I am trying to connect an external crystal to my STM32F446RC MCU.

I am following this guide to check for the compatibility: https://www.st.com/resource/en/application_note/cd00221665-oscillator-design-guide-for-stm8afals-stm32-mcus-and-mpus-stmicroelectronics.pdf

The only part of the equation I can't find in the datasheet of the crystals I have seen is the transconductance value, where can I find this?

Example of crystal oscillators' datasheets I have seen: https://ecsxtal.com/index.php?plg=sslfixer&url=http%3A%2F%2Fecsxtal.com%2Fstore%2Fpdf%2Fecx-3sx.pdf


2 Answers 2


The transconductance cannot be found on crystal datasheet, because it is not a property of the crystal.

It is a property of the oscillator and therefore found in the MCU datasheet.


Models of quartz crystal do not have transconductance. No equation nor explanation in the linked design guide demand the transconductance of a crystal.

Transconductance is a property of a fet amplifier in the oscillator part of the microcontroller. It can be found in the microcontroller datasheet. You can think of it with the next simplification of the oscillator amp:

enter image description here

RF (=feedback resistor) is several megaohms. The idle DC voltage at the Osc OUT pin and at the gate of M1 is about the same as the treshold voltage of fet M1.

If a small amplitude AC signal voltage Uin is summed to the DC at the gate of M1 the small signal transconductance Gm of M1 defines what AC current there occurs in the drain current of M1. It is Gm * Uin.

Because The biasing current source lets a certain DC current only, all AC current sucked by the fet occurs in the OscOUT wire. Thus the transconductance of the fet M1 can be seen as the transconductance of the oscillator amp.

NOTE: This is a simplification. Gm of a fet is not constant, it depends on the DC operating point which depends on the operating state of the microcontroller.

Add due a comment:

STM32F446RC datasheet doesn't have the transconductance of the crystal oscillator amp. It's not needed because they say it in other way. They specify the maximum allowed value for quantity Gmcrit which is a property of a crystal+its nominal load capacitance. That property is not in usual specs of the crystals, because it's taken into use in your linked oscillator design guide (page 13) by the writer of that guide. There it's calculated as follows:

enter image description here

If Gmcrit is allowed to be max. 1mA/V the Gm of the oscillator amp must be a few times bigger, say 5mA/V or more to have some margin and a plausible start of oscillation. You must calculate if your crystal has small enough Gmcrit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the explanation. I just don't understand why they wouldn't give the value of the transconductance of the HSE in the STM32F446RC datasheet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Diego C
    May 6, 2021 at 19:37

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