Do you have a curious mind and want to know more about electronics? Are you interested in electronics but don’t know how to go about constructing your own circuits? If you have the time and patience, you can learn how electronic components work in just an afternoon. This guide will show how simple electronic circuits work, focusing on the most common parts like resistors and capacitors.
Electronics are all around us – can you think of a single device that doesn’t have an electronic circuit inside it? We use electronics every day to power our phones, play our music, and more. So let’s learn how they work!
Electronics circuits are the backbone of electronics. They provide a means to convert and transmit signals, and they can be present in everything from toasters to cell phones. As a result, they are helpful in various applications, from small devices such as digital clocks to large systems such as computer motherboards.
An electronic circuit is a closed loop that includes components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transistors. These components work together to control the flow of current in the circuit.
We will learn about the different components present in an electronic circuit and how they make the circuit function. We’ll also touch on some common uses for these simple electronic circuits in everyday life.
What is a Circuit?
“Circuit” is just an ordinary word that we use every day – in electronics; it refers to something very specific. In electronics, a circuit is a complete path for electricity to flow through. It can comprise various components, but it must contain at least one electron emitter and one electron collector (source and drain) to function properly. The electrons are the tiny negatively charged particles that make up the electricity.
What is an Electronic Circuit?
Electronic circuits usually entail several components. We can arrange the components in layers and different ways. A simple electronic circuit is where the electron emitter does not need a connection to a power source. Instead, the electrons flow through it without receiving any electricity from outside. An electronic circuit is simply a path for electrons to flow through.
Electrical conductors have materials that allow electricity to flow through them. For example, copper wire conducts electricity very well – we use it commonly in our homes, gadgets, and projects! Substances that don’t conduct electricity are known as insulators, and they don’t let charges flow through them. They include things like air or rubber – these substances have no charge carriers; therefore, we cannot use them to make an electrical circuit.
We measure the electrical conductivity in terms of resistance, the opposition that a material encounters when pushed or pulled through. When electrons travel through a conductor, they encounter little to no resistance. It means that they travel very quickly and easily. However, if you try to push them through something like air – they will be slowed down! This leads to the concept of resistivity. A substance that moves through a circuit quickly and easily has a high resistance, whereas something that doesn’t move very well has a low resistance.
Electrons are generally moved through circuits by way of electric fields. These are the invisible forces at work in our world. Like magnets, they cause molecules and atoms to move around.
The field that moves electrons inside a conductor is called an electric field. It is generated by the movement of charge carriers (also known as electrons) through the conductor – for example, when you plug a cable into an adapter or power supply.
The electrons that make up an electric field act as if they were tiny magnets. They act opposite to the force of the electric field, pushing or pulling the atoms around them to try and keep moving. This results in motion, like a motor that’s spinning – rotating and spinning until you turn it off.
The more charge carriers (electrons) present inside a circuit, the stronger the electric field becomes.
What Parts Do We Use to Build Circuits?
We use a few different types of parts to build electronics circuits! These include resistors, capacitors, inductors, and diodes. They are the most common parts we’ll use in this course. Let’s look at each one.
Resistors are the most common type of component in electronics. They usually comprise a metal (such as copper, aluminum, or even silver), and they act as a way of reducing the flow of electrons through the circuit.
We use resistors in our electronics projects, and we attribute their broad use to their low cost. For example, when you take a look at your phone, in addition to transmitting data and sound, it uses a lot of power! Sometimes we need to reduce the flow of this power – for example, when we plug a phone into an adapter. One can set a resistor across the precise voltage (usually 120 volts) going into the adapter to reduce the amount of power in supply. It helps us to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
Resistors come in a wide range of values and colors. You might remember from using other electronics kits that resistors have a color code placed on them. The color codes help you to easily tell the value of the resistor. For example, if you had an orange-red resistor, you could easily tell its value because it falls between orange (2.2k) and red (3.3k). This is the color code’s way of telling you that the resistor is orange-red (1.5k).
A capacitor is a glass, ceramic, or even plastic component that stores energy in the form of an electric field. It allows current to pass through it very easily. When a capacitor’s terminals are in a connection, the capacitor charges up! This means that there is a short circuit between the two terminals. Imagine storing electricity in a bottle that you could open whenever you need it. This is what capacitors do.
Capacitors are present in many devices, from radios and speakers to electric cars and TVs. Capacitors are energy buffers to absorb over-voltage surges (sudden large increases in current). They also improve the audio quality of your gadgets.
You can think about a capacitor as a kind of battery that you can charge up very easily – take a look at the diagram below for clarification!
Electrons inside a capacitor move very slowly and stay put. Unfortunately, you can’t get them to move and leave the capacitor, so it’s up to the current to flow through the capacitor.
A practical example
Imagine you have a box full of oranges. You can’t get the oranges to leave the box, and they won’t move while they are there. You can take them out of the box to eat them, but you have to do something first – you need to squeeze the box! We refer to the moving of a capacitor as charging. Capacitors charge up as current flows through them, and when a capacitor is fully charged, it has no electricity flowing through it – just like an unopened orange!
We make capacitors with two metal plates in between. This acts as a kind of electrical circuit, which helps to store charge. You’ll remember from other circuits that we can connect these crops in parallel – in which case you have more than one capacitor acting together.
A capacitor stores energy (in the form of an electric field) so that when you want to move current through it, you don’t need to do it all at once. Instead, you can make small amounts of current flow repeatedly.
Because a capacitor stores charge, we can use it to repeatedly make small amounts of current flow. This means that we can repeat our circuit over and over multiple times to repeat the same pattern.
Inductors are another component that helps create a kind of current. An inductor is an electrical component that stores energy. It’s like a big barrel full of copper wire. This is how an inductor stores energy over time – you can think of it as having lots of tiny barrels instead of just one big one. Like capacitors, we can use inductors to change electrical energy into something else over time.
An inductor is an electrical component with a magnetic field. When current flows through an inductor, it generates a magnetic field and causes electrons to move. The amount of current required to do this is called the inductance of the coil.
You can make an inductor from an electromagnet. This is a coil of wire with a current flowing through it – there is the creation of electric magnetism as a result of this flow.
In most electronic circuits, you’ll see that inductors have a higher value than resistors do (you can tell the values by looking at the color code). This is because an inductor can store a larger amount of energy than capacitors, which means they’re useful for storing and supplying charge over time. An inductor’s resistance to current changes depending on the voltage and the current going through it. We call this inductive reactance.
Imagine you have a bicycle wheel, but instead of having a tire on it, you have a magnet! Electrons will be forced around in a circle – this means that an alternating current (AC) will create an alternating magnetic field (AMF). That’s what an inductor does!
An inductor is when electrons are forced around in a circle. Think about it like a bicycle wheel with a magnet on its outside – this creates a magnetic field around it. If you were to put something through that wheel, you’d see that the wheel would take some energy from that object and use it to move.
Inductive reactance is an important part of electronics because we need inductors for things like motors! It’s also useful for improving audio quality in speakers.
You can use an inductor to store electrical charge over time. If a capacitor was to charge up, it would over-charge and burst – but an inductor doesn’t have this problem!
Most inductors are made from coils of wire. But some have more complicated structures – for example, coils with multiple layers. This can be useful if you need to design a very specific type of inductor.
A coiled inductor can be useful for filtering fast signals like those you find in analogue signal processing. It can also serve as a kind of microphone or loudspeaker.
An inductor stores electrical energy. This means that if you want to make an inductor, you need to get energy in the first place!
Resistors and Capacitors and Inductors? Oh my!
It’s full of useful electrical components! We’re sure that you’ve noticed these kinds of things in your everyday gadgets – but how do they all fit together? And why do they work?
Capacitors and Inductors are both components that provide electrical regulation – like resistors. But what is it that the other components do? How can they all fit together in such a complicated way?
An LED is a kind of diode. It’s a semi-conductor found in LEDs and solar cells, among other devices.
A diode is a solid-state device with just two different types of terminals. The most common type of diode is the voltage-regulating diode. In these diodes, the anode (-) and cathode (+) terminals useful for controlling the direction of current flow (you’ll find more detail about current later). This type of diode regulates the power going through a circuit.
When current flows through a diode, it creates an electromotive force (EMF). This means that electrons move very quickly in one direction. This is why a diode looks like it’s got ‘wings.’ The faster that electrons flow through a diode, the more easily they can move. It’s the difference between going fast or going slow.
When current flows through a diode, it creates an electromotive force. This is why diodes look like they have wings! The faster electrons flow through a diode, the more easily they move. It’s the difference between going fast or going slow. Also, as current passes from one side to another, it creates a magnetic field, which causes electrons to move.
When current flows through a diode, it creates an electromotive force. This means that electrons move very quickly in one direction. What causes those electrons to move is the effect of the magnetism of the wire. This means that diodes can help to control the direction of current flow.
Types of Electronic Circuit
You know that the Earth is a big magnet – and you know that electrons are magnetic. But what does this have to do with electronics? All of our electronic components have magnets. How do these work?
Let’s think about a circuit for a moment. The purpose of a circuit is to take energy and change it into other forms of energy or store the energy flowing through the circuit. So how do we control this energy?
All simple electronic circuits contain a power source. This is usually a battery – but you may also find it in your computer or some types of small power supply. For electricity to flow through your circuit, you need two things: voltage and current.
Voltage is like pressure. It’s the force that causes current to flow through a circuit. The more voltage you have, the more likely it is that the current will flow through your circuit. For voltage to work properly, there has to be some resistance in a circuit – otherwise, the current would flow so quickly that the device simply wouldn’t work. We measure Voltage in volts (V) and electron volts (eV). Therefore, voltage should be under control.
We’ve talked about current in electronic circuits before. It’s the flow of electrons that causes energy to move around a circuit – this is what keeps your computer going! What gives it the ability to do this is the resistance of the components in your circuit. Usually, you’ll find resistors in a circuit. We measure current in amperes (A) and milliamperes (mA). It is possible to control Current.
Resistance is the amount of voltage that a component can handle. You’ll hear people say things like: ‘that battery has a high resistance.’ This means that the energy from the battery won’t last as long, but it won’t blow up. We measure Resistance in ohms (Ω) and kilohms (kΩ). A resistor helps to control current flow.
Electromotive Force (EMF)
This is the power that causes the current to flow. We measure EMF in volts (V). The faster electrons move through a diode, the more easily they can flow. Electromotive Force is what causes electron flow in a circuit.
Type 1: Closed Circuit
In a closed circuit, electrons flow around the closed-loop.
A closed-circuit has two terminals, and there is always a complete path for current to flow around the entire circuit. In addition, you will see that all of the components in this type of circuit have a series connection – this means that we connect each component to its neighbor with no gaps in between.
Type 2: Open Circuit
An open circuit has one terminal, and you can’t predict how the current will flow around it. There is a break in the wire loop – the circuit is not complete. If you see an open circuit symbol, it means that there’s no connection between the two terminals. This kind of circuit isn’t wired up, so the current cannot run through it.
Type 3: Series Circuit
A series circuit has only one current path; each component feeds into the next in line.
In a series circuit, there is interconnection of all the components. Current always follows the same path around all the components (connected in series) – you’ll see this if you look very closely at a circuit diagram. The electrons go from one end to another and back again, creating a loop.
If you look very closely at a circuit diagram, you can see how all the components are in series. The electrThis is because the go from one end to another and back again, creating a loop. Current will have to flow through each component in this loop before making it back to the start – or starting another loop.
Type 4: Parallel Circuit
A parallel circuit has multiple paths for the current to follow; each component is connected directly to its neighbor.
A parallel circuit is one with multiple paths for the current to follow. This means that current doesn’t always have to go from one component to its neighbor – it can go from one component to another, and then backward again, then back again.
Parallel circuits look a bit like a ball of string. It’s easier for electrons to flow through the string because electrons can jump across components without needing to follow a path around them all.
Type 5: Short Circuit
When you look at a parallel circuit diagram, this is what it looks like when there’s a short in one of the wires. A short circuit is an accidental connection between two components that should not be connected. This is a very dangerous arrangement because even the small amount of current flowing through the short circuit can be enough to cause damage to the component it’s connected to – or even an explosion!
Electronic boards are the heart of any electronic device. The components in an electronic board are connected together to allow circuits to be created and powered. Many components (capacitors, resistors, diodes, and transistors) have their own specific purpose in creating or powering a circuit.
We connect each part in a predetermined way – we place and link all the components according to the correct schematic diagram.
Electronic boards are pieces of hardware that hold all the components necessary to create and power a circuit. You can make them from different layers, each one adding different properties to the board.
When we mention electronic boards, then we get the idea of PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The parts are all connected together using long, thin tracks of copper. In this case, these tracks are what we call a circuit board – printed circuit boards. First, one has to insert the components into the board in the correct way. The holes that the components fit into are like a puzzle – if you put them in the wrong way round or upside down, they don’t fit and won’t hold. We usually make PCBs from a number of layers.
Once can consider electronic boards as ‘hardware’ because they have electronic components, like resistors and capacitors, that can store and create electrical energy. We also call them ‘circuit boards’ because all the components will connect to each other using copper tracks that carry electricity between them.
To sum it all up, you’ve just learned about the basics of electronics: what they are and how they work. Electronics include a wide range of products that have different applications and uses in technology. Many of the electronics you use on a daily basis are hidden from sight and perform complex functions – from regulating the temperature of your home to making sure your car starts, to providing you with entertainment!
However, when it comes down to it, the major component in all electronic systems are electrons. This is because electrons flow inside of wires and interact with electromagnetic waves. This is the basic idea behind electronics.
Electronics have come a long way over the years – from the early experiments of scientists such as Thomas Edison to today’s microprocessors, computers, cell phones, and much more! And now, Rayming PCB & Assembly is here to offer the best when it comes to PCB manufacturing.