Quantcast Tuned-base Armstrong oscillator

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The circuit in view (D) has all three requirements for an oscillator: (1) amplification, (2) a frequency-determining device, and (3) regenerative feedback. The oscillator in this schematic drawing is a tuned-base oscillator, because the fdd is in the base circuit. If the fdd were in the collector circuit, it would be a tuned-collector oscillator. The circuit in view (D) is basically an Armstrong oscillator.

Refer to figure 2-10, view (D), for the following discussion of the circuit operation of the Armstrong oscillator. When VCC is applied to the circuit. a small amount of base current flows through R2 which sets the forward bias on Q1. This forward bias causes collector current to flow from ground through Q1, R1, and L1 to +VCC. The current through L1 develops a magnetic field which induces a voltage into the tank circuit. The voltage is positive at the top of L2 and C1. At this time, two actions occur. First, resonant tank capacitor C1 charges to this voltage; the tank circuit now has stored energy. Second, coupling capacitor C2 couples the positive signal to the base of Q1. With a positive signal on its base, Q1 conducts harder. With Q1 conducting harder, more current flows through L1, a larger voltage is induced into L2, and a larger positive signal is coupled back to the base of Q1. While this is taking place, the frequency-determining device is storing more energy and C1 is charging to the voltage induced into L2.

The transistor will continue to increase in conduction until it reaches saturation. At saturation, the collector current of Q1 is at a maximum value and cannot increase any further. With a steady current through L1, the magnetic fields are not moving and no voltage is induced into the secondary.

With no external voltage applied, C1 acts as a voltage source and discharges. As the voltage across C1 decreases, its energy is transferred to the magnetic field of L2. Now, let's look at C2.

The coupling capacitor, C2, has charged to approximately the same voltage as C1. As C1 discharges, C2 discharges. The primary discharge path for C2 is through R2 (shown by the dashed arrow). As C2 discharges, the voltage drop across R2 opposes the forward bias on Q1 and collector current begins to decrease. This is caused by the decreasing positive potential at the base of Q1.

A decrease in collector current allows the magnetic field of L1 to collapse. The collapsing field of L1 induces a negative voltage into the secondary which is coupled through C2 and makes the base of Q1 more negative. This, again, is regenerative action; it continues until Q1 is driven into cutoff.

When Q1 is cut off, the tank circuit continues to flywheel, or oscillate. The flywheel effect not only produces a sine-wave signal, but it aids in keeping Q1 cut off. Without feedback, the oscillations of L2 and C1 would dampen out after several cycles.

To ensure that the amplitude of the signal remains constant, regenerative feedback is supplied to the tank once each cycle, as follows: As the voltage across C1 reaches maximum negative, C1 begins discharging toward 0 volts. Q1 is still below cutoff. C1 continues to discharge through 0 volts and becomes positively charged. The tank circuit voltage is again coupled to the base of Q1, so the base voltage becomes positive and allows collector current to flow. The collector current creates a magnetic field in L1, which is coupled into the tank. This feedback action replaces any lost energy in the tank circuit and drives Q1 toward saturation. After saturation is reached, the transistor is again driven into cutoff.

The operation of the Armstrong oscillator is basically this: Power applied to the transistor allows energy to be applied to the tank circuit causing it to oscillate. Once every cycle, the transistor conducts for a short period of time (class C operation) and returns enough energy to the tank to ensure a constant amplitude output signal.

Class C operation has high efficiency and low loading characteristics. The longer Q1 is cut off, the less the loading on the frequency-determining device.

Figure 2-11 shows a tuned-base Armstrong oscillator as you will probably see it. R3 has been added to improve temperature stability. Bypass capacitor C3 prevents degeneration. C4 is an output coupling capacitor, and impedance-matching transformer T2 provides a method of coupling the output signal. T2 is usually a loosely coupled rf transformer which reduces undesired reflected impedance from the load back to the oscillator.

Figure 2-11. - Tuned-base Armstrong oscillator.

The Armstrong oscillator is an example of how a class C amplifier can produce a sine-wave output that is not distorted. Although class C operation is nonlinear and many harmonic frequencies are generated, only one frequency receives enough gain to cause the circuit to oscillate. This is the frequency of the resonant tank circuit. Thus, high efficiency and an undistorted output signal can be obtained.

The waveforms in figure 2-12 illustrate the relationship between the collector voltage and collector current. Notice that collector current (IC) flows for only a short time during each cycle. While the tank circuit is oscillating (figure 2-11), L2 acts as the primary of the transformer and L1 acts as the secondary. The signal from the tank is, therefore, coupled through T1 to coupling capacitor C4, and the output voltage across L4 is a sine wave.

Figure 2-12. - Collector current and voltage waveforms of a class C oscillator.


The HARTLEY OSCILLATOR is an improvement over the Armstrong oscillator.

Although its frequency stability is not the best possible of all the oscillators, the Hartley oscillator can generate a wide range of frequencies and is very easy to tune. The Hartley will operate class C with self-bias for ordinary operation. It will operate class A when the output waveform must be of a constant voltage level or of a linear waveshape. The two versions of this oscillator are the series-fed and the shunt-fed. The main difference between the Armstrong and the Hartley oscillators lies in the design of the feedback (tickler) coil. A separate coil is not used. Instead, in the Hartley oscillator, the coil in the tank circuit is a split inductor. Current flow through one section induces a voltage in the other section to develop a feedback signal.

Series-Fed Hartley Oscillator

One version of a SERIES-FED HARTLEY OSCILLATOR is shown in figure 2-13. The tank circuit consists of the tapped coil (L1 and L2) and capacitor C2. The feedback circuit is from the tank circuit to the base of Q1 through the coupling capacitor C1. Coupling capacitor C1 prevents the low dc resistance of L2 from placing a short across the emitter-to-base junction and resistor RE. Capacitor C3 bypasses the sine-wave signal around the battery, and resistor RE is used for temperature stabilization to prevent thermal runaway. Degeneration is prevented by CE in parallel with RE. The amount of bias is determined by the values of RB, the emitter-to-base resistance, the small amount of dc resistance of coil L1, and the resistance of RE.

Figure 2-13. - Series-fed, tuned-base Hartley oscillator.

When a voltage is applied to the circuit, current from the battery flows through coil L1 and to the emitter through RE. Current then flows from the emitter to the collector and back to the battery. The surge of current through coil L1 induces a voltage in coil L2 to start oscillations within the tank circuit.

When current first starts to flow through coil L1, the bottom of L1 is negative with respect to the top of L2. The voltage induced into coil L2 makes the top of L2 positive. As the top of L2 becomes positive, the positive potential is coupled to the base of Q1 by capacitor C1. A positive potential on the base results in an increase of the forward bias of Q1 and causes collector current to increase. The increased collector current also increases the emitter current flowing through coil L1. Increased current through L1 results in more energy being supplied to the tank circuit, which, in turn, increases the positive potential at the top of the tank (L2) and increases the forward bias of Q1. This action continues until the rate of current change through coil L1 can no longer increase. The current through coil L1 and the transistor cannot continue increasing indefinitely, or the coil and transistor will burn up. The circuit must be designed, by proper selection of the transistor and associated parts, so that some point is reached when the current can no longer continue to increase. At this point C2 has charged to the potential across L1 and L2. This is shown as the heavy dot on the base waveform. As the current through L1 decreases, the voltage induced in L2 decreases. The positive potential across the tank begins to decrease and C2 starts discharging through L1 and L2. This action maintains current flow through the tapped coil and causes a decrease in the forward bias of Q1. In turn, this decrease in the forward bias of Q1 causes the collector and emitter current to decrease. At the instant the potential across the tank circuit decreases to 0, the energy of the tank circuit is contained in the magnetic field of the coil. The oscillator has completed a half cycle of operation.

Next, the magnetic field around L2 collapses as the current from C2 stops. The action of the collapsing magnetic field causes the top of L2 to become negative at this instant. The negative charge causes capacitor C2 to begin to charge in the opposite direction. This negative potential is coupled to the base of Q1, opposing its forward bias. Most transistor oscillators are operated class A; therefore, the positive and negative signals applied to the base of Q1 will not cause it to go into saturation or cutoff. When the tank circuit reaches its maximum negative value, the collector and the emitter currents will still be present but at a minimum value. The magnetic field will have collapsed and the oscillator will have completed 3/4 cycle.

At this point C2 begins to discharge, decreasing the negative potential at the top of L2 (potential will swing in the positive direction). As the negative potential applied to the base of Q1 decreases, the opposition to the forward bias also decreases. This, in effect, causes the forward bias to begin increasing, resulting in increased emitter current flowing through L1. The increase in current through L1 causes additional energy to be fed to the tank circuit to replace lost energy. If the energy lost in the tank is replaced with an equal or larger amount of energy, oscillations will be sustained. The oscillator has now completed 1 cycle and will continue to repeat it over and over again.

Shunt-Fed Hartley Oscillator

A version of a SHUNT-FED HARTLEY OSCILLATOR is shown in figure 2-14. The parts in this circuit perform the same basic functions as do their counterparts in the series-fed Hartley oscillator. The difference between the series-fed and the shunt-fed circuit is that dc does not flow through the tank circuit. The shunt-fed circuit operation is essentially the same as the series-fed Hartley oscillator. When voltage is applied to the circuit, Q1 starts conducting. As the collector current of Q1 increases, the change (increase) is coupled through capacitor C3 to the tank circuit, causing it to oscillate. C3 also acts as an isolation capacitor to prevent dc from flowing through the feedback coil. The oscillations at the collector will be coupled through C3 (feedback) to supply energy lost within the tank.

Figure 2-14. - Shunt-fed, tuned-base Hartley oscillator.

Q.12 What is the main difference between the Armstrong oscillator and the Hartley oscillator? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.13 What is the difference between the series-fed and the shunt-fed Hartley oscillator? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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