You are on page 1of 8




Home > Electronics > Digital Electronics > RC FEEDBACK OSCILLATORS

Free Circuit Design Tool & Low Cost PCB Prototype - EasyEDA
10 pcs 2 layers only $10,register to get $5 Cash Coupon Now
RC oscillators employ resistors and capacitors and are used to generate low or audiofrequency signals. Hence they are also known as audio-frequency (A.F) oscillators. The
tuned or LC oscillators are not suitable at low-frequencies because the size of inductors
and capacitors becomes very large. In these oscillators the single stage of the amplifier
amplifies the input signal and produces a phase shift of 180 . To obtain positive
feedback for sustained oscillation, the output of first stage is fed to a phase shift network
to produce an additional phase shift of 180. Thus a total of 360 phase shift which is
equivalent to zero occurs. This principle is used in phase shift-oscillators. The most
important types of RC feedback oscillators are phase shift and wein bridge oscillators.

Phase Shift Oscillator

Figure shows the circuit of a phase shift oscillator. The feedback network consists of
three RC sections. Each section produces a phase shift of 60. Therefore the net phase
shift of the feedback network is 180, therefore the total phase shift between the input
and output circuit is 360 or 0. The circuit is showing the amplifier and feedback
network. The amplifier stage is self-biased with a capacitor by passed emitter resistor
RE and collector bias resistor Rc.

When power is applied to the circuit, oscillations are started by any random noise
(electrical variations generated internally in components). A change in the flow of base
current results in an amplified change in collector current which is in phase shifted the
180. When the signal is returned to the base, it has been shifted 180 by the action of
RC network, making the circuit regenerative. The oscillation will be maintained if the
loop gain (i.e. Av) is at least equal to unity. However, to start the oscillations, the loop
gain must be greater than unity.
The phase shift occurs at only one frequency. At any other than the desired frequency,
the capacitive reactance increases or decreases and causes an incorrect phase
relationship. The, feedback becomes degenerative.
To find the resonant frequency fr. of an RC phase shift oscillator, use the following

Where n is the number of RC sections, R1 = R2 = R3 = R and C1 = C2 = C3 = C

A high gain transistor must be used with the three sections RC network because the
losses in the network are high. Using more than three RC sections actually reduces the
overall signal loss within the network. This is because additional RC sections reduce the
phase shift necessary for each section, and the toss for each section is lowered as the
phase shift is reduced. In addition, an oscillator that uses four or more RC network this
has more stability than one that uses three RC networks. The phase shift oscillators can
be used to produced very low frequencies and provides good frequency stability. They
have one drawback i.e. when they are used to have a variable frequency circuit; it is
difficult to adjust equally the capacitor values of the phase shift network simultaneously.

Wein Bridge Oscillator

An oscillator circuit, which is more useful for variable frequency operation, is the Weinbridge oscillator. In such a case second stage of the amplifier is used for producing
another 180 phase shift in addition to the phase shift of 180 produced by the first
stage. Thus there is a total phase shift of 360, which is equal to 0o. A fraction of the
output from the second stage is feedback to the input of the first stage without producing
any further phase shift. The RC oscillator utilizing this principle is called as Wein-bridge

Figure shows the circuit of a Wein-bridge oscillator using transistors. The circuit consists
of a two-stage RC coupled amplifier, which provide an approximately 360 or 0o phaseshift. So the feedback network has no need to induce any additional phase-shift. The
feedback network consists of C1 - R1, C1 - R1 (called a lead-lag network) and C1 - R1 (cat
voltage-divider). The lead-lag network provides a positive feedback to the input of the
first stage and the voltage-divider provides the negative feedback to the emitter of Q1
transistor, it can be shown by a simple analysis that the frequency of oscillations for the
wein-bridge oscillator is given by the relation,

And the ratio of resistor R3 to R4

R3/R4 = 2
Thus a ratio of R3 to R4 greater than 2 will provide a sufficient gain for the circuit to
oscillate at the desired frequency.