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Very Low Power 32kHz Oscillator
The base of T1 is biased at 1.25 V using R5/R4 and the reference in IC1. T1 may be any small-signal transistor with a decent beta of 100 or so at 5 µA (defined here by R3, fixing the collector voltage at about 1 V below Vcc). The amplifier’s nominal gain is approximately 2 V/V. The quartz crystal combined with load capacitors C1 and C3 forms a feedback path around T1, whose 180 degrees of phase shift causes the oscillation. The bias voltage of 1.25 V for the comparator inside the MAX931 is defined by the reference via R2. The comparator’s input swing is thus accurately centred around the reference voltage.
Operating at 3 V and 32 kHz, IC1 draws just 7 µA. The comparator output can source and sink 40 mA and 5 mA respectively, which is ample for most low-power loads. However, the moderate rise/fall times of 500 ns and 100 ns respectively can cause standard, high-speed CMOS logic to draw higher than usual switching currents. The optional 74HC14 Schmitt trigger shown at the circuit output can handle the comparator’s rise/fall times with only a small penalty in supply current.