Electronic Components And Parts

Written by Michael O'Brien
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Ever looked inside of a computer, radio, or television set and seen all the electronic components inside? For most people, it's all a mystery. The electronic components in a computer can often appear to be a jumble of circuits that seemingly have no purpose. Understanding the basics of how it all works isn't difficult if you start from the beginning and work your way up gradually.

Electronic Components: Starting with Power

To understand how electronic components work, we must first begin with what every mechanical device needs in order to function: power. Electricity is generated through a metal armature which rotates rapidly within an array of magnets. These magnets produce a magnetic field that allows the spinning armature to convert kinetic energy into electricity. Essentially, an electrical generator is a very powerful static electricity producer. The same basic principal that allows you to get a static shock from touching something made of metal is what allows a generator to create electricity using powerful magnets and a rapidly spinning metal component.

The other chief source of power for many electronic components is contained within batteries. Basically, a battery is a container filled with specific chemicals called electrolytes. With the use of conductive metallic strips called electrodes, these chemicals are converted into electricity.

Useful Conversion

Now that we have our power, certain electronic components are needed to take that electricity and do something with it. You may have heard of items like diodes, cathodes, capacitors, power coils, conductors, and so on. For now, the most basic thing to know about these electronic components is that they all regulate power flow.

Some electronic components, like a capacitor, are designed to store power. Other devices, like an amplifier, are designed to increase power. Still other components, like a diode, allow electricity to flow in one direction. By configuring these components in a certain way, they can be designed to carry out very specific functions.

A circuit is essentially a collection of all these various components. A lot of components arranged in a specific way can allow things like computers, radios, and television sets to perform their designated functions. It's all about power flow. Send the power to a circuit that is designed to make something like the TV set come on, and that is what it will do when it receives enough electrical current. Another series of circuits can then be responsible for converting signals into pixels, and so on.

Simple Complexity

When you look inside a computer or take apart a radio, that big green board with all those little silver things and cylindrical objects soldered to it is one big series of circuits. If you've ever seen one or feel like taking the time to look one up, viewing a signal flow diagram will help you understand what you are looking at better. Such charts are designed to simplify things.

Signal flow charts are what engineers use to understand how the circuits of an electronic device work. All of those little symbols illustrate power signal flow. Each of the functions performed in the signal flow chart are achieved through a specific electronic component that is designed to regulate power in a specialized way. Although when it's all put together a circuit board can be quite complex, the basic principle behind how it works is actually quite simple.


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My views about the post.

Hi Michael,
It is an excellent article you have written about electrical components. I agree with you that nobody understands other than engineers that what lies inside a machine which make it work. It is electronic components which looks simple yet the work done by them is outstanding.

Thanks for such an informational post anyways.
Aaron