Amateur radio, programming, electronics and other musings

All posts in Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor

Report Packet 0x8F-AB Primary Timing Packet

Categories: Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor
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In an earlier post I posted a sample capture from my Trimble to demonstrate the kind of data packets which would need to be interpreted by the software.  I left it for a little while giving any readers the chance to dig into the documentation and decode it themselves.  I received an email from Sam in VKland who managed to do just that and send me the decoded output.  Not sure if Sam is a radio ham but he has already posted some ideas for the future of the project.

0x8F-AB is an automatic output packet which provides time information once per second if enabled with packet 0x8E-A5. GPS week number, GPS time-of-week (TOW), UTC integer offset, time flags, date and time-of-day (TOD) information is provided. This packet can be requested with packet 0x8E-AB.

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Trimble Thunderbolt (RS232)

Categories: Projects, Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor
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If you are planning to connect your Trimble to a microcontroller as I am you will need to provide it appropriate levels as the RS-232 standard defines the voltage levels that correspond to logical one and logical zero levels for the data transmission and the control signal lines.  Read more


Categories: Projects, Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor
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I pulled out the PICAXE documentation, fired up the development environment and started to write some code.  It didn’t take too long before I worked out that the picaxe was just not up to the job of processing the serial traffic from the Thunderbolt.  It might just be my limited experience but I wasn’t prepared to spend any more time on it when I knew there were alternatives available.  I jumped onto the web and ordered a Netduino which is an open source electronics platform using the .NET Micro Framework.  Featuring a 32-bit microcontroller and a rich development environment it is perfect for me who is very comfortable with the C# programming environment.

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Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor Project (LCD)

Categories: Projects, Trimble Thunderbolt Monitor
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I decided I would like to start a new construction project for 2012. Having thought carefully I finalised on a 10MHz reference which can be used as a standard for test equipment, or to lock the master oscillator (TCXO) of a rig/transverter to a solid, accurate source. I did quite a bit of research over Christmas and concluded that the best bet would be to start with something commercial and add to it. It is possible to start from scratch but with the surplus market so cheap why not spend the time adding the sugar and actually using it.

My research eventually pointed me to the Trimble Thunderbolt which is a commercial GPS disciplined clock and readily available on eBay. This was to be the basis of the project. I ordered one and it arrived today.

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