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

timeok timeok at timeok.it
Thu Dec 8 08:09:14 EST 2016

   Hi John,
   a question: In the draft operating manual is write is possible to use 2, 4 ,6 etc. input using multiple (1,2,3) TICC.
   How are connected the extra TICC boards?
   Is it possible a single Arduino drive multiple boards or each board is connected to an Arduino processor?

   From "time-nuts" time-nuts-bounces at febo.com
   To "Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement" time-nuts at febo.com
   Date Wed, 7 Dec 2016 14:45:17 -0500
   Subject [time-nuts] TICC Timestamping / Time Interval Counter -- Available to Order
   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 the Texas Instruments TDC7200 time-to-data-converter chip. The
   noise ADEV is about 7x10e-11, not much worse than the 5370,
   but here's the trick: the TICC is an Arduino shield (mounting a
   Mega 2560 controller) that weighs 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 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 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 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.


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