Oscillators are important in many different types of electronic equipment. For example, a quartz watch uses a quartz oscillator to keep track of what time it is. An AM radio transmitter uses an oscillator to create the carrier wave for the station, and an AM radio receiver uses a special form of oscillator called a resonator to tune in a station. There are oscillators in computers, metal detectors and even stun guns.

To understand how electronic oscillators work, it is helpful to look at examples from the physical world. In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you'll learn the basic idea behind oscillators and how they're used in electronics.