Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A multivibrator is an electronic circuit used to implement a variety of simple two-state systems such as oscillators, timers and flip-flops. It is characterized by two amplifying devices (transistors, electron tubes or other devices) cross-coupled by resistors and capacitors.

There are three types of multivibrator circuit:

astable, in which the circuit is not stable in either state—it continuously oscillates from one state to the other. Due to this, it does not require an input (Clock pulse or other).
monostable, in which one of the states is stable, but the other is not—the circuit will flip into the unstable state for a determined period, but will eventually return to the stable state. Such a circuit is useful for creating a timing period of fixed duration in response to some external event. This circuit is also known as a one shot. A common application is in eliminating switch bounce.
bistable, in which the circuit will remain in either state indefinitely. The circuit can be flipped from one state to the other by an external event or trigger. Such a circuit is important as the fundamental building block of a register or memory device. This circuit is also known as a latch or a flip-flop.
In its simplest form the multivibrator circuit consists of two cross-coupled transistors. Using resistor-capacitor networks within the circuit to define the time periods of the unstable states, the various types may be implemented. Multivibrators find applications in a variety of systems where square waves or timed intervals are required. Simple circuits tend to be inaccurate since many factors affect their timing, so they are rarely used where very high precision is required.

Before the advent of low-cost integrated circuits, chains of multivibrators found use as frequency dividers. A free-running multivibrator with a frequency of one-half to one-tenth of the reference frequency would accurately lock to the reference frequency. This technique was used in early electronic organs, to keep notes of different octaves accurately in tune. Other applications included early television systems, where the various line and frame frequencies were kept synchronized by pulses included in the video signal.

Read more about multivibrators at wikipedia by clicking here

Click here for another great article on multivibrators

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  1. HI john

    good article is very refresher but please tell me can i substitute crystals instead of transistors in the circuits

  2. No not in these circuits, but you can replace these circuits completely with crystals in circuits where frequency is critical such as timers.