SOLID-STATE LC OSCILLATORS
As you have just studied, a basic oscillator can be broken down into three main sections: a frequency-determining device, an amplifier, and a feedback circuit. The frequency-determining device in an LC oscillator is usually an LC tank circuit. Although the tank circuit is normally found in the input circuit of an oscillator (both electron tube and transistor), it sometimes appears in the output circuit. The differences in magnitude of plate and collector currents and shunting impedances are considerations in the designed locations of such tank circuits. In both solid-state and electron tube circuits, oscillations take place in the tuned circuit. Both the electron tube and the transistor function primarily as electrical valves that amplify and automatically deliver to the input circuit the proper amount of energy to sustain oscillations. In both tube and transistor oscillators, the feedback circuit couples energy of the proper amount and of the correct phase from the output to the input circuit to sustain oscillations.
Let's review what you have studied up to this point concerning feedback. Feedback is the process of transferring energy from a high-level point in a system to a low-level point in a system. This means transferring energy from the output of an amplifier back to its input. If the output feedback signal opposes the input signal, the signal is DEGENERATIVE or NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. However, if the feedback aids the input signal, the feedback is REGENERATIVE or POSITIVE FEEDBACK. Regenerative or positive feedback is one of the requirements to sustain oscillations in an oscillator. This feedback can be applied in any of several ways to produce a practical oscillator circuit.
TYPES OF FEEDBACK
Chapter 1 described the resonant or tank circuit and how a sinusoidal signal is generated by the action of an inductor and a capacitor. The feedback signal is coupled from this circuit by either of two means. The first method is to take some of the energy from the inductor. This can be done by any one of the three ways shown in figure 2-7, views (A), (B), and (C). When an oscillator uses a TICKLER COIL, as shown in view (A), it is referred to as an ARMSTRONG OSCILLATOR. When an oscillator uses a tapped coil (view (B)) or a split coil (view (C)), it is referred to as a HARTLEY OSCILLATOR. The second method of coupling the feedback signal is to use two capacitors in the tank circuit and tap the feedback signal between them. This is shown in view (D). An oscillator using this method is referred to as a COLPITTS OSCILLATOR. Each of these particular oscillators is named after the person who originally designed them.
CONFIGURATION OF OSCILLATORS
Any of the three basic amplifier configurations (common collector, common base, or common emitter) described in NEETS, Module 7, Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies, Chapter 2, may be used for the oscillator circuit. However, certain considerations in the application of the circuit, such as the operating frequency and output power required, usually determine which of the three configurations is to be used. The three basic configurations are shown in figure 2-8, views (A), (B), and (C).
Since there is no phase reversal between the input and output circuits of a common-collector configuration, the feedback network does not need to provide a phase shift. However, since the voltage gain is less than unity and the power gain is low, the common-collector configuration is very seldom used in oscillator circuits.
The power gain and voltage gain of the common-base configuration are high enough to give satisfactory operation in an oscillator circuit. The wide range between the input resistance and the output resistance make impedance matching slightly harder to achieve in the common-base circuit than in the common-emitter circuit. An advantage of the common-base configuration is that it exhibits better high- frequency response than does the common-emitter configuration.
The common-emitter configuration has high power gain and is used in low-frequency applications. For the energy which is fed back from the output to be in phase with the energy at the input, the feedback network of a common-emitter oscillator must provide a phase shift of approximately 180 degrees. An
advantage of the common-emitter configuration is that the medium resistance range of the input and output simplifies the job of impedance matching.
Q-6. What type of feedback aids an input signal?
Q-7. What are the two methods used for feedback coupling? Q-8. Which oscillator uses a tickler coil for feedback?
Q-9. Which oscillator uses a tapped inductor for feedback? Q-10. Which oscillator uses tapped capacitors for feedback?
Q-11. What are the three basic configurations of transistor oscillators?
Oscillators may be classified by name, such as Armstrong, Hartley, Colpitts, or by the manner in which dc power is applied. An oscillator in which dc power is supplied to the transistor through the tank circuit, or a portion of the tank circuit, is said to be SERIES FED. An oscillator which receives its dc power for the transistor through a path separate and parallel to the tank circuit is said to be PARALLEL FED OR SHUNT FED. All the oscillators in this chapter can be constructed either way, series or shunt fed. The construction depends on the characteristics of the oscillator circuit the designer is interested in.
A SERIES-FED, TUNED-COLLECTOR ARMSTRONG OSCILLATOR is illustrated in figure 2-9,
view (A). The dc path is from the negative side (ground) of VCC through RE, Q1, T1, and back to the positive side of VCC. The figure clearly illustrates that both the ac and dc components flow through the tank circuit.
Figure 2-9A.—Series- and shunt-fed, tuned-collector Armstrong oscillators. SERIES-FED.
By modifying the circuit slightly, it becomes a SHUNT-FED, TUNED-COLLECTOR ARMSTRONG OSCILLATOR as shown in view (B). The dc component flows from ground through RE to Q1 to positive VCC. The dc is blocked from the tank circuit by capacitor C2. Only the ac component flows in the tank circuit.
Figure 2-9B.—Series- and shunt-fed, tuned-collector Armstrong oscillators. SHUNT-FED.
The function of an oscillator is to produce a sinusoidal waveshape of a specific frequency and amplitude. In doing so, the stability of an oscillator is very important. Depending on its application, an oscillator may be required to have either good frequency stability or amplitude stability; in many circumstances, both are required. Of the two, good frequency stability is usually considered more important.