List of Electrical Components
By Derek King
An electrical component is a basic electronic element that is used in part to create the larger electronic device. Multiple electronic components work together in tandem to gather, harness and transfer the electricity needed to power a device. There are a few common electrical components. Each component completes a specific service to the device as a whole.
A capacitor is an electrical component that stores and releases electrical charge. A capacitor is used to filter electricity in power supply lines, blocking direct current (DC) voltages and passing alternating current (AC) signals, among other things. There are three types of common capacitors: capacitors, variable capacitors and varicap diodes. A regular capacitor is a passive component that contains at least two conductors separated by an insulator. A variable capacitor has its electrical charge capacity repeatedly changed mechanically or electronically. Varicap diodes are capacitors commonly used in television sets. Its AC signal capacity is based on how much DC voltage is applied.
A power supply is an electrical component that provides the source of electrical power. Electrical devices are equipped with a power supply that is guaranteed to provide enough energy for operation. Without a power supply, the rest of the electrical components in a device will be rendered useless. Electrical generators, for example, convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. Portable electronic devices often use alkaline or acid batteries as a power supply. A wall outlet is another type of power supply. A power adapter that is plugged into a wall outlet converts the electrical energy from the power source into current that the device can use.
A terminal is an electrical component that provides a connection from its connected electrical device to an external circuit. The terminal is also the point where the device's electrical conductor comes to an end. There are many types of terminals, including clips, screw terminals and wire nuts. A clip terminal is commonly used as jumper cables for a vehicle. A screw terminal is extensively used in electrical wiring by major home appliances such as ovens and dryers. A wire nut is used to fasten two or more electrical conductors together. The terminal is color coded to indicate the wire nut's size and wire capacity.
A semiconductor is an electrical component that conducts electricity in a specific direction. There are a variety of semiconductors that are created using different materials. Silicon is the most widely used material for semiconductors, with germanium, gallium arsenide and silicon carbide being used commonly. The conductivity can be controlled by using an electric or magnetic field, exposure to light or heat, or by mechanically adjusting a semiconductor's integrated circuits. The circuits are made with a continuous crystal material called monocrystalline.
Derek King is an undergraduate student attending the University of Austin. King was editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper for four years. In addition to online instructional articles, he also creates content for the music and entertainment blog GetFreshKid.com.