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Introduction to Electronics

4 min read

Basic Electronics

Electronics is a very interesting branch of Science and it is one of the fields where you always have the scope of improvement. Electricity is a very useful and efficient source of energy which is used nearly all devices including Analog and Digital devices.

Let’s understand the use of electricity with some of the components and convention of using electricity.

  1. AC and DC– Electricity can flow basically in two ways AC which is Alternating current and DC which is Direct Current.

AC current travels to the load and back to the source in a cycle, whereas DC current continuously flows from the source to the load.

  • Closed and Open circuit– electronic components joined together by means of wire or any conductor leading to a flow of electricity is called closed circuit and vice-versa.
  • Resistance- The property of any substance to resist any change in voltage and the components doing the job is called a resistor. Resistors are very useful as they give the desired output of resistance to the circuit leading to the safety of the circuit. Commercial resistors can be identified by a colour code printed on the resistor.
  • Series vs. parallel– A circuit can be made closed by either parallel or series connection. In series connection components are joined end to end in a series to complete the circuit, in this case, the current provided by the source remains same and the voltage is distributed across all the components and vice-versa in Parallel connection.
  • Basic Components– There basic electrical components used in the circuits are
  • Resistors-
  • Capacitors- A capacitor is a component that stores electricity and then discharges it into the circuit when there is a drop in electricity. You can think of it as a water storage tank that releases water when there is a drought to ensure a steady stream.

    Capacitors are measured in Farads. The values that you will typically encounter in most capacitors are measured in Pico farad (pF), Nano farad (nF), and microfarad (uF).                                 
  • Diodes- Diodes are components which are polarized. They only allow electrical current to pass through them in one direction. This is useful in that it can be placed in a circuit to prevent electricity from flowing in the wrong direction.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that it requires energy to pass through a diode and this results in a drop of voltage. This is typically a loss of about 0.7V. This is important to keep in mind for later when we talk about a special form of diodes called LEDs.
  • Transistors- A transistor takes in a small electrical current at its base pin and amplifies it such that a much larger current can pass between its collector and emitter pins. The amount of current that passes between these two pins is proportional to the voltage being applied at the base pin.

    There are two basic types of transistors, which are NPN and PNP
  • LEDs- LED stands for light emitting diode. It is basically a special type of diode that lights up when electricity passes through it. Like all diodes, the LED is polarized and electricity is only intended to pass through in one direction.
  • Integrated Circuits(ICs)- An integrated circuit is an entire specialized circuit that has been miniaturized and fit onto one small chip with each leg of the chip connecting to a point within the circuit. These miniaturized circuits typically consist of components such as transistors, resistors, and diodes.

    For instance, the internal schematic for a 555 timer chip has over 40 components in it.

    Like transistors, you can learn all about integrated circuits by looking up their datasheets. On the datasheet, you will learn the functionality of each pin. It should also state the voltage and current ratings of both the chip itself and each individual pin.
  • Switches– This is important components which have the capability of breaking the circuit and closing it as required. There are many components which also acts as switches but the basic switches are as follows.
  • Wires– Circuit joining medium has to be any conductor so insulated copper wires are used for joining circuits.
  • Batteries– Batteries are the instant source of electricity which can store DC current and can provide desirable voltage. Batteries are of many types, which are
  • Lead-Acid Battery
  • Lithium-ion
  • Lithium-polymer(LI-PO)
  • Potentiometers– Potentiometers are variable resistors. In plain English, they have some sort of knob or slider that you turn or push to change resistance in a circuit. If you have ever used a volume knob on a stereo or a sliding light dimmer, then you have used a potentiometer.

    Potentiometers are measured in ohms like resistors, but rather than having colour bands, they have their value rating written directly on them (i.e. “1M”). They are also marked with an “A” or a “B,” which indicated the type of response curve it has.

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