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What is an oscillator? An oscillator is a circuit that creates a waveform output from a direct current input. The two main types of oscillator are harmonic and relaxation. The harmonic oscillators have smooth curved waveforms, while relaxation oscillators have waveforms with sharp changes.
It may also be termed as a circuit that generates an RF output signal through feedback and amplification. The oscillator contains a path whereby part of the output signal is fed back to the input. A circuit containing an active device with feedback elements must have the feedback signal larger than, and in-phase with, the input signal for the oscillator to sustain oscillation. The most common types of waveforms produced by an oscillator are sinusoidal and square.

How Oscillators Work
A basic oscillator is a capacitor and inductor connected together. As the capacitor discharges, the current creates a magnetic field in the inductor. When the capacitor is fully discharged, the field collapses and induces an opposite current that charges the capacitor again. This cycle continues until all the energy is lost through resistance. The frequency of the oscillations depends on the size of the capacitor and inductor. Every component has some inherent electrical noise, and this noise provides the initial signal for an oscillator. The output noise is sent back to the input as feedback to be filtered and amplified. This process eventually turns the noise into a steady signal.

I--Harmonic Oscillators
These are also called sine-wave or sinusoidal oscillators because their output is a sine-wave. There are many different ways of combining components to form these oscillators, and each type has different properties. For example, the Colpitts oscillator uses a voltage divider for feedback, while the Armstrong oscillator uses two inductor coils.

II--Relaxation Oscillators
These are also called non-sinusoidal oscillators because their distinctive sharp waveforms are created by non-linear events, such as a sudden capacitor discharge. The frequency of the output signal can be changed by altering the time it takes the capacitor to build up it's charge. It is often used to produce a non-sinusoidal output, such as a square wave or sawtooth. The oscillator contains a nonlinear component such as a transistor that periodically discharges the energy stored in a capacitor or inductor, causing abrupt changes in the output waveform. Square-wave relaxation oscillators can be used to provide the clock signal for sequential logic circuits such as timers and counters, although crystal oscillators are often preferred for their greater stability.


Triangle-wave or saw-tooth oscillators are used in the time-base circuits that generate the horizontal deflection signals for cathode ray tubes in analogue oscilloscopes and television sets. In function generators, this triangle wave may then be further shaped into a close approximation of a sine wave. Other types of relaxation oscillators include the multivibrator and the rotary traveling wave oscillator. Relaxation oscillators, such as the crystal oscillator, are used as timers and switches in many devices, like digital watches, televisions and computers.

Oscillator Uses
Harmonic oscillator
The harmonic, or linear, oscillator produces a sinusoidal output. The basic form of a harmonic oscillator is an electronic amplifier with the output attached to an electronic filter, and the output of the filter attached to the input of the amplifier, in a feedback loop. When the power supply to the amplifier is first switched on, the amplifier's output consists only of noise. The noise travels around the loop, being filtered and re-amplified until it increasingly resembles the desired signal. A piezoelectric crystal (commonly quartz) may take the place of the filter to stabilise the frequency of oscillation, resulting in a crystal oscillator. Transmitters use harmonic oscillators to create the carrier wave that carries their signal, and radios use them to demodulate the wave to get that signal. There are many ways to implement harmonic oscillators, because there are different ways to amplify and filter. For example:

Sr. No.

Type of oscillator

Uses & Remarks


Armstrong oscillator

It is sometimes called a tickler oscillator because the feedback needed to produce oscillations is provided using a tickler coil via magnetic coupling between coil L and coil T. Assuming the coupling is weak, but sufficient to sustain oscillation, the frequency is determined primarily by the tank circuit (L and C in the illustration) and is approximately given by . In a practical circuit, the actual oscillation frequency will be slightly different from the value provided by this formula because of stray capacitance and inductance, internal losses (resistance), and the loading of the tank circuit by the tickler coil. This circuit is the basis of the regenerative receiver for 2

The Hartley oscillator is an LC electronic oscillator that derives its feedback from a tapped coil in parallel with a capacitor (the tank circuit). The non-linear characteristic of the transistor or tube provides the demodulated audio signal.amplitude modulated radio signals. It is best done by using a variable inductance for tuning. FETs are commonly used as amplifiers. instead of tuning one of the two capacitors. an antenna is attached to an additional tickler coil. Although there is no requirement for there to be mutual coupling between the two coil segments. The Colpitts oscillator (1 to 500 M Hz) is widely used for variable frequency oscillations VFO . Colpitts. so the circuit is just short of oscillation. The Hartley oscillator was extensively used on all broadcast bands including the FM 88-108MHz band. A Hartley oscillator is essentially any configuration that uses a pair of series-connected coils and a single capacitor. it should be a third one connected in parallel to the inductor The Clapp oscillator is a refinement of Colpitts oscillator with an additional capacitor placed in series with the inductor. The oscillation frequency in hertz (cycles per second) is more stable and accurate and field-effect transistor are generally used. An example is given of the Scott 310E RF oscillator for its FM section. thus also called LC oscillator. Use of Armstrong oscillator is not used commonly as most designers avoid transformers wherever possible. Transformers are not as easy to work with as capacitors. A Colpitts oscillator. Due to limitation of op amps in handling the wide frequency range (1 to 500 M Hz). FET or Bipolar transistors are commonly used as amplifiers. If tuning by a variable capacitor is needed. In that application. One of the key features of this type of oscillator is its simplicity (needs only a single inductor) and robustness. The frequency is generally determined by the inductance and the two capacitors. named after its inventor Edwin H. The result is a narrow-band radio-frequency filter and amplifier. A Clapp circuit is often preferred over a Colpitts circuit for constructing a variable frequency oscillator (VFO). In a Colpitts 3 2 Hartley oscillator 3 Colpitts oscillator 4 Clapp oscillator . the circuit is usually implemented as such. and the feedback is adjusted. [1] is one of a number of designs for electronic oscillator circuits using the combination of an inductance (L) with a capacitor (C) for frequency determination.

sometimes making the Colpitts circuit less likely to achieve oscillation over a portion of the desired frequency range. as the circuit can be implemented using a minimum of components: a single digital inverter. he proposed a variant of a Colpitts oscillator. unstable tube capacitances. as well as other functional characteristics that are not readily achieved with electronic oscillators. the voltage divider contains the variable capacitor (either C1 or C2). Electrically it is equivalent to a large inductor in series with a small capacitor 9similar to a clapp). The Pierce oscillator is a type of electronic oscillator circuit particularly well-suited for implementing crystal oscillator circuits. two resistors. which acts as a highly selective filter element. Vačkář oscillator 5 The Czech engineer Jiří Vackář published in 1949 a paper on the design of stable oscillators. An opto-electronic oscillator is based on converting the continuous light energy from a pump laser to radio frequency (RF) and microwave signals. high speed. The low manufacturing cost of this circuit. As a result of his in-depth analysis of (vacuum tube) oscillators.VFO. It is a derivative of the Colpitts oscillator. Pierce (1872-1956). George W. as resonant frequency is almost unaffected by transistor and stray capacitances. which are generally characterized with high efficiency. This problem is avoided in the Clapp circuit by using fixed capacitors in the voltage divider and a variable capacitor (C0) in series with the inductor. where an additional capacitive voltage divider on the grid input reduces the feedback voltage to the necessary amount and at the same time reduces the unwanted. An opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) is an optoelectronic circuit that produces repetitive electronic sine wave and/or modulated optical continuous wave signals. Virtually all digital IC clock oscillators are of Pierce type. 7 . The OEO is characterized by having very high quality factor (Q) and stability. Named for its inventor. and low dispersion in the microwave frequency regime. and the quartz crystal. Its unique behavior results from the use of electrooptical (E/O) and photonic components. Almost all broadcasting transmitters are equipped with important quartz -crystal oscillators. This causes the feedback voltage to be variable as well. combined with the outstanding frequency stability of the 4 6 OptoElectronic Oscillator. Pierce oscillator (crystal) When accuracy and stability are much more important quartz -crystal oscillators are most commonly used. two capacitors.

Variants of this circuit find use in stroboscopes used in machine shops and nightclubs. Oscillators designed to produce a high-power AC output from a DC supply are usually called inverters. Use as a timebase in oscilloscopes was discontinued when the much more linear Miller Integrator timebase circuit using "hard" valves. This term is typically used in the field of audio synthesizers. was developed.quartz crystal. Square-wave relaxation oscillators can be used to provide the clock signal for sequential logic circuits such as timers and counters. to distinguish it from an audio frequency oscillator. and a "threshold" device such as a neon lamp. give it an advantage over other designs in many consumer electronics applications. almost always used in commercial variable audio frequency generators. It is usually implemented with a resistor or current source. for example as a Tone Generator. although crystal oscillators are often preferred for their greater stability. This type of circuit was used as the time base in early oscilloscopes and television receivers. 9 10 It is considered to be a standard oscillator circuit (a industry standard) for low to moderate frequency (5 hz to 1 M Hz). Phase-shift oscillator 8 RC oscillator (Wien Bridge and "TwinT") Widely used in fixed frequency audio generators. The Wien Bridge is often used in audio signal generators because it can be easily tuned using a two-section variable capacitor or a two section variable potentiometer (which is more easily obtained than a variable capacitor suitable for generation at low frequencies). (vacuum tubes) as a constant current source. Cross-coupled A low-frequency oscillator (LFO) is an electronic oscillator that LC oscillator generates an AC waveform at a frequency below ≈20 Hz. a capacitor. 11 (A group) 5 . the rising edge as the flash capacitor is charged and the rapid falling edge as the capacitor is discharged and the flash is produced upon receiving the firing signal from the shutter button. generating one cycle of the sawtooth. Relaxation oscillators A relaxation oscillator is an oscillator in which a capacitor is charged gradually and then discharged rapidly. Electronic camera flashes are a monostable version of this circuit.

and Precision Test Equipment. Wireless Base Stations. MCXO (Microcomputer-Compensated Crystal Oscillators) MCXOs are often used in Spread Spectrum System Clocks. RbXO (Rubidium Crystal Oscillators) RbXOs are often used in satellite terminals and bistatic and multistatic radar. Wireless Base Station Channel or Timing Reference and Fiber Optic Timing Reference. The quartz reference is not enclosed like an OCXO. Telecom Timing Modules. Applications include Phase Lock Loop (PLL) circuits in Telecom Timing Modules. Applications for this type of device include Wireless Base Stations. but is smaller and uses less power to operate. Wireless Base Station Channel or Timing Reference. MTI Radars.) VCTCXO (Voltage Controlled Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) A VCTCXO has an electronic frequency modulation input pin to control the output frequency and uses a temperature compensation circuit in the oscillator to achieve a stabilized quartz frequency reference. Frequency Standards. Fiber Optic Timing Reference XO (Clock Oscillator) 6 . OCXO (Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator) This is the highest precision quartz frequency reference available. and Precision Test Equipment OCVCXO (Oven-Controlled Voltage-Controlled Crystal Oscillators) OCVCXOs are often used in Navigation System Clocks. Wireless Base Stations. Telecom Timing Modules. and Wireless Systems Reference Oscillators (Microwave). and Phase Lock Loop (PLL) circuits in Telecom Timing Recovery. Wireless Systems. Precision Test Equipment. MTI Radars. and reference oscillators. The crystal is kept at a constant temperature inside an enclosure (oven). etc.Types of Crystal oscillators and their typical uses. VCXO (Voltage Controlled Crystal Oscillator) The VCXO is a crystal oscillator with an electronic frequency modulation input pin to control the output frequency. therefore not as accurate. TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) This device uses a temperature compensation circuit in the oscillator to achieve a stabilized quartz frequency reference. Telecom Timing Modules. Applications include Telecom Timing Modules and Wireless Systems Reference Oscillators (Microwave. Telecom Timing Modules. Applications include Phase Lock Loop (PLL) circuits in Telecom Timing Recovery. TCVCXO (Temperature-Compensated-Voltage Controlled Crystal Oscillators) TCVCXOs are often used for frequency control in Tactical Radios.

Ethernet Transceivers. Telecom Timing Circuits. although his priority was disputed by Walter Guyton Cady. A crystal oscillator is an electronic circuit that uses the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material to create an electrical signal with a very precise frequency. so oscillator circuits designed around them were called "crystal oscillators".An XO is a simple Crystal Oscillator. Nicholson at Bell Telephone Laboratories.[2] Cady built the first quartz crystal oscillator in 1921. using a crystal of Rochelle salt. Used as frequency timing reference in Microprocessor circuits. 7 . Paul Langevin first investigated quartz resonators for use in sonar during World War I. used as the resonator in a crystal oscillator. The most common type of piezoelectric resonator used is the quartz crystal. to provide a stable clock signal for digital integrated circuits. History Inside construction of a modern high performance HC-49 package quartz crystal Piezoelectricity was discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880. [3] Other early innovators in quartz crystal oscillators include G. Pierce and Louis Essen. Crystal oscillator A miniature 4 MHz quartz crystal enclosed in a hermetically sealed HC-49/US package. and to stabilize frequencies for radio transmitters and receivers. This frequency is commonly used to keep track of time (as in quartz wristwatches). W. The first crystal controlled oscillator. etc. was built in 1917 and patented[1] in 1918 by Alexander M.

Suitable quartz became a critical war material. Almost any object made of an elastic material could be used like a crystal.[5] Therefore. For critical applications the quartz oscillator is mounted in a temperature-controlled container. Most are small devices for consumer devices such as wristwatches. High-frequency crystals are typically cut in the shape of a simple. The specific characteristics will depend on the mode of vibration and the angle at which the quartz is cut (relative to its crystallographic axes). it can be made to distort in an electric field by applying a voltage to an electrode near or on the crystal. Quartz timing crystals are manufactured for frequencies from a few tens of kilohertz to tens of megahertz. Lowfrequency crystals. which depends on its size. about 100. The result is that a quartz crystal behaves like a circuit composed of an inductor. the quartz will generate an electric field as it returns to its previous shape. When the field is removed. and oscilloscopes. or ions are packed in a regularly ordered. The resonant frequency depends on size. and this can generate a voltage. computers. For applications not needing very precise timing. This means that a quartz clock. capacitor and resistor. 8 . Although crystal oscillators still most commonly use quartz crystals. It was often used in mechanical filters before quartz. shape. radios. molecules. signal generators. repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. Quartz crystals are also found inside test and measurement equipment. are typically cut in the shape of a tuning fork. This property is known as piezoelectricity. with much of it imported from Brazil. steel is very elastic and has a high speed of sound. filter or oscillator will remain accurate. such as ceramic resonators. a low-cost ceramic resonator is often used in place of a quartz crystal. such as counters. A number of firms started producing quartz crystals for electronic use during this time. devices using other materials are becoming more common. either. Operation A crystal is a solid in which the constituent atoms. Using what are now considered primitive methods. When a crystal of quartz is properly cut and mounted. such as those used in digital watches. Quartz has the further advantage that its elastic constants and its size change in such a way that the frequency dependence on temperature can be very low. and the speed of sound in the material. will not change much.Quartz crystal oscillators were developed for high-stability frequency references during the 1920s and 1930s. rectangular plate. demand for accurate frequency control of military radio equipment spurred rapid development of the crystal manufacturing industry. By 1926 quartz crystals were used to control the frequency of radio broadcasting stations and were popular with amateur radio operators. with appropriate transducers. and cellphones. with a precise resonant frequency. elasticity. since all objects have natural resonant frequencies of vibration. called a crystal oven. More than two billion (2×109) crystals are manufactured annually. and can also be mounted on shock absorbers to prevent perturbation by external mechanical vibrations. the resonant frequency of the plate. During WW2. clocks.000 crystal units were produced in the United States during 1939. For example.

For a parallel resonance crystal to operate at its specified frequency. Only odd numbered overtones are used. The series resonance is a few kilohertz lower than the parallel one. Such a crystal is referred to as a 3rd.Modeling Electrical model Electronic symbol for a piezoelectric crystal resonator Schematic symbol and equivalent circuit for a quartz crystal in an oscillator Resonance modes A quartz crystal provides both series and parallel resonance. the electronic circuit has to provide a total parallel capacitance as specified by the crystal manufacturer. To accomplish this. This means that a tuning fork crystal oscillator will resonate close to its target 9 . which occur at multiples of the fundamental resonant frequency. 5th. which means that the crystal appears as an inductive reactance in operation. For these crystals the series resistance is specified (<100 Ω) instead of the parallel capacitance. A tuning fork crystal is usually cut such that its frequency over temperature is a parabolic curve centered around 25 °C. Crystals above 30 MHz (up to >200 MHz) are generally operated at series resonance where the impedance appears at its minimum and equal to the series resistance. Any additional circuit capacitance will thus pull the frequency down. Crystals below 30 MHz are generally operated between series and parallel resonance. a crystal can be made to vibrate at one of its overtone modes. Temperature effects A crystal's frequency characteristic depends on the shape or 'cut' of the crystal. or even 7th overtone crystal. To reach higher frequencies. the oscillator circuit usually includes additional LC circuits to select the wanted overtone.

compared to perhaps 102 for an LC oscillator. where f is the resonance frequency in megahertz. called an overtone frequency.frequency at room temperature. In a real application. or seventh overtones. any spectral energy at the resonant frequency will be amplified 10 . A major reason for the wide use of crystal oscillators is their high Q factor. the circuit around the crystal applies a random noise AC signal to it. As the oscillator amplifies the signals coming out of the crystal. The maximum Q for a high stability quartz oscillator can be estimated as Q = 1. this means that a clock built using a regular 32 kHz tuning fork crystal will keep good time at room temperature. eventually dominating the output of the oscillator. In many oscillators. High frequency crystals are often designed to operate at third.04 ppm/°C². and purely by chance.6 × 107/f. When the energy of the generated output frequencies matches the losses in the circuit. The output frequency of a quartz oscillator can be either the fundamental resonance or a multiple of the resonance. a tiny fraction of the noise will be at the resonant frequency of the crystal. lose 2 minutes per year at 10 degrees Celsius above (or below) room temperature and lose 8 minutes per year at 20 degrees Celsius above (or below) room temperature due to the quartz crystal. but will slow down when the temperature either increases or decreases from room temperature. fifth. with a slice or tuning fork of quartz crystal sandwiched between them. amplifying it. A common parabolic coefficient for a 32 kHz tuning fork crystal is −0. A regular timing crystal contains two electrically conductive plates. The rate of expansion and contraction of the quartz is the resonant frequency. the signals in the crystal's frequency band will become stronger. an oscillation can be sustained. The crystal will therefore start oscillating in synchrony with that signal. The crystal oscillator circuit sustains oscillation by taking a voltage signal from the quartz resonator. and is determined by the cut and size of the crystal. One of the most important traits of quartz crystal oscillators is that they can exhibit very low phase noise. and feeding it back to the resonator. During startup. Electrical oscillators A crystal used in hobby radio control equipment to select frequency. A typical Q value for a quartz oscillator ranges from 104 to 106. Natural resistance in the circuit and in the quartz crystal filter out all the unwanted frequencies.

14. atomic oscillators are used for applications requiring better long-term stability and accuracy. Even if the series resistances at the spurious resonances appear higher than the one at wanted frequency. These designs (particularly the OCXO) often produce devices with excellent short-term stability. 20 MHz. and vibration can change the resonant frequency of a quartz crystal. it is difficult to keep even the best quartz oscillators within one part in 10−10 of their nominal frequency without constant adjustment. Using frequency dividers. 10 MHz.318 MHz. Although crystals can be fabricated for any desired resonant frequency. The vast popularity of the 3. so certain crystal frequencies are made in large quantities and stocked by electronics distributors. difficult-to-debug probabilistic failure modes.58 MHz. resulting in a collection of tones at different phases. 33. Commonly used crystal frequencies Crystals can be manufactured for oscillation over a wide range of frequencies. These include the TCXO.58 MHz and 14. Care must be taken to use only one crystal oscillator source when designing circuits to avoid subtle failure modes of metastability in electronics. If this is not possible. from a few kilohertz up to several hundred megahertz. and 40 MHz. pressure. In a crystal the oscillator. due to multiple crystal interactions. and their associated clock domains should be rigorously minimized. humidity. Each new crystal source must be rigorously justified. Many applications call for a crystal oscillator frequency conveniently related to some other desired frequency. the number of distinct crystal oscillators. This property of low phase noise makes them particularly useful in telecommunications where stable signals are needed. This is generally avoided by using low impedance oscillator circuits to enhance the series resistance differences. it is practical to derive a wide range of frequencies from one reference frequency. such as 3. Long term stability is limited by aging of the crystal.33 MHz. frequency multipliers and phase locked loop circuits. the oscillator may lock at a spurious frequency (at some temperatures). MCXO. significant (and temperature-dependent) spurious responses may be experienced. Environmental changes of temperature. and in scientific equipment where very precise time references are needed. For this reason. These responses typically appear some tens of kilohertz above the wanted series resonance. The limitations in short-term stability are due mainly to noise from electronic components in the oscillator circuits. therefore only one phase is dominant. within technological limits. in actual practice today engineers design crystal oscillator circuits around relatively few standard frequencies.318 MHz crystals is attributed initially to low cost resulting from economies of scale resulting from the popularity of television and the fact that this frequency is involved in synchronizing to the colorburst signal necessary to display color on an NTSC or PAL based television set. the crystal mostly vibrates in one axis. PLLs. 11 . through techniques such as using a subdivision of an existing clock instead of a new crystal source. since each one introduces new. and OCXO (defined below). Spurious frequencies For crystals operated in series resonance. Due to aging and environmental factors (such as temperature and vibration). but there are several designs that reduce these environmental effects.

allows integer division to common baud rates up to 38.433618 MHz) Allows integer division to 1024 kHz and binary division to lower frequencies that are whole multiples of 1 Hz.05 kHz.245 11.7 MHz intermediate frequency (IF) yielding 455 kHz signal.8432 MHz). allows binary division to 1 Hz signal (215×1 Hz) UART clock. Master clock for PAL/NTSC DVD players. Also allows integer division to common UART baud rates up to 38. PAL G uses 6.DAT. 22.DAT.332 4. etc. its multiples (2×4.9375 MHz (clock frequency of PAL B teletext.1 kHz).579545 MHz) UART clock (4×1. MiniDisc. MiniDisc. Used in CDMA systems (2×4. PAL B/D/G/H/I and NTSC M4.203125 MHz.727272 MHz.4576 3. quartz watches and clocks.43361875 4. allows integer division to common baud rates. allows binary division to 44.500 13.5 MHz is an exact multiple of the PAL and NTSC line frequencies) Common contactless smartcard frequency (ISO/IEC 14443) Used in some teletext circuits.332 MHz is the most commonly used crystal resonator. and 11.096000 4. 2×6.3728 8. and PAL I uses 4.0592 11.575611 3.025 kHz Used in USB systems as the reference clock for the full-speed PHY rate of 12 Mbit/s. sound cards.332 MHz = 8.9152 MHz).Frequency (MHz) 0. (213×32×52. 128×48 kHz (27×48 kHz). NTSC M uses 5. 256×48 kHz (28×48 kHz).032768 1.536×100 Hz. (13. divides to 1 Hz signal (222×1 Hz) The RDS signal bit rate is at 1. used also in red boxes NTSC M color subcarrier (2×3. sound cards.5536 7. SECAM uses 6.686400 4.664 MHz or 4×4. or multiplied up using a PLL to clock high speed PHYs at 480 Mbit/s Digital audio systems . Because these are very common and inexpensive they are used in many other applications.2288 MHz baseband frequency as specified by J-STD-008 Digital audio systems . While the frequency of 4. divided to 1.86724 9. or 216×100 Hz).43 color subcarrier Used in CDMA systems. divided to 1.332MHz = 17.2768 3.15909 7.8432 MHz).582056 3.768×100 Hz.1875 kbit/s.400 Allows binary division to 100 Hz (32.8432 MHz).1 kHz (256×44.8432 2.200 baud or 96×16×1. allows integer division to common baud rates PAL B/G/H color subcarrier (2×4.31818 Primary uses Real-time clocks. allows integer division to common baud rates Allows binary division to 1 kHz (212×1 kHz) Real-time clocks.288 13.328 MHz) have been used also. Common seed clock for modern PC 12 . a common second IF for FM radio[6] UART clock (6×1. for example DTMF generators PAL N color subcarrier UART clock (2×1.83040 10.144 6.2896 12.2288 MHz baseband frequency Used in radio receivers. 16×115.4375 MHz clock) NTSC M color subcarrier (4×3.579545 MHz).579545 3.400. or 215×100 Hz) PAL M color subcarrier NTSC M color subcarrier. allows integer division to common baud rates Used in compact disc digital audio systems and CDROM drives.9152 6.56 13.194304 4.0000 12.216 9.200 baud) UART clock. Also allows integer division to common UART baud rates up to 38400. Allows binary division to 100 Hz (65. mixes with 10.875 14. Digital TV receivers.2031 MHz.

) (See IEEE Std 315-1975. Used in compact disc digital audio systems and CDROM drives.1 kHz (384×44.432 19.1184 24.7456 16. AC'97.1 kHz).05 kHz.33 40. Generates intermediate frequency signal at 4. and 192 kHz sample rates used in high-end digital audio.3676 or 16. also common on VGA cards. crystals are designated with the class letter Y (Y1.092 MHz.368 16. 640x350@70 Hz. whether they are crystal oscillators or other.640x400@70 Hz. etc.000 27. PAL B/G/H color subcarrier (4×4. allows integer division to common baud rates.000 25. Also allows integer division to 48 kHz (384×48 kHz).734475 18.9152). one may see a crystal designated on a schematic with X or XTAL. Used in CDMA systems (4×4.) On occasion.9344 17.. (27 MHz is an exact multiple of the PAL and NTSC line frequencies) UART clock (16×1. 16.175 26. UART clock (8×1. allows integer division to 44. 96 kHz.000 motherboard clock generator chips.14.DAT. etc.000 50. but these forms are deprecated. Y2.000 22.2-1975.8432 MHz).) Oscillators.576 25. 640x480@60 Hz)[7] Commonly used as a reference clock for GSM and UMTS handsets.8432 MHz).025 kHz. or a crystal oscillator with XO.8432 MHz).4912 33. divided to 1. and 11.2288 MHz baseband frequency 10 Mbit/s ethernet UART clock (12×1.367667 MHz are sometimes used to avoid perfect lineup between sampling frequency and GPS spreading code. Digital TV receivers etc. (26 MHz is exactly 96 times the GSM bit rate) Master clock for PAL/NTSC DVD players. or ANSI Y32.433618 MHz) UART clock (10×1. 512×48 kHz (29×48 kHz) Fast Ethernet MII clock (100 MHz/4-bit nibble) Common Video Graphics Array pixel clock (i. allows integer division to common baud rates Commonly used for down-conversion and sampling in GPS-receivers. are designated with the class letter G (G1. 22.6608 20. Also allows integer division to common UART baud rates.e. allows integer division to common baud rates common CPU clock common CPU clock. Crystal oscillator types and their abbreviations: • • • • • • • ATCXO — analog temperature controlled crystal oscillator CDXO — calibrated dual crystal oscillator DTCXO — digital temperature compensated crystal oscillator MCXO — microcomputer-compensated crystal oscillator OCVCXO — oven-controlled voltage-controlled crystal oscillator OCXO — oven-controlled crystal oscillator RbXO — rubidium crystal oscillators (RbXO). a crystal oscillator (can be a MCXO) synchronized with a built-in rubidium standard which is run only occasionally to save power 13 . MiniDisc. OFDM Fast Ethernet (2×25 MHz) Circuit notations and abbreviations On electrical schematic diagrams.8432 MHz).000 29. G2. WiFi. sound cards. allows integer division to common baud rates Digital audio systems .

increase the 68 ohm resistor to a point just below where oscillation stops. 14 . The circuit will work well with a power supply voltage other than 9 volts but the 68 ohm resistor may need adjustment. For minimum distortion. The output amplitude will be about 5 volts p-p but one of the 1N914's 10k divider resistors may be changed for a different output amplitude. an adaptation of the TCXO VCTCXO — voltage-controlled temperature-compensated crystal oscillator VCXO — voltage-controlled crystal oscillator Audio Oscillators Here is a phase-shift audio oscillator with excellent distortion characteristics thanks to "softened" diode limiting provided by the 1N914 and resistor divider and degenerated gain provided by the 68 ohm emitter resistor.• • • • • TCVCXO — temperature-compensated voltage-controlled crystal oscillator TCXO — temperature-compensated crystal oscillator TSXO — temperature-sensing crystal oscillator. A simple buffer may be added for driving lower impedance loads.

You will see the signal bounce a little as the bulb gains control. Excellent distortion is achieved by adjusting the 1 k feedback potentiometer until the output amplitude is about a volt less than the maximum level (with the pot set to the highest resistance). Wait a few seconds between adjustments to give the bulb time to stabilize. Use quicksetting epoxy and. holding the circuit by the legs. This simple version of the popular Wien bridge oscillator uses feedback to hold 15 . not unlike many dipped caps. A 10 k amplitude potentiometer with the wiper going to a high input impedance output amplifier would make an excellent load. The output is about 6 volts p-p and can drive fixed loads as low as 2 or 3 thousand ohms without additional buffering.The circuit can be built in the "blobular cluster" style and potted with epoxy mixed with a little model airplane paint. Here is a two-transistor Wien bridge oscillator using an ordinary night-light bulb for stabilization. the audio signal actually heats the bulb's filament causing the resistance to go up which controls the loop gain. keep rotating the blob near the end of the cure cycle to get an even coat .quite an art form! The finished module looks quite professional.

The circuit should draw between 18 and 45 mA. But sometimes a couple of friendly transistors fit the bill perfectly. It should be noted that op-amps make great Wien bridge oscillators without significant impedance and bias concerns! There are dozens on the web and in manufacturers' application notes. The 100 uF output capacitor may be smaller if very low frequencies are not generated. A larger value may be needed in some cases. The 1. a value determined by the transistor gain and the value of R. and destructive superposition for all other frequencies. A high gain transistor like the MPSA-18 for the first transistor will allow a much larger value for R. The output is ground referenced with no DC offset. Phase-shift oscillator A phase-shift oscillator is a simple sine wave electronic oscillator. The frequency will be reasonably close to 1/ (6. The series RC may be switched if it is desired to have the resistors connected together.2 k emitter resistor may be varied slightly to adjust the current consumption. The 7-watt bulb may be replaced by a smaller type with similar resistance (more than 50 ohms) but the long time constant of the larger filament is helpful when generating very low frequencies. up to 1 Megohm. A load change may require readjustment of the feedback potentiometer. This results in constructive superposition for signals at the oscillation frequencies. The filter must be designed so that at frequencies above and below the oscillation frequency the signal is shifted by either more or less than 180 degrees. With the resistor values shown. The 22 pF is added for stability and may be eliminated depending on the transistor types and circuit layout. and a feedback filter which 'shifts' the phase by 180 degrees at the oscillation frequency. R may be varied also for additional range but values too low or high may cause problems.the junction of the two RC networks (base of first transistor) near zero volts (100 mV p-p) and the ends of the RC networks move in opposite directions like a see-saw.28 x RC). shoot for 25 to 30 mA. the frequency may be varied from a few Hz to over 60 kHz by selecting a value for C between 1 uF and 47 pF. It contains an inverting amplifier. 16 . Current outside of this range may cause distortion.

the calculations become more complex: 17 .The most common way of achieving this kind of filter is using three cascaded resistor-capacitor filters. and a phase shift of 270 degrees at the other end. then: and the oscillation criterion is: Without the simplification of all the resistors and capacitors having the same value. implementation A simple example of a phase-shift oscillator One of the simplest implementations for this type of oscillator uses an operational amplifier (opamp). amp. Op. as shown in the diagram. which produce no phase shift at one end of the frequency scale. At the oscillation frequency each filter produces a phase shift of 60 degrees and the whole filter circuit produces a phase shift of 180 degrees. due to each R-C stage loading the previous ones. three capacitors and four resistors. and C1 = C2 = C3 = C. In the diagram. if R1 = R2 = R3 = R. The calculations are greatly simplified by setting all the resistors (except the negative feedback resistor) and all the capacitors to the same values. The mathematics for calculating the oscillation frequency and oscillation criterion for this circuit are surprisingly complex.

two RC circuits are used. (That is. The archetypical HP 200 audio oscillator is a Wien Bridge oscillator. The Wien Bridge is often used in audio signal generators because it can be easily tuned using a two-section variable capacitor or a two section variable potentiometer (which is more easily obtained than a variable capacitor suitable for generation at low frequencies). The second common design is called a "Twin-T" oscillator as it uses two "T" RC circuits operated in parallel. Together. Operated well below the point at which the filament actually illuminates. One is called a Wien bridge oscillator (pronounced 'vEn and therefore often misspelled as "Wein Bridge"). so they may cancel one another for frequency if x=2. The increased resistance of the filament reduces the feedback signal. In this circuit. The signal in the C-R-C branch of Twi-T filter is advanced. 18 . Many common designs simply use an incandescent lamp or a thermistor in the feedback circuit. clipping is prevented. RC oscillators usually require some form of amplitude control. if it is connected as a negative feedback to an amplifier. If they are to produce an undistorted sine wave. one with the RC components in series and one with the RC components in parallel. increased amplitude of the feedback signal causes increased current flow in the filament thereby increasing the resistance of the filament. and x>2. limiting the oscillator's signal to the linear range. The second circuit is a C-R-C "T" which operates as a high-pass filter.delayed.) The HP 200 oscillator introduced this technique. One circuit is an R-C-R "T" which acts as a low-pass filter. a thermistor works in a similar fashion. these circuits form a bridge which is tuned at the desired frequency of oscillation. in the R-C-R . These oscillators take advantage of the fact that the resistance of the tungsten filament of the lamp increases in proportion to its temperature. the amplified becomes an oscillator.Sine wave oscillators Two configurations are common. Another common design is the phase-shift oscillator.

Virtually all digital IC clock oscillators are of Pierce type. Most non-sine wave RC oscillators require only a single RC network. 19 . The timing of a circuit using a physical delay line is usually much more accurate. Square waves are the most common. The 555 timer IC is another very common approach. The delay line oscillator may be allowed to free run or it may be gated for use in asynchronous logic. Pierce oscillator The Pierce oscillator is a type of electronic oscillator circuit particularly well-suited for implementing crystal oscillator circuits. [1][2] the Pierce oscillator is a derivative of the Colpitts oscillator. combined with the outstanding frequency stability of the quartz crystal. Retrieved from "http://en. George W. The low manufacturing cost of this circuit. then this negative feedback of the amplitude measurement will ensure that the oscillator has a constant output amplitude no matter what frequency it is set to generate.More-sophisticated oscillators measure the output level and use this as feedback to control the gain of the voltage-controlled amplifier within the oscillator. By inverting the output of the delay line and feeding that signal back to the input of the delay line. as the circuit can be implemented using a minimum of components: a single digital inverter. the simplest style of the circuit will oscillate with a period of two times the delay period of the delay line. a laser can be regarded as a special case of the delay-line oscillator. A ring oscillator uses a delay line formed from the gate delay of a cascade of logic gates. which acts as a highly selective filter element. two resistors. If the amplitude detector has a flat frequency response. Since the optical cavity is a delay line. Properly designed. two capacitors. it is also easier to get such a circuit to oscillate in the desired mode.wikipedia. Pierce (1872-1956). By the use of additional taps from the delay line additional outputs can be derived that are correlated in frequency with the main output but vary in phase. Multivibrators are one" Delay line oscillator A delay line oscillator is a form of electronic oscillator that uses a delay line as its principal timing element. The delay line may be realized with a physical delay line (such as an LC network or a transmission line). and the quartz crystal. give it an advantage over other designs in many consumer electronics applications. Named for its inventor. the circuit is caused to oscillate. Non-sine wave oscillators Many designs exist for RC oscillators that are not required to produce a sine wave.

with infinite input impedance and zero output impedance. inverting gain) from the pi network and the negative gain from the inverter results in a positive loop gain (positive feedback). thus it can be considered a large inductor with a high Q.e. biasing the inverter in its linear region of operation and effectively causing it to function as a high gain inverting amplifier. The combination of the 180 degree phase shift (i. but in the transition region where it has gain.[3] Load capacitance The total capacitance seen from the crystal looking into the rest of the circuit is called the "load capacitance". making the bias point set by R1 unstable and leading to oscillation. Isolation resistor A second resistor could be used between the output of the inverter and the crystal to isolate the inverter from the crystal network. When a manufacturer makes a "parallel" crystal. To see this. this resistor forces the input and output voltages to be equal. Hence the inverter will neither be fully on nor off. which provides a 180 degree phase shift and a voltage gain from the output to input at approximately the resonant frequency of the crystal. Resonator The crystal in combination with C1 and C2 forms a pi network band-pass filter. it can be noted that at the frequency of oscillation. the crystal appears inductive.Operation Simple Pierce oscillator Biasing resistor R1 acts as a feedback resistor. 20 . assume the inverter is ideal. a technician uses a Pierce oscillator with a particular load capacitance (often 18 or 20 pF) while trimming the crystal to oscillate at exactly the frequency written on its package. This would also add additional phase shift to C1. To understand the operation of this.

unijunction transistor. and Cs. but never enough to reduce it all the way down to the series resonant frequency. and crystal case (typically 3-9 pF):[4][5][6] [7] When a manufacturer makes a "series" crystal. In parallel with the capacitor is the threshold device. causing the voltage across the capacitor to approach the charging voltage on an exponential curve. The capacitor is charged through the resistor. It is usually implemented with a resistor or current source. Trigger devices with a third control connection. They then conduct heavily. But that frequency is few kilohertz higher than the series resonant frequency printed on the package of a "series" crystal. if the triggering voltage of the threshold device is much lower than the charging voltage source). Load capacitance CL can be calculated from the series combination of C1 and C2. then the charging resistor should be replaced by some sort of constant current source. a capacitor. 21 . a technician uses a different tuning procedure. and a "threshold" device such as a neon lamp. such as a cathode ray tube. the circuit also provides a flash of light with each discharge of the capacitor. the ramp will approximate a linear ramp but if a truly linear sawtooth is required.To get the same frequency performance. taking into account Ci and Co. If only a small portion of the exponential ramp is used (that is. the Pierce oscillator (as always) drives the crystal at nearly its parallel resonance frequency. such as the thyratron or unijunction transistor allow the timing of the discharge of the capacitor to be synchronized with a control pulse. a single "threshold" device will be replaced by a set of comparators and a SR Latch. The electrical output of a relaxation oscillator is usually a sawtooth wave. or Gunn diode. repeating the cycle. one must then make sure that the capacitances in the circuit match this value specified in the crystal's data sheet. the stray capacitances from the oscillator. Such devices don't conduct at all until the voltage across them reaches some threshold (trigger) voltage. quickly discharging the capacitor. PCB layout. the input and output capacitance of the inverter. the device stops conducting and the capacitor can begin charging again. If the threshold element is a neon lamp. diac. Relaxation oscillator A relaxation oscillator is an oscillator in which a capacitor is charged gradually and then discharged rapidly. thyratron. When a (neon) cathode glow lamp or thyratron are used as the trigger devices a second resistor with a value of a few tens to hundreds ohms is often placed in series with the gas trigger device to limit the current from the discharging capacitor and prevent the electrodes of the lamp rapidly sputtering away or the cathode coating of the thyratron being damaged by the repeated pulses of heavy current. Increasing the "load capacitance" slightly decreases the frequency generated by a Pierce oscillator. Thus the sawtooth output can be synchronized to signals produced by other circuit elements as it is often used as a scan waveform for a display. When the voltage across the capacitor drops to some lower threshold voltage. For simplification below. When such a crystal is used in a Pierce oscillator.

and continues to increase as the output increases.• Op Amp–Based Relaxation Oscillator A comparator-based hysteretic oscillator. the non-inverting input to the op amp is also positive. One example of a relaxation oscillator is a hysteretic oscillator. the addition of the RC circuit turns the hysteretic bistable multivibrator into an astable multivibrator. This is because the non-inverting input is less than the inverting input. and a similar argument to what follows applies). the slow negative feedback added to the trigger by the RC circuit causes the circuit to oscillate automatically. the trigger is a bistable multivibrator. because the output of the op amp is now positive. the output of the op amp is the positive voltage rail. hence the system oscillates. and as the output continues to decrease. The moment any sort of noise. named this way because of the hysteresis created by the positive feedback loop implemented with the comparator (or an op amp). the output of the op amp falls quickly due to positive feedback. Alone. the difference between the inputs gets more and more negative. At the point where voltage at the inverting input is greater than the noninverting input. VDD. 22 . Again. That is. However. General Concept The system is in unstable equilibrium if both the inputs and outputs of the op amp are at zero volts. the inverting input approaches the op amp's output voltage asymptotically. the inverting input of the op amp asymptotically approaches the op amp output voltage with a time constant RC. due to the voltage divider. Because of this. be it thermal or electromagnetic noise brings the output of the op amp above zero (the case of the op amp output going below zero is also possible. A circuit that implements this form of hysteretic switching is known as a Schmitt trigger. and the cycle repeats itself once the non-inverting input is greater than the inverting input. After a short time. the positive feedback in the op amp results in the output of the op amp saturating at the positive rail. In other words. Series RC Circuit The inverting input and the output of the op amp are linked by a series RC circuit.

Solving for the driven solution. is set by across a resistive voltage divider: is obtained using Ohm's law and the capacitor differential equation: Rearranging the differential equation into standard form results in the following: Notice there are two solutions to the differential equation. the driven or particular solution and the homogeneous solution. In other words. = Vdd and . where A is a constant and . Vout Substituting into our previous equation. observe that for this particular form. Using the Laplace transform to solve the homogeneous equation results in is the sum of the particular and homogeneous solution. 23 . the solution is a constant. Solving for B requires evaluation of the initial conditions.Example: Differential Equation Analysis of Op-Amp based Relaxation Oscillator Transient analysis of an opamp based relaxation oscillator. At time 0.

For subsequent transitions in which the capacitor is charging the initial condition would be that V0 = Vss/2 and not V0 = 0. This is true when the system is at rest and sufficient for the initial charge. This occurs when . This effectively changes the value of B in the derivation above: At time 0. This can be visually verified by examining the figure of simulation results that accompanies this article. (B does not equal -Vdd). This analysis is only partially correct. Vss/2 = Vdd + B.Vdd. The initial conditions were that V0 = 0. B = Vss/2 . Notice the initial charge time is shorter than all subsequent periods. But after the first and every subsequent transition (when Vt = Vdd/2 or when Vt = Vss/2) this initial condition is no longer true. So the charging equation becomes (for all charging periods except the initial charge): 24 . which is not the same as subsequent charges/discharges and therefore incorrect. implying that the derived frequency (based on this initial time period) would be higher than its true frequency of operation. The derived frequency of oscillation is based on the time period of the initial charge.Frequency of Oscillation Note that half of the period (T) is the same as the first time that Vout switches. Vout = Vdd and V_ = Vss/2.

generating one cycle of the sawtooth. Variants of this circuit find use in stroboscopes used in machine shops and nightclubs. Use as a timebase in oscilloscopes was discontinued when the much more linear Miller Integrator timebase circuit using "hard" valves. (vacuum tubes) as a constant current source. *********************** 25 . the rising edge as the flash capacitor is charged and the rapid falling edge as the capacitor is discharged and the flash is produced upon receiving the firing signal from the shutter button. was developed. Electronic camera flashes are a monostable version of this circuit.T = (2RC)[ln(Vss − 2Vdd) − ln(Vdd)] Practical examples of the use of the relaxation oscillator This type of circuit was used as the time base in early oscilloscopes and television receivers.