Crystal oscillators are oscillators where the primary frequency determining element is a quartz crystal. Because of the inherent characteristics of the quartz crystal the crystal oscillator may be held to extreme accuracy of frequency stability. Temperature compensation may be applied to crystal oscillators to improve thermal stability of the crystal oscillator.

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CRYSTAL OSCILLATORS


 

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What are crystal oscillators?

Crystal oscillators are oscillators where the primary frequency determining element is a quartz crystal. Because of the inherent characteristics of the quartz crystal the crystal oscillator may be held to extreme accuracy of frequency stability. Temperature compensation may be applied to crystal oscillators to improve thermal stability of the crystal oscillator.

Crystal oscillators are usually, fixed frequency oscillators where stability and accuracy are the primary considerations. For example it is almost impossible to design a stable and accurate LC oscillator for the upper HF and higher frequencies without resorting to some sort of crystal control. Hence the reason for crystal oscillators.

The frequency of older FT-243 crystals can be moved upward by crystal grinding.

I won't be discussing frequency sythesisers and direct digital synthesis (DDS) here. They are particularly interesting topics to be covered later.

A practical example of a Crystal Oscillator

This is a typical example of the type of crystal oscillators which may be used for say converters. Some points of interest on crystal oscillators in relation to figure 1.

This image is copyright © by Ian C. Purdie VK2TIP - schematic of a crystal oscillator

Figure 1 - schematic of a crystal oscillator

The transistor could be a general purpose type with an Ft of at least 150 Mhz for HF use. A typical example would be a 2N2222A.

The turns ratio on the tuned circuit depicts an anticipated nominal load of 50 ohms. This allows a theoretical 2K5 ohms on the collector. If it is followed by a buffer amplifier (highly recommended) I would simply maintain the typical 7:1 turns ratio. I have included a formula for determining L and C in the tuned circuits of crystal oscillators in case you have forgotten earlier tutorials. Personally I would make L a reactance of around 250 ohms. In this case I'd make C a smaller trimmer in parallel with a standard fixed value.

You can use an overtone crystal for the crystal and set L * C for the odd particular multiple of overtone wanted in your crystal oscillators.

Of particular interest to those people wanting to develop a variable crystal oscillator is the Super VXO. Worth a look.

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RELATED TOPICS on crystal oscillator

broad band amplifiers

buffer amplifiers

colpitts oscillators

crystal grinding

emitter degeneration

hartley oscillator

negative feedback

oscillator basics

voltage controlled oscillators

oscillator drift

Super VXO


 
 
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Updated 30th June, 2002

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