Electronic components are individual devices that build up most of the industrial products in the market today. Electronic components are made up of two, three or more electrical terminals, sockets and pins, which are usually fused on a circuit board to construct an electronic circuit with a very specific function. Take for example the circuit boards found in the central processing units of most computers, the insides of remote controls, radios and mixers and so on. Electronic components are classified into three categories: passive, active, electromechanic.
1. Active Components
Active components are those that count on a source of energy. Under the active components are the semiconductors, display technologies, valves, discharge devices and power resources.
Semiconductors are solid materials that present conductivity between that of an insulator and that of most metals. Electronic components such as diodes, transistors, integrated circuits and optoelectronic devices are found under semiconductors.
- Diodes – These are components that conduct electricity in one direction. Most of the well known diodes are the standard diode, high voltage rectifier diode, the LED (light emitting diode) and the LASER diode.
- Transistors – These are devices used in amplifying and exchanging signals and power.
- Integrated circuit – These are utilized mostly in all electronic devices and industrial products at present.
- Optoelectronic Devices – These are electrical to optical or optical to electrical energy converters.
Some of the present display technologies available are filament lamps, CRT or the Cathode ray tubes (used in old computer monitors), LCD or the liquid crystal display (used now for computer monitors and television screens and is an emerging trend in mobile phones) and the Plasma display.
Vacuum tubes, also known as valves, consist of devices such as triodes, tetrodes, pentodes, and octodes.
Discharge devices, on the other hand, are becoming obsolete, such as the Mercury rectifier and the Ignitron.
Power resources, however, are more common. Such examples are batteries, power supplies and generators.
2. Passive Components
Passive components are those components which have no way of bringing energy in the circuit. These components cannot count on a source of energy, either, with the exception of the energy that is available from the AC circuit they are attached or hooked to.
Under the passive components are:
- Resistors – These are devices that are resistant to the passage of electric current.
- Capacitors – These are devices used to store electric charges.
- Magnetic Devices – These are, as the name suggest, devices that uses magnetism.
- Networks – Networks are equipment’s that use more than one type of passive component.
3. Electromechanic Components
Electromechanic components are those electrical components that can and may broadcast electrical operations out with the use of electrical connections and relations.
Under the electromechanic components are:
- Terminals and Connectors – These are electronic components largely used to create electrical connections. Examples of which are sockets, terminal blocks and pin headers.
- Cable Assemblies – These are devices which make use of cables with connectors at their end.
- Switches – These are components that pass or break the flow of current in an electrically charged device.
- Protection Devices – As the name suggests, these are equipment’s that guard circuits from unnecessary or too much current or energy.
- Mechanical Accessories – These are outside accessories used simultaneously with other devices. Examples are heat sinks and fans.