[time-nuts] TICC Timestamping / Time Interval Counter -- Available to Order

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Wed Dec 7 14:45:17 EST 2016

I'm happy to report that TAPR is now accepting orders for the TICC 
timestamping / time interval counter.  We've placed an order with the 
contract manufacturer and expect to have finished product ready to ship 
sometime in February.  The TICC system will include the TICC shield 
mounted on an Arduino Mega 2560 compatible processor, with TICC software 
loaded.  Each system will be tested for function before shipping.

As I mentioned in my original email, TAPR is going a bit out on a limb 
to produce the TICC, and we have to make a significant up-front payment 
to our contract manufacturer. So, early orders are very much appreciated 
to help recover our cash flow.

The regular price will be $190 each for the TICC shield with Arduino 
compatible processor,* but to encourage early orders, we're offering a 
$10 discount for orders placed on or before December 21 -- that makes 
the price $180 plus shipping.

You can order from: http://tapr.org/kits_ticc.html


* We will provide a Sainsmart version of the Arduino Mega 2560 R3.  They 
seem to be a reliable supplier and we used these boards for TICC 

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: [time-nuts] New Timestamping / Time Interval Counter: the TICC
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2016 10:48:57 -0500
From: John Ackermann N8UR <jra at febo.com>

Counters with resolution below 1 nanosecond are difficult.
They require either outrageous clock speeds, or interpolators
that are typically a bunch of analog components mixed with black
magic and stirred by frequent calibration.  The very best single-shot
resolution that's been commercially available is 20 picoseconds in
the Keysight 53230A and HP 5370A/B.  My 5370B has an one-second
noise ADEV of about 4x10e-11.

With the help of some very talented friends, I've been working on a new
counter called the "TICC" with <60ps resolution and similar jitter,
based on the Texas Instruments TDC7200 time-to-data-converter chip. The
one-second noise ADEV is about 7x10e-11, not much worse than the 5370,
but here's the trick:  the TICC is an Arduino shield (mounting on a
Mega 2560 controller) that weighs only a couple of ounces, requires
*no* calibration, and is powered from a USB cable!

The TICC is implemented as a two-channel timestamping counter.  That
means it can measure one or two low-frequency (e.g., pulse-per-second)
inputs against an external 10 MHz reference, or it can do a traditional
time interval measurement of one input against the other.  It can also
measure period, ratio, or any other function of two-channel  timestamp
data.  (And by the way -- multiple TICCs can be connected to yield 4,
6, 8, or more synchronized channels, though we haven't tested this
capability yet.)

I've attached a picture of the TICC prototype as well as an ADEV plot
of a 17+ day run of multiple measurements taken by two TICCs, and also
showing the TICC noise floor.  The good news behind that plot is that
there are more than 6 million data points behind these results, and
there was not a single glitch or significant outlier among them.

There's more information available at http://febo.com/pages/TICC

The software is open source (BSD license) and is available at
https://github.com/TAPR/TICC -- the current version seems be reliable
but there are still features to add and a *lot* of cleanup to do; it's
currently ugly and very much a work in process.

As always, I'll be making the TICC available through TAPR.  We're still
finalizing details, but we expect the price to be less than $200 for a
turn-key system:  TICC mounted on an Arduino with software loaded and
tested for basic functionality.  We hope to ship the TICC by February.

I'll post a note in a week or two with final price and ordering
information.  As a heads up, we will probably offer a small discoun
for pre-orders.  TAPR is a shoestring non-profit group and the up-front
cost to manufacture this unit will frankly be a challenge for us.
Getting pre-orders will help our cash flow significantly, so we ask you
to keep that in mind.


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: TICC_rev_c_photo_small.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 84763 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.febo.com/pipermail/time-nuts/attachments/20161207/365c5c1c/attachment-0001.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: ticc_rev_c-perf_test_adev.png
Type: image/png
Size: 100537 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.febo.com/pipermail/time-nuts/attachments/20161207/365c5c1c/attachment-0001.png>
-------------- next part --------------
time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
To unsubscribe, go to https://www.febo.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/time-nuts
and follow the instructions there.

More information about the time-nuts mailing list