Electrical Components: What Do These Do?We’re surrounded by technology and electronics. Even the most complex electronics have basic components: resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits. Here are some of the functions of each of these components.

What Do These Electrical Components Do?

Resistor: This electrical component works to resist the flow of the current. It’s one of the most basic parts used in electrical circuits and comes in a variety of resistance values, or levels of current resistance. Resistors are measured in “ohms” units and are designated by how much power they can handle without burning.

Capacitor: This is also one of the most basic parts used in electronic circuits, used to store an electric charge temporarily. It is available in several varieties, with the most common being electrolytic and ceramic disk. Amounts are measured in microfarads.

Diode: This device allows the current to flow in one direction. It is made up of two terminals, called the cathode and the anode.  Current will flow through the diode when positive voltage is applied to the anode and negative voltage when applied to the cathode. If the voltages are reversed, there will be no flowing current.

Transistor: These are small switches that are triggered by electrical signals, basically controlling the movement of electrons. They serve as the core building blocks for microchips.  A transistor uses a signal to tell the device to either conduct or insulate, which will enable or disable electricity flow.

Integrated circuits: This is a small chip device that is made out of semiconductor material and serves as the brain of everything. It can hold hundreds and even millions of transistors, resistors, and capacitors and can store data using either analog or digital technology.

All of these small pieces make up the basics of the electrical power that you need throughout the day at home and work. If you have appliances or electrical wiring in your home that may be faulty or need repair, get them fixed right away. Faulty wiring or old electrical panels can be very dangerous and are the leading cause of residential fires in the United States. Be sure that things are in good working order and note any warning signs that your electrical system may be giving you that something is wrong. These may include:

  • – Blown fuses or tripped breakers that happen on a consistent basis
  • – Flickering or dimming lights
  • – Hot outlets
  • – Burning odor coming from a room, appliance, or electrical outlet
  • – Warm or discolored outlets
  • – Sparking appliances, electronics, or lights

If you have any questions about the basic electrical components in your home or are concerned with something that may be malfunctioning, contact Prairie Electric for more information on what needs to be done.