An Introduction to Electronics

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Arduino

A picture of the author’s Arduino Uno R3. Arduinos are commonly used in circuits to control what gets how much voltage.

Electronics use circuits. Circuits have two ends, one is called ground and the other is from where the voltage comes; voltage is measured in volts (V). There is an analogy that compares current, measured is amperes (A), and the amount of rocks on the top of a mountain. Voltage, measured in volts, is the height of the mountain. Resistance, measured in ohms (Ω), represents the obstacles to slow down the rocks that are falling off the mountain. Electricity flows from areas of high amounts to areas of lower amount. I have found a very good circuit simulator in Java here.

Resistors

A picture of some of the author’s resistors.

Resistors resist the flow of current. The amount they resist the flow of current is measured in ohms (Ω). Why, you may ask, would you want to slow down the flow of current? You would want to slow down the flow of current to make sure you do not ruin your electrical components by letting too much through and frying the circuit.


A picture of some of the author's capacitors.

A picture of some of the author’s capacitors.

     Capacitors have the ability to keep some charge when the circuit’s voltage exceeds the stored charge and releases it when the circuit’s voltage is below the stored charge. It acts roughly like a small battery that helps keep the fluctuations in the voltage at a minimum.

A picture of some of the author’s LEDs.

A picture of some of the author's LEDs.

A diode only allows current to flow in one direction. The anode side connects to the incoming current and the cathode connects to the outgoing current. A famous type of diode is the Light Emitting Diode (LED). This diode creates light very efficiently. The anode is usually longer than the cathode.

Transistors

A picture of some of the author’s transistors.

Transistors control high voltage systems with low voltages. There is a high voltage power source that is always on, but between that and the component is a transistor with three pins. One connects to the power source, another to the component, and the last connects to a controller. When electricity comes to the transistor from the controller (usually a rather small amount, otherwise you could directly control the component from the controller) the circuit is completed, and the component turns on.

An inductor resists the change in voltage. Remember, resistors resist any voltage, while an inductor resists the change in voltage.

There are innumerable more circuit components, but these are most of the basics.

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1 Comment

  1. Vivek Prajapati June 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Good overview of electronics for beginners hoping to get a hold of electronics.

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