[time-nuts] Getting Hardware Projects to the Masses (Was Re: Monitor for Thunderbolt and other GPS receivers)

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Fri Jul 11 17:07:13 EDT 2008

There've been some interesting conversations about useful T&F hardware 
gadgets lately.  I'm personally very interested in the 10 MHz divider 
project (as I've been working, very slowly, on a similar project with 
several people on the list) and the Tbolt monitor projects.

Let me mention, then, that TAPR could very well be interested in 
handling production and sales of kit or assembled widgets like these. 
We can provide a lot of "back end" support to help turn a prototype into 
a marketable product.

If you're interested in working with us to bring your T&F project to the 
masses, drop me a line off-list.


PS -- Just to be clear, TAPR is a non-profit group, primarily aimed at 
ham radio operators but supporting a wide range of experimenter 
activities.  I'm a past-President and current board member, but don't 
have any financial interest in the group, other than paying my 
membership dues.
Didier Juges wrote:
> Well, I don't really have much time right now, but I started working on a
> Monitor for the Trimble ThunderBolt (and other GPS receivers). With 3 TBs
> here, it would make sense.
> Here is where I am at the moment:
> http://www.ko4bb.com/Timing/GPSMonitor/
> The idea is to decode the TSIP packets 0x8F-AB (Primary Timing Packet) and
> 0x8F-AC (Supplemental Timing Packet) which the Thunderbolt sends by default
> once per second.
> These packets are defined in the Thunderbolt manual.
> They provide most of the information of interest to simply monitor the
> status of the TB.
> If anyone is interested (or already has a TSIP parser in C) feel free to let
> me know.
> I am open to suggestions about what would make the most sense to display. I
> would like the default screen to have date/time at the top, and disciplining
> status at the bottom. Other data could be displayed optionaly by pressing a
> switch.
> I may also write a NMEA parser for the other GPS receivers I have here.
> This project uses a Silabs processor, which is part of the 8051 family.
> Please don't ask me why I am not using a PIC, Atmel, ARM, (put your favorite
> micro here), processor instead, there is nothing wrong with any of these
> chips and they all would work. 8051 is what I have tools and code for, and
> they are cheap enough for me.
> If there is enough interest, it would not be very hard or expensive to make
> a small PWB for the processor (the DIP version would be easier to solder),
> the voltage regulators, the pot (to adjust screen contrast), a push button
> (to select among a couple or more of screen content) and the RS-232
> translator.
> Didier KO4BB
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