[time-nuts] Bye-Bye Crystals

jimlux jimlux at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 14 17:12:14 EDT 2017

On 3/14/17 12:39 PM, Attila Kinali wrote:
> On Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:39:02 +0100
> Magnus Danielson <magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org> wrote:
>> Some claims that MEMS will kill crystals. It will surely eat a good
>> market share, but I think there is applications where MEMS is not mature
>> enough compared to crystals.

> The big promise of MEMS oscillators was, that they'd be cheaper (due to
> integration in silicon) and used less power. As far as I am aware,
> neither promise could be upheld.

Well, the SiLabs parts are quite attractive for places where they are 
appropriate. They're cost competitive in small quantities with the 
"XO+PLL" modules, and physically much smaller.

> As for the demise of single quartz crystal units, I think that is not
> going to happen any soon.

<a few popular frequencies available in large quantities from multiple 

I think the "individual crystal" market will remain, but it will be 
expensive.  I fully expect that folks like  Bliley  and Croven (part of 
Wenzel since 2006) will be around for a long long time.

What probably won't last much longer is companies like ICM that you 
could send your "frequency control module" to and have them "recrystal" 
it for a new frequency.

The low budget folks (ham radio) will go to little synthesizer board 
retrofits of some sort or another - which they've already started doing, 
since really nice 10 MHz GPSDOs became available, rather than using that 
special oscillator at around 90 MHz (I can't remember the magic 
frequency) that you could double and triple up to microwave frequencies 
step by step while using your trusty 28 or 144 MHz transceiver as a back 

And some day, all those 1970s and 1980s FM repeaters still on the air 40 
years later having been repurposed from land mobile radio service will 
be replaced by something else.  My friends with a garage full of old 
Moto and GE gear that they've been saving just in case will have to 
dispose of it.

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