The dependency of people these days on electronic devices has made them an integral part of our lives, we cannot function without most of the gadgets we have, and these are backed with an electronic circuit.
Some devices have smaller circuits, and some have substantial electronic circuits, but every such circuit has some basic electronic components that are very important to allow it to function.
There are different categories into which these electronic components are being divided. Still, the basic electronic components comprise resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits, transistors, diodes, semiconductors, and many more.
Each kind of electronic component has its function and applications, and even if one is missing, the working of the circuit might be hindered. Some of these components control the current flow, some stabilize the voltage drop, and some transmit the electrical signals.
The article below discusses every kind of electronic component used in electrical circuits, how they work, and their applications. If you are interested in understanding the different electronic components used in modules, you must go through the article below, so let’s read through it.
Passive Electronic Components
Passive electrical components comprise elements that absorb electrical energy and are also responsible for dissipating this energy either in the form of heat or storing it in the form of a magnetic field. A passive component is present in the circuit to convert the electrical energy into other forms.
Hence, passive components do not support the current flow or the circuit’s power supply task. There are many types of passive components, like resistors, capacitors, transformers, and inductors.
Types of passive electronic components
There are various electronic components that fall under the category of passive components; however, the most common ones are discussed below:
The function of a resistor is to control the current flow by resisting it, comprised of two terminals connected from both sides while building electronic circuits.
It is one of the simplest electronic components in all electronic circuits and is color-coded.
It is made of carbon film featured in a spiral layout and doesn’t bind the current to flow in only one direction. It has terminals on two sides, which allows the current flow in any of the two directions in a circuit.
As far as the working of a resistor is concerned, its main task is to control the flow of current in the circuit. At the same time, the voltage too. Hence, it is not wrong to say that the role of resistors is to allow you to control circuit design.
When the current starts to flow through the wire, the electrons in the circuit move in the direction of the current. When this current passes through the resistors, the thin wire inside it makes it difficult for the electrons to pass through it; hence electrical resistance takes place.
There are many applications of a resistor that divide the voltage and control the electric current. Some devices, like LEDs, are incapable of handling a high amount of current; hence, resistors control the flow. Similarly, microcontrollers need less voltage, and a resistor works as a voltage divider.
Apart from this, resistors are used in multiple industrial appliances, suppressing current in radio frequency applications and switchgear, electric motor etc. There are many resistors, like light-dependent resistor, carbon film resistors, metal-bound resistor, and much more resisting electric current in different circuits.
Another passive component used in an electronic system comprises two terminals and is known to store energy. A capacitor can, however, be known as a battery that stores electrical energy and can charge or discharge in no time.
Capacitors are of different sizes and shapes and comprise two plates which are electrical conductors separated using an insulator dielectric in between.
The capacitor works so that an electrical field is created across the insulator when voltage is applied to the two plates within it. One plate accumulates the positive voltage whereas the other negative charge, and even if the electrical source is disconnected, the charge is held by the capacitor.
The capability of a capacitor to hold the charge depends on its capacitance; the higher the capacitance, the more charge it will hold, and vice versa.
The capacitor carries out the task of storing electrical power and hence is used to correct the ac power factor and is used in association with a resistor or inductor to cater to the diming element in the electrical circuit.
They are also used in electric power transmission systems to stabilize voltage and power flow. One of the most significant functions of a capacitor in AC systems is power factor correction, which is necessary to provide a sufficient amount of starting torque to single-phase motors.
An inductor contains two terminals, anode and cathode terminals, and is an electronic component that stores energy, creating a magnetic field; this energy is returned to the circuit when needed.
An inductor is a very simple component with just a copper wire; the more turns there are, the more inductance an inductor will possess.
When the current passes through the wire, a magnetic field is created, and it resists the AC supply allowing dc power to flow.
An example of a simple circuit could be considered with a switch, battery, and bulb connected in a circuit. When the switch is turned on, the bulb glows brightly; as soon as the inductor is added to the circuit, it will dim the bulb, and if you turn off the switch, the bulb will again light very brightly for a few seconds before it turns off.
As soon as the switch has been turned on, a magnetic field is created that blocks the current flow for a while, allowing the dc power supply to pass through it to complete the magnetic field. Hence, the inductor during his time store energy in the form of this magnetic field, and when the switch is turned off, this magnetic field keeps the bulb turned bright by allowing the current to be steady in the coil.
Inductors are now, to a certain extent, replaced by resistors and capacitors because of their bulky size but still are used in various circuits like televisions, radios, computers, and in electrical devices where AC power supplies have to be converted into DC power supplies
Advantages and disadvantages of using passive electronic components
All passive components are an essential part of the input circuit as well as the output circuit, but they do have their pros and cons too, some of these are discussed below:
Advantages of Passive Components
- The passive components are easy to design.
- They are less expensive as compared to other components used in the circuits.
- They don’t need any bench power supply and are relatively stable when designing electronic circuits.
Disadvantages of Passive Components
- Not suitable for applications with lower forward voltage drop.
- They have a bulky layout and are heavier to be adjusted in many circuits.
Active Electronic Components
Active components form to be a part of a circuit to help modify or control the signal amplification; they do this by relying on external power supplies. These components make use of electricity to exercise control of the electricity.
Many types of active components are used widely in multiple circuits, and come of these are transistors, integrated circuits, and diodes, and they are discussed below:
Types of active electronic components
The commonly used active components in different electrical applications are as follows:
Diode is an active component that lets the current flow in only one direction and usually is used to convert the AC signals into DC signals. There are two kinds of materials that are used in this device one of them is made using a semiconductor material and the other vacuum tube. The most common type of diode is a light-emitting diode, commonly made using silicon material.
The working of the diode depends upon the kind of diode used; it could be either a vacuum diode or the PN junction diode.
In the case of the vacuum diode, the cathode ray tube is heated, and this causes a vacuum to create a cloud of electrons. Cathode leads to emitting these electrons, and due to being repelled by the negative charges in the space, they cannot reach the anode; hence any current flows in the circuit. When the positive charge is added to the anode, the cloud of electrons vanishes, letting the current pass through.
On the other hand, the PN junction diode comprises silicon-based semiconductors for the p-type that is boron-doped and has positive charges. Whereas the n-type semiconductor is antimony doped that adds negative charges, the current flows through both the semiconductors.
There are multiple diodes applications in different electronic components like voltage multipliers, logic gates, fly-back circuits, and protection circuits.
Electrical connections are impossible in a circuit with transistors as they are one of the most important electronic components. These components can be used either as switching devices or as amplifiers.
The most common transistors are either NPN or PNP, also known as bipolar junction transistor. In the case of an NPN transistor, when the positive voltage is applied on the base, the electrons flow from the emitter to the collector.
On the other hand, in the case of a PNP transistor, the positive voltage is applied to the base that, causes the current to move away from the base so that the transistor may be turned on.
There are many applications of these bipolar junction transistors, and these could be used in microphones, hearing aids, touch sensors, audio amplifiers, and many more things.
- Integrated Circuits (ICs)
Integrated circuits prove to be essential active components that are present in almost all kinds of appliances we use regularly. They are placed on the printed circuit boards of the appliances and comprise millions of transistors, resistors, and capacitors within them.
The integrated circuits placed on the printed circuit board work like a microprocessor or an amplifier and can perform calculations or store data in its memory. It uses either digital or analog technology; they work with multiple signal generators using logic gates.
In the case of a low signal generator, a value of zero is given; in the case of a high signal generator, the value of one is given in the digital ICs. They are used widely in computers, electronic appliances, and external components used for networking.
Advantages and disadvantages of using active electronic components
The active electronic components comprise some advantages as well as disadvantages, and these are discussed below:
Advantages of Active Components
- Offers isolated control of input and output circuits.
- comprises of very compact size and lesser weight
- Doesn’t have any loading problems.
- Suitable for voltage stabilization
Disadvantages of Active Components
- These are only capable of handling a small amount of power.
- Comprises of a very complex structure
- They are expensive
As the name suggests, electromechanical components create mechanical changes with the electrical signal. In such components, the electronic signals allow physical movement to achieve a circuit’s purpose.
Types of electromechanical components
There are many kinds of electromechanical components, and some of them are discussed below:
A relay switch is a component that opens or closes the circuits electromechanically by allowing some current to pass. In a control circuit, the relay is used to regulate the low current; also, it can be used to regulate the high currents and is widely used in a circuit breaker.
The relays work in two ways either normally closed or normally opened relays. When it is a normally closed relay, the contacts are closed when no electrical signal is passing through it; in the case of the normally open relay, the contacts remain open even when no power supply is present.
The main application of the relay is to open or close the circuit and hence is used widely in coupling device for rotation purposes, motor control, traffic control, and industrial controlling systems.
The purpose of a switch is to either allow or stop the current from flowing into the circuit; it is one of the essential parts of every circuit. The switch responds to the external force and then mechanically changes the electrical signal.
They are turned on and off to either make or break the circuit. There are multiple applications for these switches as well; for instance, they are used in domestic applications, industrial applications, automobiles, aerospace, and much more.
The purpose of a connector is to create a joint between two wires, and many kinds of connectors have a particular function to carry out in a circuit. The different types of connectors comprise cable-to-wire connectors, wire-to-cable connectors, board-to-board connectors, board-to-wire connectors, etc.
The connectors have male ends and female ends; the male ends may comprise plugs and pins, whereas the female ends may comprise sockets. They help to join the electrical path so that the electrical signal may flow in the circuit to power any device or transmit signals.
Electronic connectors are used in military devices, communications, transportation, data-com, industrial automation, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages of using electromechanical components
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using an electromechanical component have been provided below:
Advantages of Electromechanical Components
- Suitable for creating contact between alternating voltage as well as direct voltage.
- Such components need no heat sink.
- These are constructed in a very simple way.
- They act very quickly.
Disadvantages of Electromechanical Components
- There is a limitation on the speed of operation due to moving components.
- Only one function can be performed at a time.
- These components wear out quickly due to the dust, and surrounding environment hence needs check and maintenance.
A semiconductor is a substance used as an essential element in computing and electronic devices because of its specific electrical properties.
Semiconductors are such materials that are in between conductors and insulators, providing some conductivity. The semiconductor device manages the current flow of equipment and devices used.
In the case of a semiconductor, the conductivity ranges around metals, and the insulation ranges around ceramics.
Types of semiconductors
There are many kinds of semiconductor devices; among them, the two most common ones are discussed below, along with their working principle and applications.
Silicon has such a nature atomic structure that it is a very effective semiconductor device with the properties of a conductor and insulator. It can conduct as well as block the flow of current. Hence, silicon proves to have a very impressive switching mechanism.
The application of silicon semiconductor devices comprises an integrated circuit, transistors, printed circuit board, etc.
Germanium is a kind of semiconductor material that is used for detection purposes in multiple applications. When the ionization or chemical energy enters the germanium semiconductor device, the photon that passes through the detector tends to ionize the atoms inside the semiconductor, causing the production of electron pair holes.
Germanium semiconductors produce transistors, weapons with sighting systems, rectifiers, and other detective equipment.
Advantages and disadvantages of using semiconductors
The advantages and disadvantages of semiconductors are provided below:
Advantages of Semiconductors
- Semiconductors are light in weight and smaller hence easily fitting in the devices.
- Semiconductors are low in price and, therefore, affordable.
- They are long-lasting to be used.
Disadvantages of Semiconductors
- Compared to vacuum tubes, semiconductors are not capable of handling power.
- Semiconductors are very sensitive to temperatures and radiation.
Circuit Board Design
The circuit board consists of electrical circuits combined in a physical form. It consists of a PCB design process, and every component is placed on the board with defined electrical connectivity.
PCBs are used in many electronic devices, from computing to domestic appliances and even industrial machines.
Types of circuit board design
The single-sided circuit board is the most common type, with one layer of copper, a conductive material, placed above the layer of the substrate. The components on the board are soldered on one side, and the other consists of an etched circuit. The conductive paths on the circuit board cannot overlap, so a lot of space is needed.
The single-sided PCBs are used in basic electronic equipment like calculators, light-emitting diodes, FM radios, etc.
In a double-sided PCB, a layer of conducting material is added on the board’s top and bottom, and the holes in the circuit board allow the connection of metal parts to be carried from one side to another.
Different technologies are used to mount the circuits on either side of the board, and this could be a through-hole technology in which holes are used to install the components. The other technology used is surface mount technology, in which the electronic components are placed on the surface of the PCBs.
The double-sided circuit boards are used in multiple applications, including mobile phones, amplifiers, UPS, HVAC, and many more.
In a multilayered PCB, three are more than two layers of copper, and it looks like a sandwich in which the conductive layers on both sides have a similar number of insulating sheets. These sheets are bonded together in such a way that no air remains in between the gaps.
Multilayered PCBs are widely used in laptops, computers, medical equipment, mobile phones, and many other devices.
Advantages and disadvantages of each type of circuit board design
The different kinds of PCBs have different advantages and disadvantages, some of which are discussed below:
- Easy to design and repair
- Simple manufacturing
- Suitable for low-density equipment
- Lack of space for components
- Offer low operating capacity and speed
- Not suitable for complex projects
Double-Sided Circuit Boards
- Offers more flexibility
- Low-cost board
- Better circuit density
- Can be used with advanced electronic devices
- Not suitable when heavy current is being passed
- A little challenging to manufacture
- A risky process of soldering is used that could cause overheating on the board.
Multilayered Circuit Boards
- Offers a high level of flexibility
- Can be used with high-speed circuits
- Very compact size
- Very expensive to manufacture
- Contains a complex structure
- Takes time to manufacture
Factors to consider when designing a circuit board
When creating a circuit board, many aspects need to be considered because these boards are used in several applications where their perfection greatly matters. Some of the factors that must be taken into account are as follows:
- The first thing that must be considered when designing a circuit board is the material used in the manufacturing; PCBs are very sensitive and hence must be carefully manufactured. The ideal base material is FR-4, which is affordable and fire-resistant.
- The second aspect to consider is the number of layers needed; depending on the nature of project and the device for which the circuit board will be used, the layers must carefully be decided. The more layers are added, the more expensive and complex the circuit will be; hence, it is important to assess this beforehand.
- There are different types of Vias used in the circuit board, and the board’s layers are considered for this selection. The number of Vias and the kind of Vias, whether blind, buried, or micro, must be chosen and considered with the number of layers.
- The parts added to the circuit board must also be checked; they should be easily available and fulfill the purpose of existence.
- The last and most important part is analyzing the signal’s integrity and power; the rise and fall time of the signals, track lengths, and drive strength must be considered.
Sourcing Electronic Components
Electronic components need to be facilitated to be put to purpose, and circuits need to be backed with the right components; hence sourcing such components is equally important.
The entire process of sourcing includes manufacturing and fabricating the components and then moving them to the place where they will be appropriately utilized to perfection.
Types of electronic component sourcing
There are many kinds of sourcing options available for the electronic components, and some of these are discussed below:
- Local suppliers
Locally available suppliers in your country would provide you with the electronic components you need but they are neither the manufacturers of these components nor the distributors. However, they can provide you with the component that is short in the market, or you need it quicker.
However, on the other hand, there are some limitations to buying from local suppliers, for instance, the chance of having defective pieces, lack of traceability, and no after-sales support.
- Online suppliers
Multiple online suppliers also tend to provide components used in electronic circuits. They have a collection of all the essential electronic components on their websites for you.
They might be from another country, but they have a process to deliver the components to you. When choosing such online suppliers, you might have access to aurous products unavailable in your country, and you can even assess the supplier based on their online presence.
However, this kind of sourcing might have higher lead times because of the shipping process, and in case of a defective product, the hassle of return and exchange could be a nuisance.
Distributors act as an intermediary between the buyers and the manufacturers. Businesses authorize them and tend to store the stock in their warehouses. When a company or individual needs to buy any component, they can ask the distributor. Distributors have multiple brands stocked with them for the components.
It is easier to deal with the distributors, and they provide after-sales service to their clients; also, even if you need to have the bulk quantity, you can buy it and later on return it; it is not required.
Factors to consider when sourcing electronic components
All electronic devices comprise the basic electronic components. Hence, it is imperative to ensure that these components are suitable for use, and so certain factors must be considered when sourcing electronic components, some of which are discussed below:
- The most important aspects that need attention when sourcing the components are quality, variety, and quantity. The supplier must be capable of providing the finest quality product in the desired quantity and also must have the entire range of electronic components so that you do not have to rush here and there for every single component.
- The supplier must have a very user-friendly web portal where all the components are listed along with their details to make it easier for the buyer to compare and decide the component needed and the quantity required.
- The supplier must also have technical knowledge about the components and is ready to share any data sheets or other information you might need.
- The right supplier will always devise a strategy so that they can bring you improved components now and then and look forward to meeting your demands and expectations.
Future advancements in electronic components and their impact on electrical and electronic circuits
The world is moving very fast towards technological innovations. It all started in the 1950s with a couple of computers; now, we have billions of smartphones worldwide.
One after the other innovations is taking up the world from IoT to wearable devices, and the way artificial intelligence is progressing is commendable. The smaller-sized chips are developed now and then and are used in multiple devices.
The main aim of the entire electronic industry is to shrink the size of the components by making them as compact as possible and adding the capability to consume less power. Hence, energy-efficient and intelligent semiconductors, transistors, and integrated circuits are now floated in the market to make the circuits efficient too.
This guide would have informed you of various electronic components, their working mechanism, applications, and pros and cons. These components are essential to every circuit and play a significant role.
Therefore, if you have something to share about these components, leave your comment in the box below.