Electronic Passive Components

Written by Michael O'Brien
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Electronic passive components are necessary in almost all electronic devices. Unlike active electronic components that require power to function, electronic passive components restrict and regulate power flow. Let's take a look at some specific examples of such passive components, and how they function.

Two Important Electronic Passive Components

Two examples of electronic passive components are capacitors and resistors. As the name implies, resistors are designed to resist the flow of electrical current. A resistor is kind of like a dam. A dam resists the flow of a river and only lets out a small portion of the water flowing against it. A resistor acts as a kind of electrical dam, protecting delicate components from being overloaded by too much electricity. Resistors look like a tiny, striped, glass blown vase between two wires.

Capacitors are designed to store a little bit of electricity, and release it at a later moment. Again, like with resistors, the idea is to regulate power flow. Some components may not need a constant, steady stream of power. Capacitors are designed to release the energy stored within them only when it is needed, or at regular intervals. Capacitors are relatively simple components. They are made of two electrodes with a non-conductive layer of material in between them.

Passive electronic components are becoming more widely used in smaller, hand held devices and laptop computers which require more delicate components. Such devices also need less power in order to operate. Even as active electronic components that do require power to function are becoming more compact with increasing advances in micro technology, so will passive components become more common in regulating the flow of that power.


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