Different Types of Oscillator Circuits and Its Applications

The oscillators are electronic circuits that make a respective electronic signal generally the sine wave and the square wave. It is very important in other types of electronic equipment such as quartz which is used as a quartz oscillator. The amplitude modulation radio transmitters use the oscillation to generate the carrier waveform. The AM radio receiver uses a special oscillator it is called a resonator to tune a station. The oscillators are present in computers, metal detectors, and also in guns. This article discusses an overview of different types of oscillator circuits & their working.

What is an Oscillator?

The oscillator is a mechanical or electronic device and the working principle of the oscillator is, the periodic change between the two things depends on the changes in the energy. The oscillations are used in radios, watches, metal detectors, and in many other devices.

The oscillator converts the DC (direct current) from the power supply to an  AC (alternating current),  used in many electronic devices. The signal used in the oscillator is a sine wave & the square wave. The best examples of an oscillator are, the signals are broadcasted by the television transmitter and radio, CLKs which are used in the computers and also in the video games.

The oscillator works on the principle of oscillation and it is a mechanical or electronic device. The periodic variation between the two things is based on the changes in energy. The oscillations are used in watches, radios, metal detectors, and many other devices that use the oscillators.


Principle of Oscillators

The oscillator converts the direct current from the power supply to an alternating current and they are used in many electronic devices. The signals used in the oscillators are a sine wave and the square wave. Some of the examples are the signals are broadcasted by the radio and television transmitter, clocks which are used in computers and in video games.

Types of Oscillator Circuits

There are two types of oscillator circuits available they are linear and nonlinear oscillators. The linear oscillators give the sinusoidal input. The linear oscillators consist of a mass m and its force in the linear equilibrium. By applying the hook’s low the spring creates the force that i9s in linear for small displacements.


The different types of oscillator circuits are mentioned below and some of them are explained.

  • Armstrong Oscillator
  • Crystal Oscillator
  • Hartley oscillator
  • RC Phase Shift Oscillator
  • Colpitts Oscillators
  • Cross-Coupled Oscillator
  • Dynatron Oscillator
  • Meissner Oscillator
  • Optoelectronic Oscillator
  • Phase Shift Oscillator
  • Wien Bridge Oscillator
  • Robinson Oscillator
  • Tri-Tet Oscillator

Armstrong Oscillator

The Armstrong oscillator is an LC electronic oscillator and to generate this oscillator we are using the inductor and the capacitor. In 912 the US engineer Edwin Armstrong has invented the Armstrong oscillator and it was the first oscillator circuit and also in 1913, this oscillator was used in the first vacuum tube by Alexander Meissner who was an Austrian engineer.

Armstrong Oscillator
Armstrong Oscillator

The Armstrong oscillator is known as the tickler oscillator because the individual features of the feedback signal should produce the oscillations that are magnetically coupled to the tank indicator. Let us consider the coupling is weak, but the sustained oscillation is sufficient. The following equation shows the oscillation frequency f. The Armstrong oscillator is also called the Meissner oscillator or tickler oscillator.

f = 1 / 2Π√LC

To achieve the 180-degree phase shift oscillation, the Armstrong oscillation uses the transistor, which is shown in the above figure. From the figure, we can observe that the output is from the primary transformer it has a transistor and the feedback is taken from the secondary coil of the transformer. By seeing the polarity dots in the transformer secondary coil is inverted using the primary coil. The operating frequency is obtained by the capacitor C1 and the primary of the transformer.

Hartley Oscillator

The Hartley oscillator is an electronic oscillator. The frequency of this oscillation is determined by the tuned circuit. The tuned circuit consists of the capacitor and inductor, hence it is an LC oscillator. In 1915 by American engineer Ralph Hartley has invented this oscillator.

The features of the Hartley circuit are the tuned circuit consists of a single capacitor in parallel with the two inductors which are in series. From the center connection of the two inductors for oscillation purposes, the feedback signal is taken. Follow the below link to know more about Hartley Oscillator Circuit and Its Working

Hartley Oscillator
Hartley Oscillator

The Hartley oscillator is parallel to the Colpitts apart from that it uses a pair of tapping coils as an alternate of two tapped capacitors. From the above circuit the output voltage is developed across the inductor L1 and the feedback voltages are across the inductor L2. The feedback network is given in the mathematical expression which is given below

          Feedback network = XL2 / XL1 = L 2 / L 1


  • This oscillation will produce a desired range of frequencies
  • The Hartley oscillators are used in the radio frequency in a range of the 30Mhz
  • In a radio receiver, this oscillator is used and it has a wide range of frequency

Colpitts Oscillator

The Colpitts Oscillator was by American engineering by Edwin H. Colpitts in the year 1918. This oscillator is a combination of both inductors and capacitors. The features of the Colpitts Oscillator are the feedback for the active devices and they are taken from the voltage divider and made up of two capacitors which are in series across the inductor. Follow the below link to know more about Collpits Oscillator Working and Its Applications

Colpitts Oscillator
Colpitts Oscillator

The Colpitts circuits consist of gain devices such as the bipolar junction, field-effect transistor, operational amplifier, and vacuum tubes. The output is connected to an input in a feedback loop it has a parallel tuned circuit and it functioned as a band-pass filter is used as a frequency of the oscillator. This oscillator is an electrically dual of the Hartley oscillator hence the feedback signal is taken from the inductive voltage divider it has two coils in the series.

The following circuit diagram shows the common base Colpitts circuit. The inductor L and both the capacitors C1 & C2 are in series with the parallel resonant tank circuit and it gives the frequency of the oscillator. The voltage across the C2 terminal is applied to the base-emitter junction of the transistor to create feedback oscillations.


  • It is used to generate the sinusoidal output signals with a very high frequency
  • A very wide range of frequencies is involved
  • It is used in radio and mobile communications
  • For commercial purposes, many applications are used

Multi-Wave Oscillator

The multi-wave oscillator was invented by the French engineer Georges Lakhovsky in year of 1920 to 1940. He showed that the nucleus of the cell with the filaments stands, it is very similar to the electronic oscillator and it has the capability of receiving & sending vibratory information. The multi-wave oscillators are experimental, research for the historical instrument, and there is no medical claim is made. The multi-wave oscillator unit presents the printed circuit board Golden ratio antenna.


  • The healing action of this oscillation is very bad because of the holistic work
  • The healing process is done by all parts of the body
  • The MWO is used in many countries worldwide by individual
  • This oscillator is applied for the treatment of the cancer

Please refer to the following image to know more about the Infographic of Types of Oscillator circuits

Different Types of Oscillators


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This article describes the different types of oscillator circuits and their application. I hope by reading this article you have known about the different types of oscillators and their application. If you have any queries regarding this article or to implement any electronics projects please, feel to comment in the below section. Here is a question for you, what type of oscillator does not have the LC oscillators?

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