A Simple Metal Detector Circuit Using Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO)

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

One of the simplest method of metal detecting is by beat frequency oscillator. Basically, the circuit consist of two balanced oscillator. One oscillator provides the reference signal, and other oscillator is acting as the detector element. The reference oscillator`s frequency is fix, while the detector oscillator is variable depending on the prese

 A Simple Metal Detector Circuit Using Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO)
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nce of a metal. The reference oscillator can be constructed using various circuit topology: inductor-capacitor (LC), resistor-capacitor (RC), or even a crystal (quartz) oscillator. While the reference oscillator can be implemented using various circuit topology, the detector oscillator always use inductor-capacitor topology, because the mechanism will be using the magnetic induction property of the detected object, and the inductor component of the detector oscillator will be the detecting probe. With the absence of a metal near the detector probe (the inductor component of the detector oscillator), the detector oscillator is tuned to have same frequency as the reference oscillator. The output of the detector oscillator and the reference oscillator output is mixed using hetero-dyne mixer circuit, producing a beat frequency output of zero Hz, or a very low frequency if both oscillator is slightly unbalanced. In the presence of a metal near the detector probe, the detector oscillator will shift it`s frequency, and the mixer output will produce a tone with frequency equal to the difference of the reference and the detector frequency. The figure below shows one of the simple metal detector circuit. You can see the reference circuit is a simple RC circuit, and its frequency is determined by R1-P2-C1. The detector oscillator is an LC oscillator with the frequency is determined by the L1-C2-C3 values. The NAND gates use CMOS 4011...

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