Electronic circuits

What Is an Electronic Circuit

The term electronic circuit refers to a complete path made up of conductors and semi-conductors through which electric current travels. It is a structure that directs and controls the flow of electricity. The name “circuit” implies that the structure in question is looped or closed. The term “current” denotes the “flow” of electric charge. 

An electric circuit becomes an electronic circuit when the circuit has active components that enable some processing capability. An electric circuit could provide power to a motor. An electronic circuit could control the motor’s speed, precision or other parameters. 

Every component in a circuit is connected to each other through conductive wires or conductive traces generally made of copper, through which current flows. Often these devices are soldered onto a printed circuit board (PCB) to carry out a specific function.

For a circuit to be considered electronic rather than electric, it needs to have at least one or more active components. An active electronic component is a device that can control electricity flow in a circuit. Vacuum tubes, logic gates, integrated circuits, transistors, and silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCRs) are all examples of active electronic components.

A passive electronic component is one that doesn’t have directionality or gain. It is also referred to as an electrical element or electrical component. Inductors, capacitors, and resistors are all examples of passive electronic components.

There are three main types of electronic circuits – analog, digital, and mixed-signal. The signal in an analog circuit varies continuously with time in relation to the information being transmitted. The signal in a digital circuit exists in one of two discrete levels – 0/1, ON/OFF, or True/False. A mixed-signal circuit is a hybrid form of an analog and digital circuit. It contains elements and properties of both.

Some common applications of electronic circuits include:

  • Consumer electronics, such as TVs and radios
  • Computers and laptops
  • Smartphones, tablets and smart watches
  • Medical devices such as heart rate monitors or digital thermometers
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