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The Pierce Oscillator
Crystal-controlled Pierce oscillator circuit.

The circuit shown to the right is known as a Pierce oscillator. This is a simple, very conventional oscillator circuit, which works quite well as long as the transistor doesn't generate too much noise.

Feedback is through the crystal, of course, and the operating frequency is trimmed by adjusting C1. Of course, the circuit cannot be tuned over a range, but it does lend itself to switching between different crystals, thus allowing this oscillator to cover different frequency bands.

C2 serves to bypass some of the feedback energy, and thereby keep the output sine wave cleaner. Without C2, the output waveform would be more of a square wave than a sine wave.

The Pierce oscillator typically is built using a parallel mode crystal operating at its fundamental frequency.


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