How to change the brightness on a Varian SpectrAA 55
October 9, 2008 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Chemist-Filter: I am an analytical chemist working for a company that specializes in leaching semi-precious metals out of waste material. The display on our Varian AA (atomic absorption) Spectroscope is too dark. Can it be fixed without calling in our repair/maintenance technician? All information is appreciated.

Our AA is a Varian SpectrAA 55 (Model # Spectra 55 B) and in summary, the screen has gone dark. We are currently able to see it if we turn off all the lights in the lab, however as you can imagine, this is an inconvenience. I have determined from whatever I can see without taking the machine apart that either the LCD screen slid behind the backlights which are mounted on the sides of the screen, or the overall brightness of the screen was turned down in some manner. Our technician that comes in to fix the SpectrAA is very expensive, costing us approx. 350$ an hour on site, plus a total of 6 hrs of travel time. I am hoping that I will be able to fix the instrument without having to call him in, for obvious reasons. Varian technical support just keeps telling us to call in the technician.

I have looked through all of the menus that i can find on the machine, there is no brightness or contrast setting anywhere on it. I would think that any kind of machine as such would have similar settings. It is an old machine so there might not be, however unlikely this may be. Hopefully someone has seen something similar and can give me some kind of idea on how to change the brightness or contrast of the screen.

Also, if someone has knows how I can procure a copy of the manual without having to purchase one through Varian, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
posted by mrw to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried emailing them? I'm experienced w/ Varian plate readers, LC/MS and HPLCs, but not AAs(there's contrast adjustment on the HPLCs and LC/MS for sure) , but their email support is free and fairly responsive (It also helped that our lab was down the block from them, I suppose).

See here or email
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:20 PM on October 9, 2008

Sorry..I missed the last line about Varian tech support. Was that voice support or email? Try sending something simple: "How do I adjust the display contrast?" They seem to do better with simplified questions.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:23 PM on October 9, 2008

Is it an LCD with special characters, or is it just a field of character cells (little rectangles composed of little dots that can display a character)? If it's the later, and the housing is not one of those "the technician spends three hours getting the case off, three minutes fixing your problem and three hours putting the case back on affairs, you could probably just swap it out for a new one.

I yanked an LCD off of an old integrator that was being thrown out a while back and it was just a stock component that just plugged in to the rest of the system. Changing it out would have been like replacing your coffee maker (if your coffee maker was held down to the kitchen counter with four tiny screws).
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:43 PM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers guys. Varian email is giving me the usual "we dont respond to emails not endorsed by our customers" line. This search is of my own initiative and i am trying to keep as little money flowing as possible (if money wasn't an issue, we would just pitch for a new AA ;) )

Cat Pie Hurts: It was phone tech support, which went something like this:
Me: Hello.... (so forth and so on) I would like to know how to change the contrast on my SpectrAA 55 screen
Varian: "Call tech support, you are out of warrenty, so it will cost you XX$ for the call and his hourly rate is YY$ + Travel time"

I may be stating the obvious, but my impression of their technical support leaves a little to be desired.

Kid Charlemagne: The display does not have any particular lines, it looks like a standard LCD matrix composed of little squares, each one about 1mm x 1mm, the entire display about 14cm x 8cm (approx. dimensions, I thought about asking Me-Fi once I had already got home after work.) Also, even with my quasi-proficiency in all things electronic, I am not sure I am comfortable replacing components that, should things go wrong, junk a machine that will be so expensive to fix.

Thanks for your input so far. If the machine is going to be replaced (finally I have a good reason to request a new one, may i be so lucky to get an ICP while I am at it :) ), I may take a shot at replacing the screen on my own anyways to give it some resale value.
posted by mrw at 9:11 PM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the effort guys, but I finally got it to work. Alt + up/down will change the contrast. However this is not an issue on the brand new (well, was used 3-4 times at a sister plant/lab.) Perkin-Elmer AA400. If anybody is familiar with the perkin-elmer AA's, and wouldnt mind trading emails it would be greatly appreciated.
posted by mrw at 4:42 PM on December 12, 2008

« Older Help me change my poop cycle!   |   What can we do with inherited shares of stock in a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.