- Resistors – These are very important for electrical circuits. They help to direct the flow of current into various parts of the circuit, and they can determine the voltage of an amplifier. Most of the time, they are made of metal wire or carbon. They do not produce light, but they can produce heat. You can usually recognize the symbol for a resistor by the telltale zigzag line:
- Capacitors – A capacitor is a device that stores an electrical charge. They will usually have one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator. The capacitor is common in many types of electrical circuits. They can help to block DC while letting AC pass. The symbol you will most commonly see for a general capacitor is:
- LEDs – LEDs are light emitting diodes. Some circuits will utilize LEDs, and there are a number of different ways to power them, since they have semiconductors. A basic LED circuit will contain
- Transistors – A transistor is a semi-conductor that can amplify and switch electronic signals and power. They will have at least three terminals that will connect to an external circuit. Many different types of transistors are available, including NPN bipolar transistors, which allow current flow with a high potential at the base and PNP transistors, which allow current flow with a low potential at the base. Symbols for these types of transistors are as follows:
- Integrated Circuits – An integrated circuit, also called an IC, is actually a set of electronic circuits that are on a single chip made from some type of semiconductor material. These are generally quite small, and they are in many different types of electronics today, including mobile phones and computers. Each year, the size of these types of circuits keeps getting smaller and smaller, which is why powerful electronics can be smaller.
- Potentiometers – A potentiometer, also called a pot informally, is a three terminal resistor that has a sliding contract and is able to work as an adjustable voltage divider. When only using two terminals, it acts like a rheostat. Symbols for potentiometers are:
- Diodes – A diode is a two terminal electronic component. They have low to zero resistance in one direction and high resistance in the other direction. The term for this is asymmetric conductance. The common symbol for a general diode is:
- Switches –One of the simplest types of switches is a simple on and off switch. However, they can have others that control how the circuit works, as well as switches that activate various features on the circuit. Some of the most common types of switches include slide, toggle, rotary, rocker, knife and pushbutton. Naturally, different types of switches have different symbols, some of which include:
- Batteries – Batteries are the simplest way to provide a voltage source in order to power the circuit. They convert the chemical energy into electric energy.
- Breadboard – The breadboard is a term for construction prototypes of various types of electronic circuits. It is possible to use these without soldering, which means they are reusable. Many use these to ensure the circuit will work properly before using printed circuit boards. They have an upper and lower bus as well as upper and lower terminal rows.
- Wire – Wire, or jumper wires for circuits are helpful in ensuring proper routing through a circuit. The symbol for wire in a schematic:
NPN and PNP
Rotary SPST Toggle SPDT Toggle Breadboards