Here is the datasheet of the crystal (32 MHz) that I use for a MCU.

The right layout is an older version of my board which totally works fine. The left one is the newer version where I placed the components closer to each others (as well as the crystal). However, the 32 MHz crystal does not work properly on the new board ( I carefully assembled three of them).

enter image description here

I measured the pins of crystal by an oscillator, and I see the logic level of pins goes a higher, but don't oscillate. In addition, my code gets stuck on clock initialization.

Basically everything is the same, apart from the distance of the components.

What I did so far to debug the problem is that:

  • I replaced the crystal and load caps with the new ones and the ones from the old board that works for sure. It didn't help
  • pins of the crystals are measured by an oscillator, but there is no oscillation on the pins (the board has a 32k crystal as well, that one works fine).
  • I tested the same SW on different designs that the SW works correctly and it should be HW problem.
  • The orientation of the crystal is assembled correctly for sure, I use known brand capacitors (Murata and Kemet).
  • I inspected crystal's path to the MCU by a microscope and the solder on the pins looks fine.

Left side of CC321 bypass cap belongs to VCC path, and it might be too close to the crystal's In/Out pin (>0.2 mm). I wonder if it could be the problem that high frequency signal couples with the VCC path?

I removed the C321 but did not observe anything different.

Does anyone see any possible problem or have any suspicion or have any suggestion to debug/solve the problem?

Additional information about the Crystal: enter image description here

And related-schematic view of the layout

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The spec you linked says 12pF for load capacitance then your picture says typically 13pF then you have 18pF on your circuit diagram (plus maybe 1 or 2pF from parasitic components). Try reducing your capacitors by a few pF and see what happens but, fundamentally your question appears to be anomalous on this matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka The load caps in a crystal osc are effectively in series, so he actually has 9pF + parasitics. As such its probably too low and I would suggest increasing them to 22pF or maybe even 27pF. \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:12
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Funny your schematic looks like the crystal inputs are actually grounded. What really happens internally with pins 3 and 4? Have you tried putting a 1Meg resistor across 1&3 sometimes you need a little something to get the oscillation started. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 16:11
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Some Hardware Guy, Magically it worked:) But I can't understand why it worked, could you explain it as an answer? I couldn't understand why you said the input pins of crystal looks like grounded on the schematic? \$\endgroup\$
    – Angs
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 17:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It is common practice to always place a 1Mohm resister in parallel to the crystal. Btw for EMC purposes I would recommend to move the crystal as close to the MCU pins as possible. This is one of your most important components to consider layout-wise, so move the passives to give room for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


Hmm in meetings all day but maybe later or perhaps someone smarter will read this and give a good explanation hint hint. Basically the oscillator circuit is a little inverting amplifier with the input and output attached to the crystal. At time zero nothing is oscillating so it needs to be a little imbalanced to start oscillating. The 1Meg feedback resistor creates a little instability tying the output to the input. This starts the oscillation and then the crystal gets going.

Check out this link too

  • \$\begingroup\$ I soldered a throu hole resistor between pin 1 and 3. Do you see any way to fix the board without need of ordering new PCBs (My deadline is too soon)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Angs
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ May be putting a smd resistor on those two VIAS (over c364, the distance between them seens the same size the smd resistors you're using) is a good option? Or a very tiny resistor on IC's pads... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 20:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe "no clean" solder was used and the leakage from the flux residue was too high to allow the oscillator to oscillate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 20:14

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