RC Phase shift Oscillator using 741 op amp- Design and output waveform simulation

RC phase shift oscillator is a sinusoidal oscillator used to produce sustained well shaped sine wave oscillations. It is used for different applications such as local oscillator for synchronous receivers, musical instruments, study purposes etc. The main part of an RC phase shift oscillator is an op amp inverting amplifier with its output fed back into its input using a regenerative feedback RC filter network, hence the name RC phase shift oscillator.

By varying the capacitor,the frequency of oscillations can be varied. The feedback RC network has a phase shift of 60 degrees each, hence total phase shift provided by the three RC network is 180 degrees. The op amp is connected as inverting amplifier hence the total phase shift around the loop will be 360 degrees. This condition is essential for sustained oscillations. We have already discussed about RC phase shift oscillator using transistor.

Circuit Diagram

Components Required

  1. Resistors (1.2KΩ, 1KΩx2)
  2. Potentiometer (50KΩ)
  3. Capacitors (0.01µFx3)
  4. 741 Op Amp

Output Waveform beginning

Sustained Output Waveform

Working of RC Phase shift oscillator

  • The feedback network offers 180 degrees phase shift at the oscillation frequency and the op amp is configured as an Inverting amplifier, it also provide 180 degrees phase shift. Hence to total phase shift around the loop is 360=0degrees, it is essential for sustained oscillations.
  • At the oscillation frequency each of the resistor capacitor filter produces a phase shift of 60° so the whole filter circuit produces a phase shift of 180°.
  • The energy storage capacity of capacitor in this circuit produces a noise voltage which is similar to a small sine wave, it is then amplified using op amp inverting amplifier.
  • By taking feedback, the output sine wave also attenuates 1/29 times while passing through the RC network, so the gain of inverting amplifier should be 29 in order to keep loop gain as unity.
  • The unity loop gain and 360 degree phase shift are essential for the sustained oscillation.
  • RC Oscillators are stable and provide a well shaped sine wave output with the frequency being proportional to 1/RC and therefore, a wider frequency range is possible when using a variable capacitor.
  • However, RC Oscillators are restricted to frequency applications because at high frequency the reactance offered by the capacitor is very low so it acts as a short circuit.

Why it uses 3 RC stages?

  • Number of RC stages help improve the frequency stability. The total phase shift introduced by the feedback network is 180 degrees, if we are using N RC stages each RC section provide 180/N degree phase shift.
  • When 2 RC sections are cascaded, the frequency stability is low. For 3 sections cascaded the phase change rate is high so there is improved frequency stability. However for 4 RC sections there is an good phase change rate resulting in the most stable oscillator configuration. But 4 RC sections increases cost and makes circuit complexity.
  • Hence phase shift oscillators make use of 3 RC sections in which each section provides a phase shift of 60 degree. The latter is generally used in high precision applications where cost is not much regarded and only accuracy plays a major role.


Frequency of oscillation (F):

Gain of the Op Amp inverting amplifier (G):

Attenuation offered by the feedback RC network is 1/29, so the gain of inverting amplifier should be 29
Use Ri=1.2 KΩ
So, Rf=35KΩ
Use 50KΩ potentiometer and adjust its value to obtain output on CRO

Components Pin out

i-St@r Lab

Simulated output using Multisim

29 thoughts on “RC Phase shift Oscillator using 741 op amp- Design and output waveform simulation

  1. hi i have a question

    the oscillator will not work like that we must applied signal on the enter of a.o.p to beggin oscillation after that we remove signal and oscillation will continu .

    is that correct?

    • Hi Nasreddine,
      We can not say like this, because a noise (or switching transients) will trigger the oscillator. It is a theoretical concept we can’t simulate or demonstrate practically.

  2. hi all,
    i’m requiring a suitable circuit for high frequency RF oscillator, if somone having idea about it , pls. post it.
    thnk u.

  3. Hi Jaseem,

    Thank you for this post! can you please attach the MULTISIM file (*.ms12) of the above?
    I tried to simulate this circuits myself, but it didnt work..


  4. Thank you very much, I simulated it in Proteus ISIS 7.10 and worked, but I used a LM324 and changed the pin 3 input from 0 to 5V DC. When the input DC voltage is variable, the amplitude (AC) of the sin wave is variable too; it means that you get a variable amplitude sin wave.

  5. Good day Sir Jaseem,

    Thanks a lot for this post. I tried this in MultiSIM but i can’t get the proper output like the one that you shown above.
    Can i ask for the multisim file for this one so that i may know what errors i have done..


    • While using op amp you no need to do the design for the transistor just biasing with Vcc & Vee is enough it reduce the design and complexity

  6. Dear,

    Using the given diagram (in this webpage) we have got a frequency of oscillation of 49.5Hz, which is quite strange. As per the circuit parameter the oscillation frequency will be 6.5kHz approx. Why the error has come? We have interchanged the IC by a new one, we have seen the output waveform in a CRO and DSO as well. But nothing has altered. We have received 49.5Hz.
    Can you tell me please why the error has come?
    West Bengal

    • how did u get the frequency of 50 Hz . can u explain to me.and which opamp you are using.if possible please send me the circuit diagram of your multisim simulatioan

    • It’s clearly mentioned in LIC by Ramkant Gaekwad book that RC phase shift oscillator using opamp can be used only upto 1 KHz. These are only simulation results. Me too tried many a time. But getting same result as yours.

  7. Hi sir i could not understand the term RC time constant can you provide me the explanation with any analogy

  8. Has this circuit been made in hardware or is it the result of only simulations? I’m an engineer of some years and have spent a couple days trying to get it to start with no success! I’ve set the feedback up to a gain of 60 and the circuit just sits there with the op amp output at zero volts. Perhaps someone could give me a suggestion or two. Thanks in advance!

  9. please sir, can you explain how does the RC network produce the sinusoidal wave while we apply the DC???

  10. as per the components used the theoretical frequency should be 649Hz which is approx 650Hz, but to get 6.5Khz of freq we need to use Resistor of 10K and Capacitor of 0.001u in the Phase shifting network..

    I think the calculation has something wrong with it.

    • you made R 10x as big and C 10x as small, if you look at the formula this dos not change F.
      10 000 * 0,001 = 1 000 * 0,01

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