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Time Calibrator - Free PC Real-Time Clock Analyzer
The Precision Time Calibrator is a tool for analyzing and controlling the performance of the Real Time clock in a PC. The program queries atomic clocks on the internet and compares these high precision time bases to the current time in your computer. It then displays any error between your computer and the atomic clocks. The display shows the absolute error as well as a graph of how the error changes over time. This makes it easy to see exactly how much the clock on a PC drifts over time and allows you to make adjustments to correct for drift.
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New Features: You can now create your own custom Host List and edit the Host List, inserting, deleting and rearranging the items on the list. The list is automatically saved and loaded every time the program runs.

 Theory of Operation and Features

Time Servers. The internet has a number of special web sites that work as Time Servers. These Time Servers are often tied to Atomic Clocks or other high-accuracy time sources.

These servers can be queried by any computer that has access to the internet to get highly accurate time data. The data transmitted by Time Servers even contains special information that allows the computer to compensate for the time it takes the signal from the Time Server to your computer.

Time Calibrator main window screen display

The program maintains a list of valid time servers. Each server has different characteristics. Some servers are more accurate; the accuracy information is displayed in the Parameters section.

Other servers only allow a limited of queries which makes them unsuitable for high frequency, repeated monitoring.

Graph. The program maintains a Graph that displays the PC Clock error over time. The x-axis displays the time in seconds and the y-axis displays error in seconds. The graph allows you to see the clock drift over time.

Time Calibration Error Graph display - Time Calibrator
Calibration. The program has calibration tools that allow you to adjust Windows time information so it is more accurate. The Windows system clock is incremented periodically to advance the system clock. Windows give you the option of varying the amount the clock is increments, you can speed up and slow down the clock. The program allows you to apply an adjustment based the clock error that the program sees. This allows you to compensate for clock drift.

Time Calibrator - Calibration Page

Calibration Procedure. To Calibrate the Windows Clock, you start by looking at the "Drift Per Day" value on the Statistics Page. It is a good idea to press the Clear Button and allow the Drift to settle for 5 or 10 minutes so that random variations in the Drift will averaged out.

The example to the right shows that a Drift Per Day of about -5.5 second per day. This means the close will lose 5.5 second during the course of a day.

Time Calibrator - Error Display

Since the clock is losing 5.5 second per day, we need to adjust the clock so it adds 5.5 seconds to the clock during the course of the day.

The example to right shows an adjustment that adds 5.5 seconds to the clock every day. Once the value is set, click on the "Adjustment Enabled" option so the displays "On." Finally, press the "Apply Adjustment" button. The program will then set the Windows clock to add the proper number of nanoseconds to add 5.5 seconds per day.

Time Calibrator - Time Adjustment options

The graph to the right shows the time-error before and after the 5.5 second adjustment has been added. As you can see, the error is slowly drifts to -0.02 over the first five minutes of the graph. Once the adjustment has been applied, the clock stops drifting and maintains the same error level for second half of the graph plot.

You can use the graph to fine-tune your adjustment. For example, if the clock continues to drift after an adjustment has been applied, you can make small incremental changes to the adjustment to cancel out all error.

Note that certain high intensity activities on the computer can effect the error levels. For example, if you are running a high frame-rate computer game, delays in the clock updates can cause the clock to temporarily report larger errors. In general, it is best shut down other programs while you are calibrating the clock.

Time Calibrator - Pre and Post adjust graph
Editing The List of Hosts. You can edit the list of Time Server Hosts to add, delete, or reorder hosts.

The Editor shows a list of all the currently available hosts. The Tool Bar on the left side allows you to make changes to the List, including move items up or down, delete items and add new items to the list. The edited list is automatically saved to the hard drive and automatically loaded when the program starts.

Time Calibrator - Hosts Editor
 User License
The program is free of charge and does not contain any advertising or limitations. You are free to use it however you see fit. However, you may not repackage or sell the program.

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