and return to the main screen. Then click on the Tools menu option and select "Query Cloud:

The following window will appear. Verify the product ID is as before. Then, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Test control. This action will ask the database for all of the tests saved with the specified Product ID. And here, we can see the test named GainA0-0 showed up. We could also see THD or noise if we'd specified those tests too.

Press the Query button:

 And with that, we get the following query results:

And in a second or two, the result comes back that the gain of the 23 widgets we measured had a mean of 12.03 dB and a standard deviation of 0.28 dB. 

Summary

While Tractor and the cloud database is useful in production testing, it can also help you make repetitive measurements quickly in the lab during development.