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Workstation Atomic Radio Clock (ARC) Hardware Manual

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Workstation Atomic Radio Clock (ARC)


The Workstation ARC (Atomic Radio-controlled computer Clock) is a radio controlled clock which is able to receive the precise time transmitted by the National Physics Laboratory accurate to 1 second in a 1,000,000 years and corrected automatically for summer/winter time. The time signal is transmitted via the MSF Radio Station located at Rugby. The signal can be received in the British Isles, Ireland and parts of Central Europe. The Workstation ARC is equipped with a serial interface and can adjust the time and date of a computer�s internal time using appropriate software drivers. The Workstation ARC allows the computer to obtain the exact time and date information immediately after booting, or at any required time.

1. Key Elements of Workstation ARC

Atomic Radio Clock

The Atomic Radio Clock processes the time telegram that is received by the internal antenna and decodes it to enable it to display the correct time and date on its display and also output the correct time and date to a computer via a RS232 serial interface.

The Workstation ARC also shows an indication of the signal strength being received during initialisation.

If possible, site the ARC in a sheltered position, away from any metal objects and items that may cause radio interference as both of these will naturally affect the receivers performance.

Power Supply

The Workstation ARC is powered by two AA batteries. These fit into the compartment underneath the Workstation clock.

2. Installation

2.1 Unpacking and initialization

The System comprises of three components:-

Atomic Radio Clock (ARC) receiver, cable, and Software.

Procedure for installation

1. Take out the Workstation ARC Clock, cable and software from the packaging. You may already have the batteries installed into your Workstation Clock. If you do have any characters on your display you may already have the signal synchronised thus giving you the correct time and date.

2. Position the Workstation ARC as shown below with the antenna orientation at right angles to the radio signal transmitted from Rugby

3. Insert the batteries, as soon as the ARC is powered all segments of the display are activated for one second.�� Then the alarm signal beeps once and the seconds-display starts running from O.�� This indicates the start of the radio signal reception.�� The quality of the reception is shown in the display by one to four bars, from the top of the radio tower symbol:�� 1 bar means weak or no reception, 4 bars means excellent reception.�� When the signal from the radio station has been picked up, the radio tower symbol, in the display starts blinking. After on average 3�� minutes the actual time appears in the display.� The radio tower symbol stops blinking when the time telegram has been decoded and confirmed, you now know that the unit is working. If you have any problems obtaining the time then refer to Section 3. Positioning of the Workstation ARC and Section 4. Trouble shooting.

4. Ensure that the position selected for the Workstation ARC allows a good signal reception, i.e. 3 or 4 bars on the ARC display if possible.

5. Once the ARC has the correct time and date, with the RJ45 connector in hand, insert it into the Workstation Clock ( above the battery compartment ), then plug the 9 way D-Type into the computers serial port. Serial ports COM1 to COM4 can be used.

6. Now that the Workstation ARC is powered up, has the correct time and is connected to a serial port of your computer you are ready to install the software drivers. The following software drivers are available for use with Atomic Radio Controlled Clocks, NOVELL , UNIX, DEC VMS, DOS , Windows 3.11, Windows 95/98 and Window NT.:- Refer to separate instructions on the disk supplied for software installation

Software Installation

Ensure that the ARC (Atomic radio Clock) has the correct time and is correctly connected to the computer before installing any software.

For documentation on installation please refer to documentation if supplied, alternatively the text file or Microsoft Word file on disk supplied.

3. Positioning of the Workstation ARC

Before setting up the atomic radio clock you should ensure a good signal is available. The clock must be capable of receiving the Rugby transmitted time and you will often need to find a suitable position for good reception.

Possible Causes of Interference to the Time Signal

Domestic appliance without radio interference suppressers

Computer monitors closer than 2 meters away

TV Receivers closer than 2 metros away

Machinery with high H.F. leakage

Poor atmospheric conditions (i.e. stormy weather)

As with your Television or Radio, you may have difficulties in receiving a strong signal because of position or atmospheric conditions. Electrical appliances, motors, televisions or computers may interfere with the reception. You may experience poor reception in low-lying areas and in metal buildings.

Important Notes

The performance of the clock is subject to its ability to receive the radio signal that is transmitted from Rugby. Difficulty in reception will be experienced in metal clad� buildings. Signal strength improves at night, it is recommended to leave the clock overnight, ideally near a window if you are having difficulty setting it.

This clock will function outside the UK, up to a range of 1,500Km from Rugby but will always display local British time.

Please note that the Rugby transmitter is shutdown for� maintenance the first Tuesday of every month during normal working hours. Also the transmitter can be interrupted for up to two weeks for maintenance during the summer again during normal working hours. The ARC will maintain accurate time to an accuracy of 0.01 seconds maximum drift per 24 hour period that the radio time signal is not available.


Atomic Radio Clock does not automatically show correct time within 10 minutes after the unit if powered up.


Re-position the antenna, e.g. turn through 45-90 degrees, or� put it near a window then start several� tests by removing the batteries for 1 minute then replacing them. Check to see if any H.F. interference source such as TV or computer screen is close by.

Location of the Workstation ARC is very important. The following must be considered:-

The maximum length of the cable from the ARC to the computer is 11m (a 10m extension cable is available from Galleon Product code C10/ARC) If the ARC need to be positioned further away than 11m then a Server ARC is available that can be positioned up to 150m away, contact technical support at Galleon if you think this is necessary.

Use the signal strength indicator on the ARC display to select a good location for the Workstation ARC to receive the MSF time signal. . It takes a few seconds for the ARC to lock onto the signal. Start the initialization by resetting the Workstation ARC. To reset the Server ARC simply remove the batteries wait 60 seconds and replace the batteries. It will take on average 3�� minutes to establish a validated time/date information.

4. Troubleshooting

Q. �� Time is not showing on the ARC, just the seconds counting

A. You do not have a� good signal. Place the ARC somewhere sensible, not underground, nor near a monitor or electrical equipment. Electrically noisy environments or valleys can adversely affect the signal strength, see Section 3 on setting up the ARC. If you continue to have problems try rotating the unit through 45-90 degrees and then try obtaining the signal again and be aware that it can take up to four minutes to get the signal.

Q.��� ARC has the correct time but software drivers can not get time

A.��� Check that all cable connections and connectors are correctly seated and� fully pushed in.

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