Hartley 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 the figure below. 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.

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 the next figure. 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.

Shunt fed tuned base Hartley oscillator.

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