# Can we use use an oscillator as a low power source?

Is it possible to make an oscillator (or buy an oscillator IC) that can give directly (without using a power amp) up to 2W (or even 1W) of power?

And if not, then what stops oscillators from getting bigger apart from the maximum ratings of current and voltage where we can go to thousand of volts? Is it the stability? Efficiency? Is it a problem also at 1W?

Edit: I know oscillators are made for signal, but if there is a way to power, it would be very good because i need a DC AC low power converter, and the circuit i want to power has a resonant frequency and i want the AC to converge to that resonating frequency, i know how to do that par there only the power problem, so if in theory there is nothing that prevents the oscillator from doing that then it would be much better.

• Oscillator is for oscillating. Power source is for power sourcing. And 1W or 2W are not "low power". Commented May 26, 2015 at 16:18
• As mentioned, oscillators give a signal, you COULD directly run off of this but you're talking about extremely low power levels. Most oscillators rely on a feedback loop and you would ideally leach as little power from that loop as possible, amplifying what you do pull from it. If you want specifics, give us specifics as to the type of oscillator you're using. Capacitor based relaxation oscillators tend to be higher power output compared to crystal for example. Commented May 26, 2015 at 16:25
• There is nothing to prevent you from doing that, but is not very practical, so why bother? It's like asking a sumi wrestling champion to do the marathon. He will reach the finish at some moment (probably after a few weeks), but an average Kenian boy will be many times faster. Commented May 26, 2015 at 16:39
• I can answer your title, though: Yes, you can use an oscillator as an always low power-source, if you load a simple oscillator with 2W of load, it'll always be low. Commented May 26, 2015 at 16:47
• If you could get something for nothing, why would we need regulators AND oscillators? Thanks for laugh @Asmyldof. Commented May 26, 2015 at 17:09

Specialist oscillators can be used. Here is one example I designed - it was in a metal detector searching for metal contaminants on a foodstuff conveyor belt. The oscillator was a tuned LC circuit with the inductive part being the search head coil. It was nominally 1uH, was excited at 300kHz, developed about 40Vp-p across it (14V RMS) and had a current flowing in its winding of about 7.5 amps.

I could easily extract a couple of watts from it without too much bother.

• this is exactly the kind of thing i am talking about, do you think it will work for my application? i need a DC AC low power converter, and the circuit i want to power has a resonant frequency and i want the AC to converge to that resonating frequency, i know how to do that par there only the power problem, so if in theory there is nothing that prevents the oscillator from doing that then it would be much better.the circuit i want to power is a coupled inductors with a load behind, i'm powering the primary Commented May 27, 2015 at 8:04
• It should work but the devil is always in the detail. Commented May 27, 2015 at 8:13
• It all depends on the inductance value you want to use and how much voltage you need to develop across it. You can build a parallel tuned circuit (L and C) and feed it from a frequency adjustable 5V sq wave oscillator via a small capacitor and get 10 to 100V p-p across the tuned circuit. The bigger the inductance the easier it is but the more susceptible it will be to load currents taken. You could build a power colpitts oscillator also. You need to decide on what magnitude you need and what coil inductance. Tuning will be with ceramic capacitors. Commented May 27, 2015 at 9:43

A preliminary question would be "Why would you need an oscillator capable of delivering high power?".

What we commonly refer to as oscillators are usually low power systems for a reason. Oscillators usually are used to generate basic signals: sine, triangle, sawtooth and square waves are the most common. More specialized oscillators allow you to vary some of the parameters of those signals: amplitude, phase, frequency, duty-cycle and offset (dc component), thus providing a way to perform modulation (for example) or other signal processing task. The point is just this: signal processing. Basic waveforms rarely are useful for themselves in modern electronics: usually you need to perform arithmetic operations on signals (e.g. adding or multiplying two signals) or some more advanced operations (e.g. differentiation, integration, averaging, filtering, etc.). And I only mentioned classic analog operations. Then you have digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversions (mixed domain operations) that cross the boundary to the digital domain, where all the magic of modern electronics happens!

In all this landscape high power signals enter the picture only in some very limited areas, typically power supply systems, final amplifier stages (BF or RF) or final drivers for power control systems (motors or electromechanical devices drivers, for example).

It would very inefficient to generate high power signals directly from oscillators and perform all the signal processing on them rightaway. What it is usually done is to generate low power signals, process them, and convert them to high power levels only when and where it is needed for the application.

There are some niche applications where high power "oscillators" are indeed used. For example switching power supplies, before the final DC conversion stage, may be viewed as power oscillators, since they produce an high power oscillating signal that is then converted to the needed DC. This notwithstanding we don't use usually the term oscillator for such circuits.

• I know oscillators are made for signal, but if there is a way to power, it would be very good because i need a DC AC low power converter, and the circuit i want to power has a resonant frequency and i want the AC to converge to that resonating frequency, i know how to do that par there only the power problem, so if in theory there is nothing that prevents the oscillator from doing that then it would be much better. Commented May 27, 2015 at 7:57
• @zakaria1193 If you have a specific problem you should state it in the question upfront. Now I see you have updated your question, but as it stood it was a very general question about why in principle oscillators are not made for high power (that's probably why you received those downvotes). For the future, keep in mind that the more precise the question the higher the likelihood you have to get the answer you're looking for. Commented May 27, 2015 at 14:13

Here is a physical example of converting wave energy into usable electric energy. Earthquake waves could be converted into electric energy also, but of course that isn't practical. Nor is using microphones or speakers to convert acoustic energy into any meaningful power.

As others have said, an oscillator itself cannot "drive" much of anything without affecting or stopping it's oscillation. Sure, a buffer could be added after it to drive things, but then it's the buffer that's doing the driving, not the oscillator.