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Feedback Amplifier Transistor Oscillator

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Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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Principle of Operation of Oscillator

Electronic devices function on a tank circuit to enable the sharing of information. Generally, an amplifier with a sinusoidal input attains an amplified output signal. In a feedback amplifier and transistor oscillator, the oscillator generates an amplified output signal without any intake of input signals. The working of an oscillator is a repetitive process with the amplified input and output resulting in feedback with persistent operations. This ensures the transmission of information signals back and forth in an electronic device without any interval.

This infers a single input lead with endless outputs based on the feedback and frequency regulated, the external signal delivers an alternating current which is self-sustainable.

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Types of Feedback Amplifiers

In the working of an oscillator, feedback refers to the ability of the output signal to return to the input. There are 2 types of feedback amplifiers:

  1. Positive Feedback Amplifier

As shown in the image, Vin is the input signal sourced through the transistor to Vout is the output, further, the succeeding network formed with the sourcing of Vout back to Vin is positive feedback indicated with Vf in the figure. These positive feedback amplifiers are utilized for oscillations. 

  1. Negative Feedback Amplifier

On the contrary, a negative feedback amplifier indicates the incapacity of the (Vout) output signal to return to the (Vin) input signal.


Types of Transistor Oscillators and Functions

Let's quickly take a look at some types of transistor oscillators and how they function.

  1. Working of Colpitts oscillator

A variation of an oscillator tank circuit formed with 2 capacitors and 1 inductor. Its connectivity can be achieved in series allowing the inductor to be placed in a parallel position to the capacitors.

The working of the Colpitt oscillator was invented in 1918 and named after scientist Edwin Colpitts. As compared to the working principle of the Hartley oscillator, it stimulates preferable frequency stability.


  1. Working Principle of Hartley Oscillator

Hartley Oscillator is a tank circuit composing 2 inductors and one capacitor. The inductors are linked in a combining series whereas the capacitor is positioned parallel to the series of inductors. It was invented in the year 1915 and named after an American scientist Ralph Hartley. It generally operates with frequencies ranging from 20 kHz to 20MHz.

  1. Working of Wien Bridge Oscillator

A Wein bridge oscillator is a bridge circuit formed with 4 resistors and 2 capacitors. It produces sine waves with largely ranging frequencies. The working of the Wien bridge oscillator was formulated and named after Max Wein in the year 1891 for measuring impedances.

Now that we have analyzed and understood the functioning of feedback amplifier and transistor oscillator, we've comprehended the functioning of varied oscillations like the working of Colpitts oscillator, working principle of Hartley oscillator, and working of Wien bridge oscillator.

One of the factors that remain constant is the positive feedback gained to achieve repetitive and long-term processing of signals.


  1. Clapps Oscillator.

The Clapps oscillator consists of three capacitors and an inductor that is already set to the oscillator frequency. The Clapps oscillator is also known as the Gouriet oscillator. This is named after its founder James Klinton Clapp. Although, it is said that these kinds of oscillators were built by several independent persons. One among them was Gouriet. The Clapps oscillator has excellent frequency stability.


  1. Robinson Oscillator

The Robinson oscillator is a further development of the already existing marginal oscillator. It is therefore often referred to as marginal Robinson oscillator. A British physics scientist named Neville Robinson is behind the invention of this oscillator.

  1. Dynatron Oscillator

The dynatron oscillator was invented by a scientist named Albert Hull in 1918.

Like the Clapps oscillator, the dynatron oscillator also has better frequency stability. The dynatron oscillator can oscillate between a huge range of frequencies and this can be counted as one of its many advantages.

  1. Phase Shift Oscillator

A phase shift oscillator is a combination of inverting amplifiers, resistors and capacitors. These oscillators are also called auto oscillators as they are mainly used for audio frequencies.

  1. Pierce Oscillator

The Pierce oscillator is derived from the existing Colpitts oscillator. The name of the oscillator is kept after its inventor George. W. Pierce.

The components of the pierce oscillator are one resistor, two capacitors, and a quartz crystal. All the digital clocks are run by a Pierce oscillator. It is a quartz oscillator.

  1. Optoelectronic Oscillator

The optoelectronic oscillator is also known as OEO and is based on the concept of transforming light energy into microwave signals. The optoelectronic oscillator is known to have stability as well as a high-quality factor, among various other factors that aren't generally found in basic electronic oscillators. This type of oscillator also has photonic components and is known to operate at high speed. It is an optoelectronic circuit known to modulate optical continuous wave signals.

  1. Armstrong oscillator

The Armstrong oscillator was invented by a US engineer named Edwin Armstrong and other Australian engineers Alexander Meissner. However, both of them have invented it independently, so the oscillator is also named the Meissner oscillator. The feature that makes it unique is the tickle coil that is used, hence sometimes it's also called a tickler oscillator. This electronic oscillator uses a combination of a capacitor and an inductor to produce oscillations.


Solved Example

  • In an Oscillator Working Principle, What is Positive Feedback?

Answer- Positive feedback adopted in the working of an oscillator stimulates an output frequency without the implementation of any input. Positive feedback boosts the output signal by charging a quicker and higher signal in the direction of the input. It functions in a loop permitting continuous and undamped oscillations. Following the principle 'more produces more' it is utilized in procedures like fruit ripening and contractions in childbirth. Amplification in an oscillator only administers with positive feedback as it feeds the output signal back to the input to model it to be in phase, further the feedback and input enhance the amplifier.

Did You Know?

  • A classic based on feedback control theories published in 1868 was the first-ever written theory relating to feedback by James Clerk Maxwell as a popular paper named 'On governors'.

  • The verbal application of the word 'feedback' was implemented in the US in the 1860s, however, the official usage of the word 'feedback' as a noun was witnessed in the year 1909 by Nobel laureate Karl Ferdinand Braun referring to bonding of the elements in an electronic circuit.

FAQs on Feedback Amplifier Transistor Oscillator

1. What is an injection locking oscillator?

When two oscillators are operating at the same time at a nearby distance, it so happens that the second oscillator captures the frequency of the first oscillator. The disturbance results in coupling if the frequencies are near, resulting in identical frequencies. This phenomenon is called injection locking.


If one oscillator merely disturbs the other one but an effect is noticed, it is called injection pulling.


This type of effect can sometimes be seen in laser resonators.


The injection locking method is adopted in various ways, it is also used in oscilloscopes and television sets.

2.  Explain a numerically-controlled oscillator?

A numerically controlled oscillator is one that creates a clocked presentation of a sinusoidal waveform. These types of oscillators are usually paired with a digital-to-analogue converter. When it comes to accuracy, stability, and reliability, a numerically-controlled oscillator is preferred.  These are mainly used in the communication systems like software radio systems, radar systems, and digital-up converters used in 3G wireless systems.

3. What are relaxation oscillators?

The relaxation oscillators also known as non-linear oscillators are the ones that produce non-sinusoidal output. The components of a relaxation oscillator include an inductor, a nonlinear switching device, and a capacitor that are connected in a feedback loop. Abrupt waves are caused by frequent charging and discharging of energy that is stored in the storage element. 


The output is produced by a relaxation oscillator in the form of a square, sawtooth, or triangle wave.

The relaxation oscillators are used in various day-to-day electronic equipment that we use today, namely oscilloscopes and television sets, inverters, and power switching supplies to name a few.


Generally, these sorts of oscillators have poor frequency reliability than that of a linear oscillator and are only used at low frequencies.

4. Working Principle of the Hartley Oscillator Is Most Commonly Utilized in ________?

  1. TV Receivers

  2. Radio Receivers

  3. Radio Transmitters

  4. None of the above 

The answer to the question would be option B: Radio Receivers.

The Hartley Oscillator layout with a tank tuned circuit has a Radio Frequency coil with sustaining fractions of signal from the output to the transistors, it enhances the execution of the radio receivers with transitions in frequency. Hartley oscillators are generally used in superheterodyne receivers like a radio receiver and many other circuits facilitating communication like modems, atomic clocks, radio telescopes, operation of telephone trunk lines, cable tv setup boxes, and much more.

5. Which is an Active Device in an LC Transistor Oscillator?

  1. Biasing Circuit

  2. Transistor

  3. LC Tank Circuit

  4. None of the above

The answer to the question would be option B: Transistor.

In an LC transistor circuit, the transistor taps DC inputs (voltages) received are transmitted to AC outputs (waves). An inductor and capacitor body is used for boosting sustained oscillations, generally used in tunes, RF modulators, sine wave generators with the transistor playing an active role in the oscillation procedure. Varied oscillations process in a similar pattern, with the transistor aiding along with continuous and undamped of desired frequencies as long as the tank circuit is efficiently connected.