Colpitts oscillator

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The Colpitts circuit, like other LC oscillators, consists of a gain device (such as a bipolar junction transistor, field effect transistor, operational amplifier, or vacuum tube ) with its output connected to its input in a feedback loop containing a parallel LC circuit ( tuned circuit ) which functions as a bandpass filter to set the frequency o

Colpitts oscillator
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f oscillation. A Colpitts oscillator is the electrical dual of a Hartley oscillator, where the feedback signal is taken from an "inductive" voltage divider consisting of two coils in series (or a tapped coil). Fig. 1 shows the common-base Colpitts circuit. L and the series combination of C1 and C2 form the parallel resonant tank circuit which determines the frequency of the oscillator. The voltage across C2 is applied to the base-emitter junction of the transistor, as feedback to create oscillations. Fig. 2 shows the common-collector version. Here the voltage across C1 provides feedback. The frequency of oscillation is approximately the resonant frequency of the LC circuit, which is the series combination of the two capacitors in parallel with the inductor As with any oscillator, the amplification of the active component should be marginally larger than the attenuation of the capacitive voltage divider, to obtain stable operation. Thus, a Colpitts oscillator used as a variable frequency oscillator (VFO) performs best when a variable inductance is used for tuning, as opposed to tuning one of the two capacitors. If tuning by variable capacitor is needed, it should be done via a third capacitor connected in parallel to the inductor (or in series as in the Clapp oscillator ). Fig. 3 shows a working example with component values. Instead of bipolar junction transistors, other active components such as field effect transistors or...

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