Electronic Components

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Electronic components are vital to anyone in the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering. They are the driving force behind many modern day technology and is fundamental for all engineers to recognize their uses. Below is a list of most commonly used components in ECE but they are not an exhaustive list of all of the components we use here. Please click on one of the options below to expand the heading and learn more about the topic.

Passive Electrical Components
These are electrical components that do not introduce net energy into the electrical circuit

Capacitors are commonly used in electrical circuits to store energy electrostatically.T


Capacitors have numbers on them that help distinguish their values. To calculate a value of a capacitor, a look up table can be used or the following or the following site can be used: HERE

Capacitors Electronic Components

An example of ceramic capacitors that we have at ECE available for project use.

For more information about capacitors, please visit: HERE

Resistors are a passive electrical component that implements electrical resistance. There are many different kinds of resistors that are used for different applications from circuits dealing with direct current to alternating current.

Basic Resistors

When it comes to resistors, there is a table called the "Standard Resistors" that are usually manufactured with a 5% tolerance. These resistor values are the ones that are manufactured and in existence, while values outside of these do not exist.

1.0 10 100 1.0K 10K 100K 1.0M
1.1 11 110 1.1K 11K 110K 1.1M
1.2 12 120 1.2K 12K 120K 1.2M
1.3 13 130 1.3K 13K 130K 1.3M
1.5 15 150 1.5K 15K 150K 1.5M
1.6 16 160 1.6K 16K 160K 1.6M
1.8 18 180 1.8K 18K 180K 1.8M
2.0 20 200 2.0K 20K 200K 2.0M
2.2 22 220 2.2K 22K 220K 2.2M
2.4 24 240 2.4K 24K 240K 2.4M
2.7 27 270 2.7K 27K 270K 2.7M
3.0 30 300 3.0K 30K 300K 3.0M
3.3 33 330 3.3K 33K 330K 3.3M
3.6 36 360 3.6K 36K 360K 3.6M
4.3 43 430 4.3K 43K 430K 4.3M
4.7 47 470 4.7K 47K 470K 4.7M
5.1 51 510 5.1K 51K 510K 5.1M
5.6 56 560 5.6K 56K 560K 5.6M
6.2 62 620 6.2K 62K 620K 6.2M
6.8 68 680 6.8K 68K 680K 6.8M
7.5 75 750 7.5K 75K 750K 7.5M
8.2 82 820 8.2K 82K 820K 8.2M
9.1 91 910 9.1K 91K 910K 9.1M

They are colour coded to help the users differentiate the resistance. The values of how each resistor is determined can be found via the table below.

resistor-color-chartResistor Photo


The picture above is obtained via Digikey and if you would like the math done for you, please visit Digikey to access their resistance calculator HERE. 

Variable Resistors (Potentiometers) 

Looking for resistors without a fixed value? Variable resistors are also commonly used in ECE and they usually have a knob or something that you would be using to regulate the voltage through a wire. Practical uses maybe in controls where the amount of voltage will help determine the location of something for example. For more information, please visit: HERE.

Active Electrical Components 
Active components rely on a source of energy for it to function. These components are just an example of the countless number of electronic components out there. It is not an exhaustive list and is only an example of some of the most common ones we use here at ECE.


Diodes are a commonly use electronic component that directional. In one direction, the diode offer extremely high resistance to current so it acts as an insulator. In the opposite direction, it acts as a conductor with extremely low resistance.
An example would be LED's (AKA Light-emitting Diodes)
LED's Components

Transistors form the basis of modern day technology and they can act as a switch and current amplifier. The field of transistors is a whole world in its entirety, on this page we will just introduce one of the 3 basic types that are most commonly used in ECE.
NPN (A type of Bi-polar Junction Transistor (AKA BJT))
NPN Electronic Component
This is the symbol used for the NPN transistor. The transistors (BJT's specifically) are essentially the joining of 2 Diodes together to form an electronic device with 3 terminals that will be a current source and a switch depending on the direction of the current.  The two different types of transistors are the NPN and PNP.
PNP Electronic Components

2 of the most common BJT transistors that we use in the department is the 2n3904, 2n3906 and 2n2222A.


To read more about the Transistor, please click HERE or HERE

Integrated circuits utilize transistors to create the "brains" of a circuit. They are what breathes life into modern day electronics and can range from small timers (most commonly used is the LM-555) to very sophisticated systems such as the Intel processors found in computers. The chips usually have a black casing with conductive pins coming out of it. All of these chips usually have their make and model printed on them, and by looking that up on a data sheet or on-line you can see what the use of the chip is.

Logic Gates
Logic gates are the foundation of what takes voltages and transforms them into electronic signals- namely 0's and 1's and transform them into a combination of logic circuits. These circuits are then built on top of each other to created more complicated circuits that perform a wide variety of functions. Equations called "Boolean Equations" can be written to describe these circuits. For more information, Introductory courses about digital systems at ECE will go much more in to depth about this topic. A great place to start learning about this topic is: HERE
Op-Amps, or otherwise known as Operational Amplifiers are circuits that take in a given electrical signal and energy and amplifies the signal. Common uses are things such as speakers (where you insert the power chord from your phone into the
Microcontrollers are circuits that include a processor core, memory and input/output terminals. These are very commonly used in ECE for the project courses. A common microcontroller that is used is the 8052 (more information about it can be seen: http://www.8052.com. Other commonly used microcontrollers include the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
For more information, please click HERE
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA)
These are very high level IC's and are commonly used when programming of the hardware takes place after manufacturing. Some companies will choose to manufacture their chips and circuits directly, however mistakes are costly. In ECE, FPGA's such as the Cyclone in DE2 boards are used so that the gates can be programmed and mistakes can be fixed. More information about FPGA's can be seen HERE
A good introduction to integrated circuits can be found HERE

Display Technologies

7 Segment LED Displays are used to help display systems http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven-segment_display

Power Sources

Batteries are devices that can store electrical energy. One of the most