Time Measurement Calibration and Testing

Clocks, watches, and the many devices that rely on time.

Watch Calibration and Testing
Watch Calibration and Testing

From cell phone clocks to digital alarm clocks, to expensive gold watches to the clock on their microwave ovens and other appliances, many people in the Unites States are adjusting time monitoring devices today for the US’s Daylight Savings Day. Along with the public, manufacturers were also calibrating the internal clocks of processors on their manufacturing lines and equipment. Time Measurement Calibration and Testing is extremely important. Many products such as Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite receivers, and the electric power grid depend on the accuracy and reliability of their internal clocks. So, how is time measured?

Time calibrates to atomic clocks.  In the United States, NIST built the first atomic clocks in the 1950s, which served as the foundation for developing measurement standards. In 1967, the atomic clocks began to use cesium.

Consumer product clocks for the general public’s use are tested to The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) IST-F2,  IST-F2. Since 1999, NIST has determined the length of a second by its NINIST-F1 Standard which measures the length of a second by cesium atoms. In 2014, it released the F2 Standard.  To develop this standard, it was measured to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Paris, France.  This International Organization collates data from atomic clocks around the world. While the NIST keeps “civilian” time, the US Navy keeps the official military time standards at its U.S. Naval Observatory.

In addition to testing to the standard, NIST maintains numerous time calibration services, including an online service for calibrating the Internet Time Service. This service is helps synchronize clocks in computers, as well as other information technology and network devices.

In 2015, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is in effect from March 8, 2015, at 2 a.m. (local time) to November 1, 2015, at 2 a.m. (local time).  Here’s a NIST Time Widget with the current time. According to the NIST website this is for general use purposes such as the general time. However, it is not suitable for calibration since it only resynchronizes with NIST every 10 minutes.

See more time calibration projects and incoming lab requests.

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