Crystal oscillators

Crystal oscillators are those in which a specially-cut crystal controls the frequency. CRYSTAL-CONTROLLED OSCILLATORS are the standard means used for maintaining the frequency of radio transmitting stations within their assigned frequency limits. A crystal-controlled oscillator is usually used to produce an output which is highly stable and at a v
Crystal oscillators - schematic

ery precise frequency. As stated earlier, crystals used in electrical circuits are thin sheets cut from the natural crystal and are ground to the proper thickness for the desired resonant frequency. For any given crystal cut, the thinner the crystal, the higher the resonant frequency. The "cut" (X, Y, AT, and so forth) of the crystal means the precise way in which the usable crystal is cut from the natural crystal. Some typical crystal cuts may be seen in figure 2-19. Transmitters which require a very high degree of frequency stability, such as a broadcast transmitter, use temperature-controlled ovens to maintain a constant crystal temperature. These ovens are thermostatically controlled containers in which the crystals are placed. The type of cut also determines the activity of the crystal. Some crystals vibrate at more than one frequency and thus will operate at harmonic frequencies. Crystals which are not of uniform thickness may have two or more resonant frequencies. Usually one resonant frequency is more pronounced than the others. The other less pronounced resonant frequencies are referred to as SPURIOUS frequencies. Sometimes such a crystal oscillates at two frequencies at the same time. The amount of current that can safely pass through a crystal ranges from 50 to 200 milliamperes. When the rated current is exceeded, the amplitude of mechanical vibration becomes too great, and the crystal may crack. Overloading the...

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