A real-time clock (RTC) is a computer clock (most often in the form of an integrated circuit) that keeps track of the current time.
Although the term often refers to the devices in personal computers, servers and embedded systems, RTCs are present in almost any electronic device which needs to keep accurate time.
The term real-time clock is used to avoid confusion with ordinary hardware clocks which are only signals that govern digital electronics, and do not count time in human units. RTC should not be confused with real-time computing, which shares its three-letter acronym but does not directly relate to time of day.
RTCs often have an alternate source of power, so they can continue to keep time while the primary source of power is off or unavailable. This alternate source of power is normally a lithium battery in older systems, but some newer systems use a supercapacitor, because they are rechargeable and can be soldered. The alternate power source can also supply power to battery backed RAM.