Monday, August 11, 2014

More fussing about with the crazy clock design

I don't usually breadboard things - I usually just either try to simulate them or just design carefully and order prototype boards. And I did that with the crazy clock too - a prototype board is on its way - but while waiting for it, I did grab a PDIP Tiny85 that I had handy and started experimenting with firmware designs (using two LEDs instead of a lavet stepper). That's how I came up with the firmware that I have now.

But I digress.

One thing I did between then and now was order a new pogo ISP adapter from Tindie. This let me bury the ISP header under the Tiny85, something I wasn't able to do with the traditional 2x3 DIP footprint. That let me dramatically shrink the board from what I had before. And the hope is that the board will be able to be buried inside of the case of the clockwork, so size is quite important.

Unfortunately, the choice of crystal is turning into a big sticking point for the design.

There are a bunch of tensions at work: I usually try to pick the 3.2x2.5 mm 4 SMD pad crystals. They're quite compact and placing them alongside their 22 pF caps has been the usual pattern thus far. And size is, as I said, definitely a factor. But so is accuracy. 10 ppm is just under a second per day, which is sort of at the outer limit of what's acceptable for a clock. And then there's the fact that we want to use the crystal as an interrupt timer for the sketch, which means that we need to work a division by 1024 into the math and still come out with well-timed interrupts. That means our crystal choices are even multiples of 1.024 MHz - which severely limits the choices. The small SMD footprint comes in a 16.384 MHz crystal, but even with a CPU clock pre-scaler, it's looking like power consumption is directly proportional to frequency. So lower frequency crystals are preferred.

In the end, it looks like I'm going to have to go with an HC-49 through-hole footprint. DigiKey does have an 8.192 MHz 10 ppm crystal for 49 cents, but it does force the board to be wider. It's now 1.25" x .55" thanks to the almost giant looking space in the middle reserved for the crystal. But that's half the frequency of a 16.384 one, so the power consumption might still meet my target of less than 500 µA while idling, and with a CPU prescale of 16, that's a CPU clock of 512 kHz. Then with a timer0 prescale of 1024, that's a counting rate of 500 Hz, so a CTC value of 50 yields an interrupt source of 10 Hz - perfect.

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