Electronic components explained


Definition:  A resistor is a passive two-terminal electrical component that implements electrical resistance as a circuit element. In electronic circuits, resistors are used to reduce current flow, adjust signal levels, divide voltages, bias active elements, and terminate transmission lines, among other uses. 

Some types: Shunt, Wire-wound, thick and thin film, Fixed, Variable (Potentiometer), Varistor, Thermistor, Carbon Film, Cement, Metal-Oxide, Cermet, and Fusible

A few applications: Heaters, radios, toasters, TVs, and Cellphones


Definition: An inductor, also called a coil, choke, or reactor, is a passive  two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through it. An inductor typically consists of an insulated wire wound into a coil around a core.

Some types: Air Core, Iron Core, Ferrite Core, Iron Powder, Laminated Core, Bobbin Based, Toroidal, Multi-layer Ceramic, Film, Variable, Coupled, and Molded

A few application: Filters, Sensors, Transformers, Motors, and Energy storage

Bi-Metal Temperature Discs

Definition: Snap Disc, or Snap switch thermostats are bimetal mechanical thermostats that function via the thermal expansion and contraction of a bimetal disc that "Snaps" from a convex to a concave shape at a set temperature 

A few applications: Electrical devices, Thermometers, Thermostats, Clocks, Ovens, Florescent light starters, and Circuit Breakers

Heat Sinks

Definition: A device or substance for absorbing excessive or unwanted heat.

Some types: Extruded, Bonded, Skived, Stamped, Forged, CNC Machine

A few applications: Electrical appliances, Fridges, Cars (Radiator), TVs, Radios, and computers (pretty much anything that makes unwanted heat)


Definition: A capacitor is a passive two-terminal electronic component that  stores electrical energy in an electric field. The effect of a capacitor  is known as capacitance 

Some types: Ceramic, Surface mount, Electronic, Polar, Audio, Tantalum, Paper, and Electrolytic

A few applications: TV's, Computers, Radios, and Power supplies


Definition: A diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts  current primarily in one direction; it has low resistance in one  direction, and high resistance in the other. A thermionic tube has two electrodes (an anode and a cathode). 

Some types: Zener, Rectifier, Mosfets, Gunn, LED, Pin, Step Recovery, Laser, Photo, Tunnel, Varacter, and Schottky

A few applications: Computers, TVs, Radios, and Phones

Integrated Circuits (ICs)

Definition:  An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of  electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material  that is normally silicon. 

Some types: Digital, Analog, Mixed, Logic, Comparators, Switching, Audio Amplifiers, Operational Amplifiers

A few applications: Anything that processes information (TVs, Computers, Etc.)

7 Segment LEDs

Definition: A seven-segment display, or seven-segment indicator, is a form of electronic display device for displaying decimal numerals that is an alternative to the more complex dot matrix displays.

Some types: Common Cathode Display and Common Anode Display

A few applications: Numerical Displays (Alarm Clocks, Timers, and Calculators)


Definition:  An electronic oscillator is an electronic circuit that produces a  periodic, oscillating electronic signal, often a sine wave or a square wave. Oscillators convert direct current from a power supply to an  alternating current signal. 

Some types: Armstrong, Crystal, Hartley, RC Phase Shift, and Colpitts

A few application: TV, Radio, Audio and Visual systems, and other communication devices


Definition:  A Voltage Regulator is a system designed to automatically  maintain a constant voltage level. A voltage regulator may use a simple  feed-forward design or may include  negative feedback 

Some types: Linear and Switching

A few applications: Power supplies, appliances, automobiles, computers, and TVs


Definition: A rectifier is an electrical device that converts alternating  current, which periodically reverses direction, to direct current, which flows in only one direction. The process is known as rectification, since it "straightens" the direction of current. 

Some types: Uncontrolled, Half-controlled, and Full-controlled

A few applications: TVs, computers, adapters, and cars


Definition:  A semiconductor device with three connections, capable of amplification in addition to rectification, and able to switch electronic signals and electrical power

Some types: NPN and PNP

A few applications: Cellphones TVs, Calculators, Computers, Radios

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