Electronic gadgets have become an integral part of our lives. They have made our lives more comfortable and convenient. From aviation to medical and healthcare industries, electronic gadgets have a wide range of applications in the modern world. In fact, the electronics revolution and the computer revolution go hand in hand.
Most gadgets have tiny electronic circuits that can control machines and process information. Simply put, electronic circuits are the lifelines of various electrical appliances.
Electronic Circuit Overview
An electronic circuit is a structure that directs and controls electric current to perform various functions including signal amplification, computation, and data transfer. It comprises several different components such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors, and diodes. Conductive wires or traces are used to connect the components to each other. However, a circuit is complete only if it starts and ends at the same point, forming a loop.
The Elements of an Electronic Circuit
The complexity and the number of components in an electronic circuit may change depending on its application. However, the simplest circuit consists of three elements, including a conducting path, a voltage source, and a load.
Element 1: Conducting Path
The electric current flows through the conducting path. Though copper wires are used in simple circuits, they are rapidly being replaced by conductive traces. Conductive traces are nothing but copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. They are often used in small and complex circuits such as Printed Circuit Boards (PCB).
Element 2: Voltage Source
The primary function of a circuit is to allow electric current to pass through it safely. So, the first key element is the voltage source. It is a two-terminal device such as a battery, generators or power systems that provide a potential difference (voltage) between two points in the circuit so that current can flow through it.
Element 3: Load
A load is an element in the circuit that consumes power to perform a particular function. A light bulb is the simplest load. Complex circuits, however, have different loads such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, and transistors.