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Consider a lab that contains an NTP (network time protocol) time server that synchronizes events between multiple workstations connected to the same network. I have a Tektronix DPO4034 oscilloscope that features an ethernet port. Would it be possible to synchronize the oscilloscope to the NTP time server such that an event could be captured on the oscilloscope and its time recorded with respect to the NTP reference time? Is this a feature that's common or available on modern oscilloscopes?

I searched the DPO4034 manual for all instances of 'time' or 'timestamp'. It looks like you can buy modules that allow you to capture I2C, SPI, CAN, or serial bus events that contain timestamp information, but from the following image it looks like it only provides relative time (presumably with respect to some arbitrary reference time?):

enter image description here

Plus, I'd like to capture time events for arbitrary signals, not necessarily I2C, SPI, CAN, or serial signals. Does anybody have any advice?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The common method to me is a 1pps or 10MHz ref clock time sync, but any computer can do NTP sync and set it thru the ethernet port with minimal latency and error correction. (With suitable setup) \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 May 29 '18 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to research data acquisition systems that support PTP. This is not a common requirement for oscilloscopes, AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany May 29 '18 at 15:24
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PC to Scope should be possible, then PC to NTP.

Exerpt

To make use of NTP service and have your computer's clock set to NRC time, you will need software that can request time over the Internet.

A version of the NTP client software used to synchronize computer clocks is called Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP). The software for various computers can be downloaded from many sites on the Internet.

To configure SNTP software to synchronize your clock to NRC time, you must set the NTP server to the following stratum‑2 host names (do not use the IP address, as this may change):

time.nrc.ca
time.chu.nrc.ca

For users who have an NTP server on their system and would like to synchronize to NRC time, configure your daemon to include the above NTP server address.

The NRC operates two sets of stratum‑2 NTP servers at two different locations operating on different networks. Both servers are controlled in the same way by atomic clocks operated by the NRC and provide official time with the same accuracy. This redundant setup offers a more reliable time service to Canadians in cases of network and maintenance outages.

The NRC offers new NRC TimeLinkTM - Monitored NTP service for users who require service from a stratum‑1 server. Please contact us for more details.

TEK manual

TIME
Sets or returns the time that the oscilloscope displays.
Group
Miscellaneous
Syntax
TIME <QString>
TIME?
Related Commands
DATE
Arguments
<QString> is a time in the form "hh:mm:ss" where hh refers to a two-digit hour
number, mm refers to a two-digit minute number from 00 to 59, and ss refers to a
two-digit second number from 00 to 59.
Examples
TIME "14:00:00" sets the time to exactly 2:00 p.m.
TIME? might return :TIME "14:05:17” indicating the current time is set to 2:05
p.m. and 17 seconds.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great, thanks for your help so far. Do you know if it's possible to capture and record the oscilloscope time on the occurrence of some arbitrary trigger signal? \$\endgroup\$ – pr871 May 29 '18 at 16:02

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