[time-nuts] Chronometer contest sponsored by IEEE Spectrum

David Forbes dforbes at dakotacom.net
Thu Nov 29 13:07:18 EST 2007

At 10:42 AM -0500 11/29/07, p.ross at ieee.org wrote:
>IEEE Spectrum, the magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic
>Engineers, is issuing a D-I-Y challenge that may be of interest to the
>members of this group. The goal is to build the most accurate possible
>digital clock for under $100, accuracy to be measured before disciplining
>with GPS, WWVB or other external aides. It is required that all parts be
>generally available; for instance, you can use an OCXO (by all means!) but
>only if it?s currently available on the open market. Display should be
>seven-segment LEDs?we?re looking for a usable appliance, not just a
>science project. Winner?s photo and project will be published on the
>magazine, its Web site, or both.


That sounds like a really fun DIY project. However, this group could 
spend 3 weeks debating what is and isn't OK to do. I hope there are 
more rules than that!

Questions that came to mind are:

Are single-source parts OK?
Are surplus parts such as Ebay OCXOs OK? (That's an 'open market' to me!)
Can we machine our own oven housings on the CNC milling machine in our garage?
May we use the cesium beam clock in our basement to set the 
oscillator frequency?
What temperature range will it be tested over?
What time period will the drift be measured over?

I think you get the idea.

It might be more fun to require that an OCXO be designed and built by 
the DIY-er out of commercially available crystals and resistors. That 
way, it's an engineering challenge instead of a procurement 
challenge, since IEEE is about engineering.

--David Forbes, Tucson, AZ

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