Electronic components are the basic building blocks of any electronics project. By understanding how these components work and how to use them, you can create all sorts of interesting electronic projects. In this article, we'll introduce you to some common electronic components and show you how they can be used in robotics and other electronics projects.
Electronic Components 101
If you've ever taken apart an old electronic device, you've likely seen a variety of different electronic components inside. These components include resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, and transistors. While it may seem daunting at first, understanding how each of these works is actually quite simple.
A resistor is a component that resists the flow of current. In other words, it's used to control the amount of current in a circuit. Resistors are usually made from carbon or metal alloy wire wound around a ceramic or glass rod called an insulator. The resistance value is usually printed on the side of the component. Resistor values are typically given in ohms (Ω). The lower the resistance value, the more electrical current will flow through the resistor. For example, a 1 Ω resistor will allow more current to flow than a 10 kΩ (10 000 Ω) resistor.
You'll often see resistors used in circuits as pull-down or pull-up resistors. Pull-down resistors are used to ensure that a voltage level remains low unless it's actively being pulled high by another circuit element; pull-up resistors do the opposite by keeping a voltage level high unless it's actively being pulled low by another element.
A capacitor is an electrical component that stores energy in an electric field between two conducting plates separated by an insulating material called a dielectric . When connected across a DC voltage source (like a batteries),capacitors will charge up to that voltage level; when disconnected from the power source ,the capacitor will maintain its charge for some time . After awhile ,the capacitor will slowly discharge itself through leakage currents back into the power supply .The longer time period required for this self -discharge defines what is known as "capacitance".