TeenyChron: A Linux-based GPS-synched NTP server

TeenyChron: A Linux-based GPS-synched NTP server

Len Bayles’ TeenyChron project is a clock that pulls the correct time from a NTP server using a TS-7400 single board ‘puter, a Garmin GPS module, and dual display boards.

The genesis of this clock stems from one of my other hobbies, Ham Radio. I wanted a reasonably accurate clock that would display both local and UTC time on a large LED display. Everything I could find missed the mark by at least one feature. So I set out to design a clock with the above features, and also with the additional feature of being a stratum one NTP time Server, that is synchronized to a GPS’s pulse per second (PPS) signal.

At the heart of the system I am using a small single board computer based upon an ARM processor running Linux. I actually purchased the board in 2006 for another undertaking that is still in my long list of projects. The TS-7400 Computer-on-Module is built and sold by Technologic Systems. In the configuration I bought the SBC I paid $155 for a single unit. Mine has 64MB of RAM, 32MB of Flash, a battery backed up real time clock (RTC), and runs a 200Mhz ARM processor. I’ve configured the board to boot and mount a file system from a 2Gig SD card. I love this board! It runs a full version of Debian Linux. To date, every standard software package I’ve loaded complies and runs without any trouble.

Very complete documentation on Len’s TinyChron site. Extremely cool!

2 thoughts on “TeenyChron: A Linux-based GPS-synched NTP server

  1. Simon says:

    I think the description is slightly wrong here. The device (which looks awesomely like a Hollywood time bomb!) doesn’t pull the time from an NPT server. It IS an NPT server. The time comes from the GPS module. Then that time, highly accurate, is made available over the network as well as displayed on the LEDs.

  2. disqus_vqnd6bXTUM says:

    Nice project. An LCD display rather than the LED’s may have provided a bit more information on screen. Also a combined NMEA GPS antenna / receiver unit rather than a separate module / antenna may have reduced costs. Are you using the Linux PPS patches to get improved accuracy from the GPS receiver.


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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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