The Reliability and Staying Power of Quartz Oscillators

High-Quality Quartz Crystal Oscillators Are Available Now from Our Authorized Distributors

The power and performance of quartz oscillators is easy to describe. Quartz oscillators offer superior frequency solutions that help them stand out in a crowded field of lesser options. Their low power usage, stability, longevity, versatility and more make them the most desirable choice for engineers in the design community who require a frequency component for their applications.

There are, of course, plenty of technologies that have tried to rival quartz oscillators as a frequency solution. However, these alternatives cannot compete, and they tend to fall by the wayside when measured against quartz crystals. Whether a product designer is considering ceramic resonators, MEMs or other frequency-based alternatives to quartz, they may discover what attributes make these products different, but not reasonable replacements.

When an engineer is given the opportunity to see the advantages and disadvantages of the various frequency solutions on the market today, they will be able to make a more confident decision when ordering quartz crystal oscillators and more. With comprehensive knowledge about frequency solutions in hand, getting in touch with the ECS Inc. sales team today has never been an easier decision.

Ceramic Resonators vs. Quartz Oscillators as Frequency Solutions

Ceramic resonators create a frequency based on their shape. A ceramic resonator has a cavity which resonates at a specific frequency. Some engineers consider using this product when a stable frequency does not necessarily matter.

For example, if your frequency-based application does not offer a crucial, essential function – and does not require a strong, stable, clean frequency – ceramic resonators might be useful.

However, in the case of an application that requires very low frequency drift and must ensure stability, efficiency, durability and high performance, frequency from a quartz crystal oscillator is a better choice. Quartz crystal oscillator circuits tailored to your application are available now from ECS Inc.

SAW Resonators vs. Quartz Oscillators as Frequency Solutions

Surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonators filter out unwanted frequencies. These products are silicon based, so they are readily available and can be ordered at a low cost. SAWs are sometimes preferred over ceramic resonators, and yet they still require compensation to work as effectively as quartz.

If an engineer is looking for an affordable solution that may not guarantee the fidelity or performance of quartz crystal oscillators, SAWs may be an alternative. Keep in mind that corrections for frequency control will need to be applied to this component. Even then, however, a SAW resonator’s performance will not match a quartz oscillator circuit in quality, reliability or effectiveness.

MEMs vs. Quartz Oscillators as Frequency Solutions
Microelectromechanical oscillators are often held up as a competitor to quartz. Unfortunately, many of the touted benefits of MEMs turn out to be marketing language, as opposed to useful rationales.

Engineers may read that MEMs are easy to produce at a low cost and promise short lead times. MEMs manufacturers may also claim improved phase-noise and jitter when used over a long period of time (and perhaps longer than the application would even be useful). The durability of MEMs is also often cited. However, the benefits of MEMs often fail to include information that engineers should know in advance of seeking this product:

  1. Quartz crystal oscillators are custom products by nature, as they are tailored to an engineer’s specific application. Quartz oscillators are also easy to produce at an affordable price when taking into consideration how closely they meet the frequency needs of many industries’ specific applications, particularly when others can’t.
  2. MEMs require a high level of power consumption and additional compensation to demonstrate their precision. However, battery-powered applications cannot afford to have their power drained while trying to match a quartz oscillator circuit’s performance.
  3. The durability described by proponents of MEMs is perhaps only necessary under exceptionally rugged conditions, such as farming equipment sensors that consistently hit rough terrain. Otherwise, for typical applications that do not experience aggressive wear and tear, quartz’s performance supersedes MEMs for important performance metrics, including:
    • Low power-usage
    • Stable, clean frequencies
    • Effectiveness for a wide variety of industry applications
    • Durability for automotive applications and more
    • Higher “Q” factor, or overall frequency stability

Read the ECS Inc. white paper comparing MEMs to quartz oscillators.

Order Quartz Oscillators from ECS Inc.

When high performance, quality, efficiency and effectiveness are required, engineers should consider choosing quartz oscillator circuits over other frequency products. While SAWs, ceramic resonators and MEMs offer some positive attributes – as any frequency-based solution should – quartz oscillators provide the most versatile, well-rounded group of measurable performance indicators on the market today.

Most applications that require a timing solution need more than just average effectiveness or advantages that will not necessarily matter in the long run. Engineers want key characteristics that matter now and offer a guarantee that their products will succeed.

ECS Inc. is dedicated to your application’s success. Explore ECS Inc.’s parametric search tool to find the solution you’re looking for, as well as our vast list of sales representatives and authorized distributors. ECS Inc. quartz oscillators for frequency control are available for order today, so your use case can benefit from everything this component has to offer.

The Reliability and Staying Power of Quartz Oscillators was last modified: October 30th, 2023 by ECS Inc.