Electronic Component Knowledge for Hobbyists and Demanders

You’re right, many people may not have a deep understanding of the electronic equipment they use on a daily basis. While they may be proficient in operating the equipment, they may not have a comprehensive understanding of its internal composition and how they work together. An electronic product comprises various parts, such as the PCB, power supply, CPU, memory, input/output devices, communication modules, and sensors. These parts are considered electrical or electronic components and are mounted on the circuit board enabling it to perform its intended functions.

In this article, TechSparks aims to provide a comprehensive guide to electronic components. It will cover the fundamental concepts and types of electronic components. The goal is to assist ordinary users, makers, and electronic manufacturers in gaining a better understanding of electronic components, enabling them to make more informed decisions and make the most of their electronic devices.

electronics components

Table of Contents

What are Electronic Components

Electronic components are essential elements of an electronic system and serve practical functional purposes. They can operate independently, such as LEDs that emit light directly, or they can be combined to form more complex units, like an IC chip comprising multiple electronic components. It’s important to note the distinction between electronic components and electrical elements.

  • Electronic component: This term encompasses all physical components, such as amplifiers, transistors, resistors, and more.
  • Electrical element: This represents the conceptual abstraction of idealized electronic components and elements, which are typically depicted using schematic or circuit diagrams to illustrate the network of electrical connections.

The above description highlighting the difference between electronic components and electrical elements is compiled from reliable sources, specifically Wikipedia. For further in-depth information on this topic, you can refer to the respective Wikipedia page.

Electronic components typically feature multiple terminals, known as pins, in addition to the main body. These pins can vary in length and are mounted on printed circuit boards using different processes based on their dimensions. For instance, longer pins are commonly assembled using THT technology for  DIP components, while shorter pins are assembled using SMT technology for SMD components. Additionally, various package forms, such as CSP, Plastic Package, and Thin Package, are used to differentiate between different PCB component packages. Nevertheless, passive component, active component, and electromechanical component are the most frequently utilized categories. The following classification provides an overview of some classes of electronic parts.

Types of Electronic Parts

Passive Components

Passive components are integral parts of a circuit that facilitate the transmission, storage, and distribution of electrical energy and signals. Unlike active components, they do not generate, amplify, or control electrical energy and rely solely on the circuit they are connected to. These components play essential roles without the need for an external power source. Common examples of passive components include resistors, inductors, capacitors and transformers. Here is some basic information about these electronic components:

Component NameComponent FunctionComponent ImageComponent Symbol
ResistorCurrent limit, voltage divider, circuit adjustment and calibration, circuit protection;resistorResistor Symbol
InductorCurrent storage, inductive impedance, delay circuit, inductive coupling;inductorInductor Symbol
CapacitorStore charge and energy, couple and couple windings, filter;capacitorCapacitor Symbol
TransformerVoltage conversion, current conversion, power transmission, isolation;TransformerTransformer Symbol

Active Components

As their name suggests, require an external power supply or DC circuit to operate and utilize internal energy amplification mechanisms to control input signals, thereby modifying the amplitude, phase, and frequency of the output signal. Transistors, integrated circuits, FETs, operational amplifiers are fundamental examples of active electronic components:

Component NameComponent FunctionComponent ImageComponent Symbol
Transistor A semiconductor device used as a switching element in a circuit to amplify current and voltage signals.TransistorTransistor
Integrated Circuit Internally integrate multiple components including transistors, amplifiers, resistors, capacitors, etc.Integrated Circuit 
FET A three-port semiconductor device that controls the gate voltage to regulate the current flow between the source and drainFETFET Symbol
Operational Amplifier High-gain, differential-input electronic amplifiers that provide different computing functions.Operational AmplifierOperational Amplifier Symbol

Electromechanical Components

Electromechanical components encompass a range of devices that integrate mechanical and electronic technologies. They consist of both mechanical and electronic parts and serve the purpose of converting, transmitting, and controlling electrical and mechanical energy. Here are some common examples of electromechanical components including connectors, cable assemblies, switches and heat sinks:

Component NameComponent FunctionComponent Image
ConnectorProvide reliable electrical connection, mechanical connection and plug-in functionPCB connector
Cable AssemblyConsists of cables and connectors and is used to transmit current, data or signalscable assembly
SwitchControl the current flow of the circuit to trigger or block the currentswitch
Heat SinkHelps dissipate heat by radiation, convection or conductionheat sink on pcb

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