Operator placing accounts on Test in MKMSCS

Operator placing accounts on Test in MKMSCS

It's often been asked - why is the start time when an operator presses F5 1 hour prior to the actual time?  

In the image above, the time of the computer and the time of the virtual machine is reflected by the red circle to the bottom right of the image.  When the operator pressed F5 - the exact time was 10:22am.  But when you look at the time in the F5 test window screen, it shows exactly 1-hour before 10:22am, 9:22am (indicated with the red brackets).  This causes some technical support questions; so, this document aims to address why it is an hour earlier.  This time is merely an aesthetic time value.  Understanding that each device can and often does have it's own time clock, we use this aesthetic time to provide a buffer between the computer where the test schedule was created and the computer where the Signal Processing Application is running.  Normally these applications do run on separate computers, thus - they can each keep their own time.  So, imagine if the computer where the operator is sitting says it's 10:22am but the signal processing computer where all time events are kept track of says it's 10:15am.  Well, if the operator pressed Save to create the test event, guess what?  This account wouldn't actually be on test, until after the Spa computer machine got to the 10:22 am time.  This could result in signals coming in and an unaware operator could inadvertently dispatch an authority to a location. 

So, this Start time is a simple buffer to ensure that there aren't any huge time discrepancies between time clocks, a 1 hour buffer before the actual time of the event ensures the account goes ON test when the operator clicks the Save button.  So, in this example when the operator clicks the Save button, the software looks the the aesthetic time of 9:22am, and then Spa looks at its time and says it's definitely later than 9:22am and it places the account on test.  For historical purposes, this start time is not recorded in the alarm history of the account.  What is stored is the exact time the operator clicked the start button and that time is recorded in the 'Occurred' field of alarm history - when the AT* ('Account placed on Test' signal) actually was created.  The only place you will see the Start time is in the form when you create the test, and in the Starting Column of the Test Window.  It is not recorded in history.  

It's best to use an NTP time server to keep all of your devices synchronized to some know time source.  NTP time is outside the scope of our support and this article but I've provided some links below for further understanding. 

Network Time Protocol Wiki  - public wiki document about the NTP protocol
Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) time servers  - a Microsoft Resource of available NTP servers 
Just another resource, Let me google that for you! - Shameful google plug for those of us who aren't as familiar with looking things up online! :) 

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