[time-nuts] Which First GPSDO to buy?

Joseph Gray jgray at zianet.com
Sun Dec 14 02:32:01 EST 2014

Do you have the details on your stripped down version posted somewhere

Joe Gray

On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Chris Albertson
<albertson.chris at gmail.com> wrote:
> I tried to see just how simple, low cost and self contained I could make a
> GPSDO.  I started with the Lars Walenius design then removed everything I
> could from it.  I replace all the software with just a small loop with
> about a dozen lines of code so it would be easy to understand.
> My goal was to make something that could be built and tested using just
> basic equipment.  The question is of course "How do you know the unit is
> making a 10 MHz signal if you don't already have a 10MHz reference to
> compare it to?"  Well you can assume that your 1PPS reference is accurate.
> Then you count and make sure you see EXACTLY 10,000,000 oscillator cycles
> per each PPS.  Count both for a few days and verify the ratio remains at
> ten million to one, exactly.  I ran mine for about 8 weeks and it stays at
> the desired ratio.    I know this is not a perfect test because it could
> have been running at zero hertz for 30 seconds and then 20MHz for 30
> seconds but I assume the OCXO is better than that.   The point is that once
> you have the GPS working you DO have a  pretty good 1Hz reference.
> Cost:
> Motorola Oncore GPS    $18
> magnnetic patch antenna   6
> OCXO (eBay)                   19
> Arduino, mini                      3
> PLL chip                             2
> TTL diver chip                    1
> Plug-in power cube            0
> perf-board                          1
> Total cost of GPSDO     $50
> Actually I do have A Thunderbolt.  I place the 10MHz output of the above
> unit and the TB on my dual channel scope and was able to see the phase of
> the two 10MHz references was locked.  I saw the phase drift over about an
> hour but then it would pull back.   But I made this very simple and it
> could be better.
> Actually I've added  some features to it like a 2 line by 16 character LCD
> display and some status LEDs.  And I can log data to a computer via a USB
> cable so it is easy to plot data and it is using my more expansive mast
> mounted timing antenna.
> The Arduino based design is OK for controlling an OCXO but I think it is
> best used for controlling my Rubidium oscillator.  The RB is so stable I
> should only update the frequency control every few hours at most.
> On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 7:21 PM, Jim Harman <j99harman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 9:36 PM, Bob Camp <kb8tq at n1k.org> wrote:
>> > The problem with "build it yourself" is that there is no way do know if
>> > you got it right unless you have something to compare your design to. You
>> > *will* make mistakes as you build one of these....
>> I think you will have the same problem with an off-the-shelf unit if you
>> don't have at least one reference for comparison. However speaking from
>> experience with Lars Walenius' Arduino-based design, I can say that it is
>> not hard to make a working system, even without another reference. Along
>> the way you will learn a tremendous amount about how these systems work,
>> plus a lot about Arduino programming.
>> Lars' design will run stand-alone, but if you want it can send very useful
>> logging data to a PC, much more informative than a "locked" led on a
>> commercial unit.
>> Total cost including processor, Adafruit GPS shield, and $25.00 ebay OCXO
>> is about $100.00
>> --
>> --Jim Harman
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> --
> Chris Albertson
> Redondo Beach, California
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