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Inside Frequency Control

The TCXO Oscillator: 5 Elements of Temperature Compensated Oscillators

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jun 23, 2020 8:15:00 AM

The most common types of crystal oscillators in the world of electrical & RF engineering include OCXO, VCXO, clock oscillators, and (you guessed it) TCXO oscillators. If you're reading this post, you must want to learn more about temperature compensated crystal oscillators (TCXO). Let's dive in and learn the basics of TCXO oscillators.

Introducing the TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator)

The TCXO, Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (Xtal oscillator), is a form of crystal oscillator used where a precision frequency source is required within a small space and at a reasonable cost.

By applying temperature compensation within the quartz crystal oscillator module, it is possible to considerably improve on the basic performance of the crystal.

In view of their usefulness, a wide range is available from many suppliers in a whole variety of packages and mounts (surface, through-hole). Some TCXOs are compatible with the dual in line format used for many through hole mounted integrated circuits.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

Procuring Frequency Control Devices - 3 Powerful Tips

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on May 27, 2020 8:15:00 AM

The crystal oscillator purchasing process can be a headache if you don't know what to expect. However, learning the basics of procuring frequency control devices can help you to plan accordingly and decrease your frustration. We'll keep this one short and to the point.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

Can a Crystal Oscillator Operate Outside the Specified Temperature Range?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on May 26, 2020 8:30:00 AM

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Systems: 5 Critical Design Decisions

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on May 6, 2020 7:45:00 AM

5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will be one of the earliest uses of 5G. 5G FWA will provide lightning fast gigabit internet speeds to homes, apartments, and businesses. Better yet, 5G FWA will be a fraction of the cost compared to traditional cable & fiber systems.

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Topics: 5G, GPS & GNSS

Key Developments in mmWave Radio Spectrum Research

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Apr 29, 2020 8:15:00 AM

5G Wireless is Right Around the Corner thanks to mmWave

Fifth generation wireless systems are not far from becoming a reality, thanks to recent research being done on the millimeter wave (mmWave) radio spectrum.

Experts agree the way forward is to manufacture mass deployable wireless devices across a range of markets and for different applications. Among other things, these applications include mobile computing and data processing over networks. The technology also has applications in the field of medicine and healthcare.

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Topics: engineering, RF Technology

[Press Release] Bliley Introduces New eCommerce Store for Oscillators

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Apr 2, 2020 8:00:00 AM
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[Press Release] Bliley Partners with Penn State Behrend and Case Western to Distribute COVID-19 Face Shields

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Apr 1, 2020 8:00:00 AM


For Immediate Release

April 1, 2020 

Bliley Partners with Penn State Behrend and Case Western to Distribute COVID-19 Face Shields

Three Erie companies will manufacture the shields, creating 5,000 every day

Bliley Technologies has partnered with researchers at Penn State Behrend and Case Western Reserve University to fulfill and distribute a face shield for medical professionals who are treating patients who have the COVID-19 virus. They expect to produce nearly 240,000 shields.

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The Secret to Low Phase Noise in Crystal Oscillator Circuits

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Feb 20, 2020 9:06:00 AM

Quartz crystal oscillators are the high and mighty option for low phase noise and added frequency stability in circuit design. Yes, simple oscillators like those made with resistor-capacitor (RC) or inductor-capacitor (IC) resonators are fine for some circuits. But if you're dealing with higher performance applications in aerospace, military, and space industries... you're going to want a higher performance crystal oscillator that can maintain low phase noise & strong stability. Otherwise, you'll risk deviating from the very specific (and many times critical) center frequency selected for your design.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, Integrated RF

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Phase Noise

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Feb 20, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Maintaining strong frequency stability in electronic RF circuits by eliminating phase noise is important in many high-end communication applications. This is especially true for precise targeting in radar systems and spectral purity in other communication systems.

Let's take a deep dive into exactly what phase noise and jitter mean. This will help give you a better idea as to why reducing a system's phase noise is significant.

What Is Phase Noise?

Phase Noise  is represented in the frequency domain of a waveform and consists of rapid, short-term, random fluctuations in the phase (frequency). This is caused by time domain instabilities (jitter).
Be sure not to confuse phase noise with Jitter. Jitter is a method of describing the stability of an oscillator in the Time Domain. It combines all the noise sources together and shows their effect with respect to time.

In the simplest terms, phase noise describes the stability of an oscillator in the Frequency Domain, while jitter describes stability in the Time Domain.

A Simple 5-Step Path to Understanding Phase Noise

To build an in-depth understanding of phase noise, try using this simple 5 step process. Once you understand the 5 steps, you'll understand what makes phase noise...well... phase noise! 
"How does Spectral Density connected to Phase Noise in the 5 step process?" you ask? Here's some more details on each step.

Step 1: Spectral Density

Spectral Density is a measure of a signal's power intensity in the frequency domain.  The spectral density provides a useful way to characterize the amplitude versus frequency content of a random signal.

Step 2: When plotting each spectral density point at varied frequency intervals of your choosing (In this case every 1Hz), you're left with a graph that looks like this:

Step 2: Signal Power Density

You are now looking at what is known as the Signal Power Density of the noise. 

Now focus only on the upper sideband of the graph from fstart to fstop, this is called the "Single Side Band".

Step 3: Noise Power Density

We can now refer to the plotted part of the single side band as noise (Anything above the nominal oscillator frequency (Fosc) and not harmonically related can be considered phase noise). The technical term for this part of our graph is Noise Power Density (Step 3). We measure noise power density in dBW (LOG(Watts)) at this point because of the large range which we are looking. 

Step 4: SSB Noise Density

When we combine the single side band and Noise Power Density, we are actually measuring what's called SSB (Single Side Band) Noise Density

Step 5: Phase Noise

Finally, we can look at this in the time domain and we see a "jittery" waveform (see graph), we are looking at "jitter". Because the jitter is much smaller than one complete period (see graph), we can say it is caused by "Phase Fluctuations" (instead of frequency fluctuations). Since these fluctuations are noise, it's actually  phase noise.
SSB Noise Density = Phase Noise
...and that's where phase noise comes from! Easy, right?

What Causes Phase Noise?

Phase noise in higher-end applications (such as radar communications, military communications, and space & satcom communications) is typically caused by
  • High vibrations
  • Micro vibrations
  • g forces and acceleration sensitivity
Using an anti-vibration, g-sensitivity crystal oscillator is the best way to eliminate phase noise from all of these potential sources.
Here are some common sources of phase noise in crystal oscillators.
Random Noise Sources:
Related: Causes and solutions for phase noise in high-end radar and communication systems.

What's Next? Learn How to Achieve Low Phase Noise...

Achieving low phase noise in a crystal oscillator is critical to achieving high-performance. Therefore, it's important to understand an in-depth look at phase noise. Instantly download our free visual guide to the impact of phase noise on various applications.
Now that you know all about phase noise and jitter, you might find it useful to learn about the  best output signal type in your oscillators.
Download our visual guide to the effects of phase noise
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Topics: engineering, crystal oscillators

5 Best Benchtop Digital Multimeters (2020)

Posted by Tommy Reed on Feb 4, 2020 11:21:00 PM

Go into any electronics lab and you will undoubtably see a bench top multimeter.  The humble benchtop digital multimeter is a staple of any lane and is one of the most fundamental and highly used pieces of test equipment for electronic design. 

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.

As the name implies, the digital multimeter is useful for a wide range of measurements and tests.  Bench top digital multimeters, or DMMs, can be used to to make the basic (Ohm’s Law) measurements:

  • Measure resistance
  • Measure voltage
  • Measure current
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Topics: engineering, General Topics, Engineering Equiptment