How These Components Contribute To Frequency Stability
Frequency stability is one of the most important factors of any electrical system, so it is important for an oscillator to provide a consistent frequency output under varying conditions. This is where quartz crystal oscillators come in.
Quartz crystal oscillators are designed to continue providing constant frequency in conditions that generally disrupt frequency. These include temperature variations, load variations and power supply changes amongst other factors.
More About Quartz Crystal Oscillators
One of the most popular and widespread timing solutions out there, crystal oscillators are used across many industries and across multiple product types. Common products that utilize crystal oscillators include:
- Medical equipment
- Watches and timepieces
- Cell phones
- And more
Quartz crystal oscillators provide better reliability and accuracy than ceramic resonators, providing a continuous waveform that doesn’t require any input to output a specific frequency.
How Does the Crystal Make it Different?
Quartz crystal oscillators utilize small, thin pieces or wafers of quartz, called the “crystals” of the oscillators. The crystal is metallised on both sides to allow for the electrical connections required for the circuit. The size and thickness of the crystal must be closely monitored and controlled because it has an effect on the frequency of oscillations within the system. This fundamental frequency is often called characteristic frequency as well. Once a crystal is designed, shaped, and cut to a certain size, it cannot be used at any other frequency.
The crystal characteristics are inversely proportional to the physical thickness between the surfaces of the crystal.
Quartz Crystal Oscillator Applications
With so many applications requiring a reliable time-keeping component, it is easy to see quartz crystal oscillators in a large number of products. An example would be Apple and Microsoft computers utilizing quartz crystal oscillators. PICs, microprocessors, and microcontrollers also often include quartz crystal oscillators.
The automobile industry has seen a shift to majority microprocessor systems, so quartz crystal oscillators are crucial to providing the stability needed in these systems. In addition to that, many other automobile functions use these oscillators as well including brake controls, airbags, and tire pressure monitoring systems.
The accuracy of frequency output makes quartz crystal oscillators a good component for transmitters and radios as well. This goes all the way back to the 1920s with AM radios. Most modern car manufacturers include crystal oscillators built into their systems to keep time and provide the precision and accuracy required in these systems.
In watches and other time-keeping devices, the aforementioned precision in frequency that is provided by crystal oscillators makes them a perfect inclusion in these systems. Quartz has been providing this accuracy in clocks since the 1970s.
While the reasoning usually boils down to needing added consistency and precision in a system, the answer involved quartz crystal oscillators often.
Crystal Oscillators, One of Many Types of Oscillator
Depending on the characteristics and features needed for a system, quartz crystal oscillators are one of the many options that engineers can turn to when looking for system components to provide the stable frequency needed for system function. The most commonly used oscillators include:
- Crystal oscillators (most used)
- Hartley oscillators
- Dynatron oscillators
- RC oscillators
As mentioned previously, crystal oscillators are the most used component. The ability to maintain stable oscillations while avoiding any anomalies or irregularities in different conditions make them better suited for more applications than other options engineers are exploring.
Locating Quartz Crystal Oscillators
Now that the uses and benefits of these quartz crystal oscillators have been established, many engineers are probably wanting to get some incorporated into their systems. If your project would benefit from one of these products, you’ll be surprised at the online presence of these manufacturers. In fact, the best way to get your search started is to do a basic Google search for “quartz crystal oscillators near me” and, contrary to popular belief, you will actually have many options at your fingertips to choose from.
The smartest, safest and most efficient way is to find a specialist to work with that can gain an understanding of your systems and needs. As mentioned above, these components are very particular and are often made to fit into specific circuits, so the particular needs of your system should be considered in the process of locating your parts. It is important to understand your system, but also to work with someone who can gain that understanding and point you to the components to make your circuits operate at the highest efficiency and performance.