Can the Atomic Clock Maintain Time Sync (from GNSS/GPS) in Holdover Mode, While the Test Set is Off?

No. However, some test sets offer Standby Mode (a.k.a., Sleep Mode) that keeps the internal Atomic Clock powered to maintain holdover. Simultaneously press the HOME+ESC buttons to activate.

RXT      V300

The RXT-1200 and TX300s platforms offer a useful Standby Mode (Sleep Mode), that shuts down all its hardware functions, except for the internal Atomic Clock (optional) and keeps the main CPU in sleep (low power) mode. It provides two main benefits:

  • Very low power consumption during transit between jobs.
  • Fast boot-up: <5 seconds.
  • Keeps the Atomic Clock fully powered and operational, retaining time sync in holdover mode.

To activate the Standby Mode, simultaneously press the HOME + ESC buttons simultaneously, until a tone (beep) is heard. The Power LED will remain Green to indicate the test set is still "ON".

During Standby, press the image-png-Mar-27-2023-05-29-12-2127-PMHOME button to check the status of the test set's battery capacity, estimated battery autonomy in sleep mode, and the total time elapsed since it was put to sleep. Total time is important when using the Atomic Clock in holdover mode, since the longer the unit is kept in standby, the more the time sync would drift (inaccuracy uncertainty increases).

Press image-png-Mar-27-2023-05-29-12-2127-PMHOME + image-png-Mar-27-2023-05-29-38-5261-PMESC again, to bring the instrument back to full operational mode, then launch the test application(s) and run the necessary tests.

Using the Standby Mode to Carry Holdover

Although not recommended for all precision timing applications, Atomic Clock holdover continues to be perceived as that "magical trick" which allows bringing time synchronization from the outside to the inside of a building.

Many premises have tighter security rules now, which may require powering down devices like test equipment before being allowed to enter. Of course, powering down the atomic clock implies losing synchronization. In certain cases, standby mode could be used instead. The process can be summarized as:

  • Go outside, turn on the test set, attach a GNSS antenna (with full sky view), enable the GNSS receiver, let it lock and finish the location survey. (Refer to How to Configure the GNSS Receiver for more details.)
  • Enable the Atomic Clock Disciplining and let its timing signal converge and lock to the standard second. (Refer to How to Configure the Atomic Clock for more details.)
  • Trun the GNSS Receiver OFF, so the Atomic Clock can enter into holdover mode.
  • Press HOME + ESC to put the test set in Standby Mode.
  • Quickly transport the unit to the desired test location.
  • Press HOME + ENTER to exit the Standby Mode.
  • Launch the desired test application and start testing, being mindful that the time uncertainty or inaccuracy increases over time. The exact rate of time drift is unknown, as it depends on many factors, including the disciplining conditions and procedure used, test conditions, temperature changes, and other environmental factors.

For more information on how disciplining and holdover works, refer to GNSS Disciplining and Holdover for Field Testing.

Related Test Solutions