Unit II

Time and Instruments:

School classes, schedules, drive times, bed times, and meetings, this is how “time” occupies most of our consciousness. But if  we examine our technological world we find that the measurement of time goes far beyond pop culture’s understanding of time measurement. The fact is our world as we know it, almost every part, relies on precise time measurement to make all of our technology work. Vehicles, computers, phones and more all depend on quartz or atomic clocks, also the global supply chain that delivers goods relies on countless machines with clocks synched and unsynched. Did you ever wonder how many types of “clocks” exist?

The tools that make the goods:

In the last unit and video we talked about how engineers needed a way to measure electricity in order to start building cool and useful things. Voltage, amplitude and watts became standardized benchmarks to which we could integrate machines and computers. All devices of complexity also use time measurement to make computations and adjustments. While we could talk about all the consumer goods with clocks that change our lives, in the Universe of Instrumentation series we put a unique focus on tools that make all the rest of the goods possible.

Clocks: Begin your lesson with three major types of clocks. Time keeping devices are found within almost all electronics today and are one of the keystones of modern technology.

Above: The first three types of clocks used light, water and motion

Electronic Test Equipment: This stuff makes the amazing possible. Learn about Oscilloscopes, Time Interval Counters and Spectrum Analyzers.

Above: test equipment critical for engineers

Computers: without the development of precise clocks computers would not function. See our pages and videos on this for more.

Above: A Commodore 64 computer, one of the foundations of home computers

Radio: The use of changing frequencies over time is the basis of radio signals and computer signals. The area of radio and computers has its own set of test equipment which you will learn about in this course when this section is complete.

Above: Radio technology is only possible with precise time measurement. An early cell phone.

Unit II Sections and Videos:

II.A Clocks – Page >

II.B Test Equipment and Clocks – Page >

II.C Computers – Page >

  • II.C.1 Old Computers – Page
    II.C.1.a Time Base in Commodor Vic 20 Computer 1980 – Video
    II.C.1.b Time Base in Atari Video Computer 1977-1992 – Video
  • II.C.2 New Computers – Page

II.D Communications Technology – Page >

  • II.D.1 Cellular Phones and Time Measurement Technology – Page
    II.D.1.a Cellular Phones – Video release Dec 2022
  • II.D.2 GPS and the Time Measurement – Page
    II.D.2.a Global Positioning Systems – Video release Dec 2022

Just follow the “Next” buttons to move to parts of this course which are complete.