[time-nuts] Thunderbolt stability and ambient temperature

Mark Sims holrum at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 9 15:47:04 EDT 2009

I think that using a well insulated box (like a fridge) is probably not going to improve things much with a Thunderbolt.  The very modest improvement going from a simple cardboard box (and .17C shifts) to an insulated box (and .060C shifts) seems to imply that we are close to the inherent noise limits of the Tbolt.  

If you can get your Tbolt/power supply isolated enough to keep the temperature cycles below around 0.2C you should be doing well.  The better the insulation, the higher the electronics temperature (and its potential effect on reliability).  The Tbolt goes into a major alarm state at 60C.  Lady Heather flags temperatures of 50-60C in yellow.   The one thing that a larger enclosure does provide is better buffering of the temperature.  You can get better isolation from ambient with less effect on the electronics temperature that a small, tightly insulated box can provide.  Perhaps something like a small picnic cooler would be a good compromise...  but it is hard to beat the cost:effectiveness ratio of a simple cardboard box.

The air conditioning/heating cycles typically occur over a 15 minute to 1 hour range.  The Tbolt seems to handle longer term temperature shifts (such as daily variations that you might see when climate control systems are not in use) much better.
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