Synthesis of an Ultra-precise Time Standard Using Inexpensive Components
Original Publication Date: 2000-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Disclosed is an apparatus and method for generating a very precise time standard utilizing inexpensive components. Computers, telecommunications equipment, control systems, and many other devices require very precise and accurate time standards. This invention was conceived to solve the problem of providing a very accurate and precise time standard for a computing system, but is applicable to any of the above systems or devices which require a very precise time source or very finely tunable oscillator. A well-known problem of computer systems is that each computer has its own local time standard. These standards are prone to inaccuracy and drift with respect to other external time standards. The traditional solution to this problem is to use a very expensive crystal oscillator, one manufactured and tested to very tight tolerances. For extremely high stability and accuracy this oscillator must be maintained in a strictly controlled temperature environment and typically incorporates a resistive heater and temperature control system. This adds to the cost of the oscillator and wastes energy. This invention takes advantage of the fact that for most crystal oscillators, the variability of the frequency of the output, given a reasonably stable temperature environment, is orders of magnitude less than the manufacturer's guaranteed tolerance between the calibration point and the nominal output frequency.