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New Product: Tactical System Timer

Beyond Electronics, a technology leader providing rugged, real-time computing solutions to OEMs and system integrators, has introduced a precision time base that self synchronizes to GPS or NTP and provides reliable system time even in the event of a loss of GPS time or network time. This product fills the need for precise tactical system synchronization in battlefield environments.

This new product, dubbed the Tactical System Timer (TST), is a very small, stand alone system that connects to the overall system network and to a GPS time source. It contains an embedded RISC microprocessor, memory, and a very stable internal timer that is based on an extraordinarily tightly specified oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO). The OCXO is further augmented by a statistical filter. The time result from this clock is available to host system through a library built on a socket level interface. The units are specified, calibrated and tested for long and short term stability and accuracy over full temperature. Various timer grades are available to meet system requirements.

The timer uses hardware to synchronize its clock to the GPS time stream and very accurately aligns itself with the seconds marker associated with the time stream. Hardware further interprets the timestamp and loads it into the internal clock. The timer interface uses a predictive algorithm to determine when the next second marker will occur and adjusts itself to compensate for differences between the OCXO based time and the GPS based time. Errant time from the GPS or time that is too far outside the internal band-pass is rejected.

For environments that require synchronization to network time protocol (NTP), the unit can be commanded to enter “NTP Mode” and will acquire all follow on data from the network time server.

The unit has a “soft architecture”, that is, it is based on a large FPGA with nearly all internal hardware located in the FPGA. This improves the MTBF, reduces the overall power consumption and allows the unit to be field upgraded or maintained without removing it from the system. Upgrades are accomplished by uploading a new hardware design and new software over the network.

The enclosure for the unit is a single piece machined aluminum case with a flat rear cover. All connections to the unit are through two circular mil connectors. All internal circuit boards are conduction cooled and conformally coated. The overall unit can be conduction or convection cooled. The power input is nominally 28 Volts. The entire unit has been fully qualified for military applications including: shock/vibration, altitude, temperature, temperature rate of change, etc.

The TST support library is currently available for the VxWorks® and Linux® operating systems.

The units are fielded, operational and are available immediately.

For more information about the Tactical System Timer or any of Beyond Electronics’ line of rugged products, please visit Beyond Electronics’ web site at, or contact Beyond Electronics Corporation at 1-919-231-8000, fax 1-919-231-8001.

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