[time-nuts] Rohde & Schwarz XSD 2.5 MHz crystal gone bad?

Graham / KE9H ke9h.graham at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 21:05:49 EST 2016

Is your oven doing what it is supposed to be doing?

Sounds more like an oven problem than a crystal problem.

--- Graham


On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM, Alan Melia <alan.melia at btinternet.com>

> Michael a couple of wild thoughts, make sure there is no 500kHz there
> (this is the crystal fundamental and the maintaining circuit should be
> degenerative there. (Is it a Meecham Bridge?)
> That sounds like a baseless IO GT valve (tube in US ) enclosure which was
> probably originally evacuated....has the vacuum gone soft in 50 years?....I
> dont know how you would check, but I think that would cause a lowering of
> the frequency.
> Alan
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Ulbrich" <mul at rentapacs.de>
> To: "Time-Nuts" <time-nuts at febo.com>
> Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2016 11:49 PM
> Subject: [time-nuts] Rohde & Schwarz XSD 2.5 MHz crystal gone bad?
> Hi there,
>> I'm new to this list and have some interest in quartz crystal and
>> rubidium oscillators - GPS, NTP, PPS and "clock watching" in general ;-)
>> I snatched an R&S XSD frequency standard accompanied by an XKE frequency
>> controller. Found the manuals on KO4BB's site (Thanks a lot for that!
>> BTW there's a slight mix-up of pages in that some of the XKE pages have
>> found their way into the XSD manual).
>> My initial hope of a quick and easy restoration project faded a bit when
>> I looked at the XSD output frequency after heating up the oven. It was
>> off by about -1 * 10-5 and after cranking the fine tuning for some time
>> and having another look at the specs I realized that the frequency was
>> too far off to be dialed in by the fine tuning which only covers about
>> +/- 2 * 10-7.
>> Next step was to take apart the oven and check series capacitor,
>> oscillator and the crystal itself. I found that even the coarse
>> adjustment range of the cylindrical series capacitor (40 - 110 pF) would
>> not allow to pull the crystal to it's specified frequency. When
>> replacing the series cap by a ceramic and lowering the value to just
>> before the oscillation breaks down (about 10 pF) I managed to set the
>> oscillator frequency offset to  +2.5 * 10-6 at room temperature. But
>> even this will not suffice when taking into account that the frequency
>> will drop by a few parts in 10-5 (cf. XSD manual) when the oven heats up
>> to its operating temperature. I also checked some of the components on
>> the oscillator PCB which might have an influence on frequency but could
>> not find any fault.
>> The crystal itself is a disk of about 30 mm diameter mounted in a sealed
>> glass cylinder of about 38 mm dia. and 43 mm height. There is no socket
>> just 2 bare wires.. It does not show any visual signs of damage.
>> According to a reference given in the R&S XSD manual the crystal's
>> construction follows a publication from A.W. Warner "Design and
>> Performance of Ultraprecise 2.5-mc Quartz Crystal Units" in Vol 39,
>> Issue 5 of Bell Labs Technical Journal (Sept. 1960). According to that
>> it is an AT-cut 5th overtone design.
>> Now my questions:
>> a) Considering that this gear is about 50 years old, a "crystal gone
>> bad" situation shouldn't be that much of a surprise, right?  But could
>> there be any other cause of the "huge" frequency offset besides a bad
>> crystal? I would very much appreciate any idea that I could try to get
>> this baby back on spec.
>> b) if nothing else helps: Could any of you give me a hint about who
>> might be able to supply a spare crystal? I tried my directly reachable
>> contacts but unfortunately to no avail so far. Please consider that
>> similar crystals might also have found their way into other
>> manufacturer's constructions from that era - Sulzer, Racal, HP ... you
>> name it ...
>> Many thanks in advance!
>> Best regards ... Michael U.
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