Simple Oscillator / Pipe Locator

Sometimes the need arises to construct a really simple oscillator. This could hardly be simpler than the circuit shown here, which uses just three components, and offers five separate octaves, beginning around Middle C (Stage 14). Octave # 5 is missing, due to the famous (or infamous) missing Stage 11 of the 4060B IC. We might call this a Colpitts ‘L’ oscillator, without the ‘C’. Due to the reactance of the 100-┬ÁH inductor and the propagation delay of the internal oscillator, oscillation is set up around 5 MHz. When this is divided down, Stage 14 approaches the frequency of Middle C (Middle C = 261.626 Hz).


Stages 13, 12, 10, and 9 provide higher octaves, with Stages 8 to 4 being in the region of ultrasound. If the oscillator’s output is taken to the aerial of a Medium Wave Radio, L1 may serve as the search coil of a Pipe Locator, with a range of about 50 mm. This is tuned by finding a suitable heterodyne (beat note) on the medium wave band. In that case, piezo sounder Bz1 is omitted. The Simple Oscillator / Pipe Locator draws around 7mA from a 9-12 V DC source.

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