Clocks and Timing Solutions for Automotive-Grade Products Find Out How Oscillators for Frequency Control Contribute to Many Auto Applications

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Automotive-Grade Products

To understand how clocks and timing solutions are used in automotive applications, you have to begin with frequency – and how frequency is created. In a superior electronic component that can keep steady time and function as the point of control for all kinds of timing-dependent functions – you have to have a stable, strong, uninterrupted frequency.

Frequency is generated by the vibration – or oscillation – of a resonating surface, such as quartz crystal. When quartz crystal is mechanically agitated, it generates a current, and frequency is born. Frequency can allow for a reliable stream of information to travel over its waves.

Like many electronic products that require a steady signal to function correctly – ones that literally tell you it’s 1:00 and you’re late for your dentist appointment or that can electronically shut off an application after a certain amount of time passes (such as a real time clock), they all begin with frequency.

What Car Applications Use Frequency as a Timing Solution?

A stable, uninterrupted frequency is required in many parts of a car. However, an engineer has to acquire the right components. For the auto industry, AEC-Q200 materials are required because of their durability, ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures, and are agreed upon as an industry standard for their effectiveness, quality, and safety in automotive products. If you’re an engineer in the design community, it’s essential to ensure that the electronic components for automotive timing solutions come bearing AEC-Q200 certification. 

Once AEC-Q200 products are secured, there are a variety of automotive applications that use quartz crystal oscillators in their timing circuitry. In fact, it has been estimated that 500 to 600 such components are utilized in the modern electric vehicle. 

Here are some of the most common uses of timing solutions in vehicles:

  • Sensors for safety, including back-up cameras, anti-lock brakes, and collision detection
  • In-car GPS systems 
  • Car radios 
  • Any interfaces that display time 
  • Infotainment systems that connect to your smartphone 
  • In-car Wi-Fi
  • Power management in electric vehicles 

Whether it’s for safety, entertainment, or a variety of other frequency-based applications, cars are heavy on circuitry that include a timing solution. When your car senses someone running across the road, or a car is suddenly immediately in front of the vehicle, it sends a signal to crucial parts of the car (such as a display and the braking mechanisms). When you want to receive the latest news from a satellite radio program, that information is sent down to your vehicle by a specific frequency.

In an electric vehicle, a customized timing solution is used, which operates at full power even when the battery is draining. Much like a smartwatch that can still keep time as the battery dies, electric vehicles have timing solutions that won’t falter even as the car’s battery needs to be recharged, thus making electric vehicles viable and convenient for the modern driver. 

Where to Find Superior Timing Solution Products 

First, ensure that the distributor of electronic components you are working with is dedicated to the use of quartz crystal for its oscillators and clocking products. This is the superior resonating surface for oscillators and, by extension, frequency, so it is important to research the original manufacturer’s priorities. 

As we’ve mentioned, the next step is to ensure that your products are AEC-Q200 certified. In the case of a premier manufacturer of timing solutions for motor vehicles, a parametric search function on their website will allow you to select AEC-Q200 certification, as well as other specifications for your product. However, beginning with AEC-Q200 as your first selection will allow you to see all automotive products that the manufacturer has available, and will make your search much easier. 

A final recommendation is not so much about the quality of the products you’re purchasing, but the quality of service that the manufacturer is willing to provide. In a best-case scenario, your manufacturer serves as an engineering resource during the design process. If you have questions about the circuitry you are building for the automotive industry, consider whether a particular manufacturer is willing to offer technical assistance. This service is not just about good business practices either. When a high-quality business is committed to ensuring you can develop an improved use-case for their technology – and for the vehicles we all use – they’re committed to seeing others succeed as innovators, and that kind of generosity will lead to the greater gains in the engineering community as a whole.

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