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In the previous RC Oscillatortutorial we saw that a number of resistors and capacitors can be connected together with an inverting ampli er to produce an

oscillating circuit.

One of the simplest sine wave oscillators which uses a RC network in place of the conventional LC tuned tank circuit to produce a

sinusoidal output waveform, is called a Wien Bridge Oscillator.

The Wien Bridge Oscillator is so called because the circuit is based on a frequency-selective form of the Wheatstone bridge circuit. The

Wien Bridge oscillator is a two-stage RC coupled ampli er circuit that has good stability at its resonant frequency, low distortion and is

very easy to tune making it a popular circuit as an audio frequency oscillator but the phase shift of the output signal is considerably

di erent from the previous phase shift RC Oscillator.

The Wien Bridge Oscillator uses a feedback circuit consisting of a series RC circuit connected with a parallel RC of the same component

values producing a phase delay or phase advance circuit depending upon the frequency. At the resonant frequency r the phase shift is

0o. Consider the circuit below.

The above RC network consists of a series RC circuit connected to a parallel RC forming basically a High Pass Filter connected to a Low

Pass Filter producing a very selective second-order frequency dependant Band Pass Filter with a high Q factor at the selected frequency,

r.

At low frequencies the reactance of the series capacitor (C1) is very high so acts a bit like an open circuit, blocking any input signal at Vin

resulting in virtually no output signal, Vout. Likewise, at high frequencies, the reactance of the parallel capacitor, (C2) becomes very low,

so this parallel connected capacitor acts a bit like a short circuit across the output, so again there is no output signal.

So there must be a frequency point between these two extremes of C1 being open-circuited and C2 being short-circuited where the

output voltage, VOUT reaches its maximum value. The frequency value of the input waveform at which this happens is called the

oscillators Resonant Frequency, (r).

At this resonant frequency, the circuits reactance equals its resistance, that is: Xc = R, and the phase di erence between the input and

output equals zero degrees. The magnitude of the output voltage is therefore at its maximum and is equal to one third (1/3) of the input

voltage as shown.

It can be seen that at very low frequencies the phase angle between the input and output signals is Positive (Phase Advanced), while at

very high frequencies the phase angle becomes Negative (Phase Delay). In the middle of these two points the circuit is at its resonant

frequency, (r) with the two signals being in-phase or 0o. We can therefore de ne this resonant frequency point with the following

expression.

Where:

ris the Resonant Frequency in Hertz

Ris the Resistance in Ohms

Cis the Capacitance in Farads

We said previously that the magnitude of the output voltage, Vout from the RC network is at its maximum value and equal to one third

(1/3) of the input voltage, Vin to allow for oscillations to occur. But why one third and not some other value. In order to understand why

the output from the RC circuit above needs to be one-third, that is 0.333xVin, we have to consider the complex impedance (Z=RjX) of

the two connected RC circuits.

We know from our AC Theory tutorials that the real part of the complex impedance is the resistance, R while the imaginary part is the

reactance, X. As we are dealing with capacitors here, the reactance part will be capacitive reactance, Xc.

The RC Network

If we redraw the above RC network as shown, we can clearly see that it consists of two RC circuits connected together with the output

taken from their junction. Resistor R1 and capacitor C1 form the top series network, while resistor R2 and capacitor C2 form the bottom

parallel network.

Therefore the total DC impedance of the series combination (R1C1) we can call, ZS and the total impedance of the parallel combination

(R2C2) we can call, ZP. As ZS and ZP are e ectively connected together in series across the input, VIN, they form a voltage divider network

with the output taken from across ZP as shown.

Lets assume then that the component values of R1 and R2 are the same at: 12k, capacitors C1 and C2 are the

same at: 3.9nF and the supply frequency, is 3.4kHz.

Series Circuit

The total impedance of the series combination with resistor, R1 and capacitor, C1 is simply:

We now know that with a supply frequency of 3.4kHz, the reactance of the capacitor is the same as the resistance of the resistor at 12k.

This then gives us an upper series impedance ZS of 17k.

For the lower parallel impedance ZP, as the two components are in parallel, we have to treat this di erently because the impedance of the

parallel circuit is in uenced by this parallel combination.

Parallel Circuit

The total impedance of the lower parallel combination with resistor, R2 and capacitor, C2 is given as:

At the supply frequency of 3400Hz, or 3.4kHz, the combined DC impedance of the RC parallel circuit becomes 6k (R||Xc) with the vector

sum of this parallel impedance being calculated as:

So we now have the value for the vector sum of the series impedance: 17ks, (ZS=17k) and for the parallel impedance: 8.5ks,

(ZP=8.5k). Therefore the total output impedance, Zout of the voltage divider network at the given frequency is:

Then at the oscillation frequency, the magnitude of the output voltage, Vout will be equal to ZoutxVin which as shown is equal to one

third (1/3) of the input voltage, Vin and it is this frequency selective RC network which forms the basis of the Wien Bridge Oscillator

circuit.

If we now place this RC network across a non-inverting ampli er which has a gain of 1+R1/R2 the following basic wien bridge oscillator

circuit is produced.

The output of the operational ampli er is fed back to both the inputs of the ampli er. One part of the feedback signal is connected to the

inverting input terminal (negative or degenerative feedback) via the resistor divider network of R1 and R2 which allows the ampli ers

voltage gain to be adjusted within narrow limits.

The other part, which forms the series and parallel combinations of R and C forms the feedback network and are fed back to the non-

inverting input terminal (positive or regenerative feedback) via the RC Wien Bridge network and it is this positive feedback combination

that gives rise to the oscillation.

The RC network is connected in the positive feedback path of the ampli er and has zero phase shift a just one frequency. Then at the

selected resonant frequency, (r)the voltages applied to the inverting and non-inverting inputs will be equal and in-phase so the

positive feedback will cancel out the negative feedback signal causing the circuit to oscillate.

The voltage gain of the ampli er circuit MUST be equal too or greater than three Gain = 3 for oscillations to start because as we have

seen above, the input is 1/3 of the output. This value, ( Av3 ) is set by the feedback resistor network, R1 and R2 and for a non-inverting

ampli er this is given as the ratio 1+(R1/R2).

Also, due to the open-loop gain limitations of operational ampli ers, frequencies above 1MHz are unachievable without the use of

special high frequency op-amps.

Determine the maximum and minimum frequency of oscillations of a Wien Bridge Oscillator circuit having a resistor of 10k and a

variable capacitor of 1nF to 1000nF.

Wien Bridge Oscillator Example No2

A Wien Bridge Oscillator circuit is required to generate a sinusoidal waveform of 5,200 Hertz (5.2kHz). Calculate the values of the

frequency determining resistors R1 and R2 and the two capacitors C1 and C2 to produce the required frequency.

Also, if the oscillator circuit is based around a non-inverting operational ampli er con guration, determine the minimum values for the

gain resistors to produce the required oscillations. Finally draw the resulting oscillator circuit.

The frequency of oscillations for the Wien Bridge Oscillator was given as 5200 Hertz. If resistors R1=R2 and capacitors C1=C2 and we

assume a value for the feedback capacitors of 3.0nF, then the corresponding value of the feedback resistors is calculated as:

For sinusoidal oscillations to begin, the voltage gain of the Wien Bridge circuit must be equal too or greater than 3, ( Av3 ). For a non-

inverting op-amp con guration, this value is set by the feedback resistor network of R3 and R4 and is given as:

If we choose a value for resistor R3 of say, 100ks, then the value of resistor R4 is calculated as:

While a gain of 3 is the minimum value required to ensure oscillations, in reality a value a little higher than that is generally required. If

we assume a gain value of 3.1 then resistor R4 is recalculated to give a value of 47ks. This gives the nal Wien Bridge Oscillator circuit

as:

Wien Bridge Oscillator Summary

Then for oscillations to occur in a Wien Bridge Oscillator circuit the following conditions must apply.

With no input signal a Wien Bridge Oscillator produces continuous output oscillations.

The Wien Bridge Oscillator can produce a large range of frequencies.

The Voltage gain of the ampli er must be greater than 3.

The RC network can be used with a non-inverting ampli er.

The input resistance of the ampli er must be high compared to R so that the RC network is not overloaded and alter the required

conditions.

The output resistance of the ampli er must be low so that the e ect of external loading is minimised.

Some method of stabilizing the amplitude of the oscillations must be provided. If the voltage gain of the ampli er is too small

the desired oscillation will decay and stop. If it is too large the output will saturate to the value of the supply rails and distort.

With amplitude stabilisation in the form of feedback diodes, oscillations from the Wien Bridge oscillator can continue

inde nitely.

In our nal look at Oscillators, we will examine the Crystal Oscillator which uses a quartz crystal as its tank circuit to produce a high

frequency and very stable sinusoidal waveform.

26 Comments

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P Professor B N Biswas

Very educative and well written. God bless you all

Reply

R Rid

Hi.

I need to build a simple sinewave oscillator to give an output in the region of 100kHz. Single rail power supply of +5 volts. I would like to use a Wein bridge

and an op-amp such as LM358 but I dont think that would go up to the required frequency.

Rod

Reply

Wayne Storr

The LM358 will operated at 100kHz but at reduced voltage gain due to the open-loop characteristics of the op-amp. Please consult the datasheet

for more information.

Reply

r rohith adepu

its good notes helped me lot

thank uuu

Reply

W Walid orabi

Very good, thanks for your help and support

Reply

m martymarty

Wein Bridge oscillator: a ne explanation. But nothing on the low distortion

capability that is not paralleled in ANY other circuit !

The use of diodes (or light bulbs) t0 limit the amplitude of oscillation using

the rms response of light bulb to produce very low distortion 0.01% is so important but NOT discussed or even referenced ! (see hp app note on the hp202A

oscillator which uses the wein bridge and a lamp bulb circa 1950 ! )

Posted on April 15th 2017 | 7:24 am

Reply

Very good explaination

Please make detailed explanation of diagrams

Reply

S Shabbir Ali SA

Thnx for explanation of wien-bridge oscillator & its frequency with suitable examples

Reply

P Paul

Your articles are excellent but being a great big pedant like me . in Wien Bridge Oscillator Example No1 as an example you could (and if critical

should) also take the tolerances of the components into account i.e. using 10K resistors with a 5% tolerance would amend the min/max output

frequencies (etc.) since R would fall within a range of 9.5K to 10.5K but im just an annoying pedant

Reply

I Indradev Mahto

its too good

Reply

m meesha hewawitharana

Best of best I have no words to tell keep going

Reply

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