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A crash course on electronic components

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Something completely different

If you are learning how to build electronic circuits, you will no doubt encounter many different kinds of electronic components. Among this are resistors, diodes, capacitors, integrated circuits, and transistors. Here, we’ll discuss some of the basics of electronic components and give you a brief overview of the function of each one.

Resistors

One of the most basic types of electronic circuit components, these tiny components resist the flow of current, as the name suggests. Each type of resistor has its own resistance value, a measure of how effectively they resist current, measured in ohms. Each resistor also has a power rating, an indicator of how much power the resistor can handle.

Capacitors

Basically, a capacitor is a device whose purpose is to temporarily store an electric charge. Although there are many different types of capacitors, (many are available on websites such as https://www.icrfq.com) two of the most commonly used types are ceramic disk and electrolytic capacitors.

Diodes

Another type of electronic component is the diode. Diodes are comprised of two terminals, known as the anode and the cathode. Current travels through the diode when positive voltage is applied to the anode and negative voltage is applied to the cathode. Only in this configuration will current flow. If the voltages are switched, current will not flow.

One common type of diode is the light-emitting diode, known more commonly as LED. As one might expect, a light-emitting diode is one that emits light when a current passes through it.

Transistors

If you’re of a certain age, the first thing you think of when you hear the word “transistor” is probably a transistor radio. However, in our modern world transistors are present in a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. Transistors are devices with three terminals. When voltage is applied to one of the terminals (known as the base) current flow is controlled across the remaining two terminals (the emitter and the collector). Whereas a traditional, mechanical-style switch enables (or disables) the flow of electricity through the physical connecting or disconnecting the two ends of a piece of wire, a transistor works by way of a signal telling the device to either conduct or control (insulate) which enables or disables the flow of electricity. transistors are instrumental in the functioning of many common devices.

Integrated circuits

Integrated circuits are a little different. They aren’t just one type of electronic component. They are an entire circuit, made up of a collection of components, including diodes and transistors (among others). All of these elements are etched onto a small piece of silicon. Integrated circuits are found in many different types of common consumer products, including the computers and cellphones we use every day.

Of course, this is a very basic overview of the fundamentals of electronic components. There is much more to learn. However, this is a good starting point on the journey toward learning about some of the most common electronic components and what they do.




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