At Sapling, we wanted to create a master timing device that delivered the correct time out to all the clocks in a building or facility while equipped with additional features that the user would find very helpful in their facility. We developed many different technologies to do so. Through wireless, wired, and Internet Protocol (IP) connections, the end result was our SMA Series Master Clock—an extremely versatile device that accurately synchronizes slave clocks with the correct time while providing added benefits for the user.
However, what is the point of having a master clock that syncs all other clocks if there are constant interruptions in the functionality of the master clock? This can occur when the time source of the master clock malfunctions or the power source gets interrupted. We know that the master’s most obvious responsibility of syncing the clocks doesn’t even matter if the back-end design isn’t right in the first place. That is why SMA Series Master Clocks are equipped with redundancy and back-up functions that provide a solid foundation for the master’s main purpose—to distribute accurate time to the slave clocks.
An interruption that could cause trouble to the master clock would be a malfunction in its own time source. The master clock, whether synchronized through GPS or NTP time, has that possibility of losing its connection to the outside time. This could be due to a storm or hurricane that damaged the GPS receiver, or a crash in the server room that corrupted the NTP server. However, with Sapling’s SMA Series Master Clocks, there is always a plan B. Along with the GPS and NTP time that a Sapling master clock can receive, the master can also store up to 10 NTP server addresses that it may refer to if it cannot communicate with its initial choice of time synchronization. This means, if the GPS antenna gets knocked off the roof by the wind, or your NTP server loses connectivity, the master clock will have 10 back-up sources in order to continue providing accurate time to all clocks in the facility.
The second back-up function that Sapling’s SMA Series Master Clocks provide is the 10 year battery back-up. This feature allows the user to store settings, as well as the accurate time in the master clock without having to plug it in. So, if a facility relocates but wants to use the same master clock as the old facility, Sapling’s SMA Series Master Clocks can be picked up and moved anywhere, but still retain the same settings when relocated. This function also helps during power outages. When the SMA Series Master Clock loses power and turns off, all the settings that took the user so long to configure are not lost. When the clock is powered back up, the master clock will still have stored the same IP addresses, schedules, and time zone settings that the user has programmed previously.
For a device that has such an important responsibility to maintain a consistent time source for all clocks in a facility, having the proper technology to make sure that its always performing this responsibility is crucial. Even if a master clock can synchronize a slave clock down to the millisecond, it doesn’t matter if that synchronization can be interrupted by a simple power outage. With Sapling’s SMA Series Master Clocks, users can rest assured that, while the master is actively synchronizing each clock in the system, hiccups in the power supply or outside time source will pose no problem to the accuracy of the time displays.