Frequency counters

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A frequency counter measures the number of repetitive pulses in a time frame. A major basis of differentiation among frequency counters is the frequency range. Various devices have different ranges, starting from as low as 0.001Hz to as high as 3Ghz. The accuracy of a frequency counter depends on several factors, such as the count error, time base error or systematic error. These errors may be caused by noise, temperature and other factors. Apart from the accuracy, the resolution of the frequency counter or the ability of the frequency counter to differentiate between two signals close to each other is an important factor that impacts performance. The resolution depends on the number of digits in the reading, with a higher number of digits enabling higher resolution. For direct reading frequency counters, the resolution also depends on the gate time, or the time in which the counter counts the number of pulses or transition crossings. With frequency set as the number of crossings per second, a one second gate time enables frequencies to be read down to a resolution of 1Hz, a 0.1 second gate time allows a resolution of 10Hz, a 10 second gate time enables a resolution of 0.1Hz, and so on.