5 Basic Electronic Components and Their Symbols and How You Can Use Them

A circuit board is deemed to be incomplete without electronic components. In fact, all electrical devices, appliances and equipment owe their efficiency to these electronic components. And even though each component has its unique functions, none of them can work without the assistance of the other components. This means that, if the capacitor has been damaged by excess voltage, the entire circuit will not function until the capacitor has been replaced.

As a matter of fact, most of the latest technologies that we enjoy today would not have been realized without the use of these electronic components. Below is a list of the most common electronic components and their uses in electronic gadgets.

1. Transformers

Just like its name suggests, a transformer is basically an electronic component that converts one form of energy to another. Transformers are used in radios, TVs, amplifiers, computers, DVD players and mobile phone chargers among many other gadgets and devices. A transformer receives power input in AC (alternating current) and then changes it into DC (Direct Current) before it deploys it to various components in a circuit board.

For instance, a radio can’t work without a transformer because its motherboard components can’t use power that’s in AC directly. Most gadgets refuse to turn on when the transformer is dead. There are actually two types of transformers; step up and step down. Step down transformers are used by the national electricity companies to reduce the voltage of power before it’s distributed to various homes. Step up transformers are used in welding.

2. Resistor

A resistor is a component that’s designed to regulate the flow of voltage in a circuit. Their capacity is measured in ohms. Other than being used to limit the flow of current, they can also be used in splitting voltage. There are three categories of resistors; variable, semi variable and fixed resistors. Variable resistors can be configured from scratch while fixed resistors can’t be adjusted at all. Semi variable resistors can be configured using a screwdriver. Resistors are used in amplifiers, radios and TVs among many others to help in reducing and increasing volume.

3. Capacitors

Capacitors look like small cylinders. They are actually used to store voltage in circuits. The amount of voltage that can be stored by a capacitor is measured in microfarads. They are sealed by metallic plates on both ends. Besides that, they have positive and negative terminals. You can discharge a capacitor by shorting the two terminals. A capacitor has to be replaced when it starts leaking or is swollen. Capacitors are used in amplifiers and other electronics to reduce noise.

4. Diodes

Diodes are used in electronic circuits to force current to flow in one direction only. Diodes are actually installed in most connectors to prevent short circuits. When a diode is in place, the circuit will only function when power has been connected appropriately. This means that voltage can’t flow back to where it came from after passing through a diode. Light emitting diodes are used to produce light in circuit boards. Their typical application is in traffic lights.

5. ICs

ICs (integrated circuits) are the mother of all electronic components. As a fact, an IC contains all the major components enclosed in one chipset. The first computers, TVs, radios were bulky because it was not possible to integrate these components. The coming of ICs has therefore given birth to sleek electronic devices. Even mobile devices are smaller in size because they are powered by microchips that carry capacitors, resistors and transistors in one package. Even Xilinx relies on integrated circuits.

Sameer Raj has a keen interest in technology. He spent most of his time socializing with gadgets & tools than human beings. With each of his articles, Sameer shares such unique tricks that you might never knew.