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Setup NTP on compute board to serve time to Create® 3

Why should I do this?

ROS 21 is dependent upon synchronized clocks between nodes to have all data in the same reference time. When the Create® 3 is publishing on topics, it is publishing its data with the timestamp of its system clock, which synchronizes with an NTP server. If the Create® 3's Wi-Fi is connected to a network with internet connection, it will sync to a global time NTP server. The Create® 3 NTP config is also set to listen for servers on USB IP address and If the compute board is connected over USB to the Create® 3 with the compute board assigned one of these IP addresses on its USB interface, NTP on the compute board can keep the clocks between the compute board and Create® 3 in sync, even without an internet connection. If there is an internet connection on both compute board and Create® 3, configuring the NTP server on the compute board to serve the Create® 3 can still add value by reducing jitter between clocks. If your Create® 3 and compute board have an internet connection, this is not required, but is still recommended.


  1. On your Compute Board, install chrony NTP server package

    sudo apt install chrony
  2. Edit the config file

    sudo vi /etc/chrony/chrony.conf
  3. Add the following lines after the pool iburst maxsources # block

    # Enable serving time to ntp clients on subnet.
  4. Optionally add the following lines immediately afterward if your SBC will not have a connection to a reference clock (i.e., the Internet)

    # Serve time even if not synchronized to a time source
    local stratum 10
  5. Restart chrony

    sudo service chrony restart
  6. Log into the Create® 3 web application and modify the NTP sources (as of Jul 2023 under "Beta Features") to add the following if it does not exist:

    server iburst
  7. Through the Create® 3 web application, restart the NTPD server (or reboot the robot) if you made changes in the previous step.

  8. Verify compute NTP server is talking to the Create® 3

    sudo chronyc clients
  9. Confirm shows non 0 number in NTP column

    Hostname                      NTP   Drop Int IntL Last     Cmd   Drop Int  Last
    ===============================================================================                  51      0   5   -    32       0      0   -     -
  10. Note that if there is a large jump in the time, the Create® 3 may not accept it until its next reboot. This can be verified by checking the Create® 3 robot's log for a line like

    user.notice ntpd: ntpd: reply from delay ### is too high, ignoring

    If this happens, simply restart the robot (not just the application) via the webserver over the network connection.

  1. ROS 2 is governed by Open Robotics