What is the difference between a VCXO and a VCO?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Mar 29, 2018

A VCO is a Voltage Controlled Oscillators i.e. it is an electronic oscillator whose oscillating/output frequency can be controlled by a DC voltage. The oscillating/output frequency of the VCO can be modified by changing the DC voltage applied to it. This DC voltage is called the control voltage. The oscillation frequency of a VCO is generated using an electronic circuit.

A VCXO is a Voltage Controlled Crystal Oscillator i.e it consists of a crystal oscillator with a varactor diode and supporting circuitry. The oscillating/output frequency of a VCXO is determined by the properties of the crystal. When a DC voltage is applied across the crystal, the oscillation frequency changes.

Oscillation Frequency Generated by an Electronic CircuitOscillation Frequency Generated based on Crystal Properties
Wide Frequency RangeNarrow Frequency Range
Lower StabilityHigher Stability
Higher Phase NoiseLower Phase Noise