Electronics/Components

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Electronics | Foreword | Basic Electronics | Complex Electronics | Electricity | Machines | History of Electronics | Appendix | edit

Ideal voltage sources[edit]

Voltage Source.svg

An ideal voltage source is a fundamental electronics component that creates a constant voltage between two points regardless of whatever else is connected to it. Since it is ideal, some circuit configurations are not allowed, such as short circuits, which would create infinite current. (I = V / 0)
A water analogy would be a pump with pressure sensors on both sides. The difference in pressure between the in port and out port is constantly measured, regardless of the absolute pressure of each side, and the pump speed is adjusted so that the pressure difference stays constant.
Real voltage sources, such as batteries, power supplies, piezoelectric disks, generators, steam turbines, wall outlets, etc. have an internal source impedance (in series with the ideal voltage source), which is very important to understand.

Ideal current sources[edit]

Current Source.svg

An ideal current source is a fundamental electronics component that creates a constant current through a section of circuit, regardless of whatever else is connected to it. Since it is ideal, some circuit configurations are not allowed, such as open circuits, which would create an infinite voltage.
A water analogy would be a pump with a flow meter. It measures the amount of water flowing by per unit time and changes the speed of the pump so that the current flow is constant.
Real current sources, such as batteries, power supplies, piezoelectric disks, generators, etc. have an internal source impedance (in parallel with the source), which is very important to understand.
Real sources generally behave more like voltage sources than current sources, because the internal impedance in series is very low. A current source can be created from a voltage source with a circuit such as a current mirror.

Dependent Sources[edit]

A dependent source is either a voltage or a current source which is dependent upon another value within the circuit, usually another voltage or current. Typically, these are used in circuit modeling and analysis.

There are four main types of such sources.

Voltage-controlled voltage source (VCVS)[edit]

This is a voltage source whose value is controlled by another voltage elsewhere in the circuit. Its output will typically be given as V_o=AV_c, where A is a gain term and Vcis a control voltage.
An example of a VCVS may be an idealized amplifier, where A is the gain of the amplifier.

Current-controlled voltage source (CCVS)[edit]

This is a voltage source whose value is controlled by a current elsewhere in the circuit. Its output is typically given as V_o=AI_c, where A is a gain term and Ic is a control current.

Voltage-controlled current source (VCCS)[edit]

This is a current source whose value is controlled by a voltage elsewhere in the circuit. Its output is typically given as I_o=AV_c, where A is a gain term and Vc is a control voltage.

Current-controlled current source (CCCS)[edit]

This is a current source whose value is controlled by a current elsewhere in the circuit. Its output is typically given as I_o=AI_c, where A is a gain term and Ic is a control current.
An example of a CCCS is an idealized bipolar junction transistor, which may be thought of as a small current controlling a larger one. Specifically the base current, Ib is the control and the collector current Ic is the output.

Switch[edit]

A switch is a mechanical device that connects or disconnects two parts of a circuit.

Closed Switch.svg

A switch is a short circuit when it is on.

Open Switch.svg
And it is a open circuit when it is off.

When you turn a switch on it completes a circuit that allows current to flow. When you turn the switch off it creates an air gap (depending on the type of switch), and since air is an insulator no current flows.
A switch is a device for making or breaking an electric circuit.
Usually the switch has two pieces of metal called contacts that touch to make a circuit, and separate to break the circuit. The contact material is chosen for its resistance to corrosion, because most metals form insulating oxides that would prevent the switch from working. Sometimes the contacts are plated with noble metals. They may be designed to wipe against each other to clean off any contamination. Nonmetallic conductors, such as conductive plastic, are sometimes used. The moving part that applies the operating force to the contacts is called the actuator, and may be a rocker, a toggle or dolly, a push-button or any type of mechanical linkage.

Contact Arrangements[edit]

Switches can be classified according to the arrangement of their contacts. Some contacts are normally open until closed by operation of the switch, while normally closed contacts are opened by the switch action. A switch with both types of contact is called a changeover switch.
The terms pole and throw are used to describe switch contacts. A pole is a set of contacts that belong to a single circuit. A throw is one of two or more positions that the switch can adopt. These terms give rise to the following abbreviations.
Electronics Switches.PNG
  • S (single), D (double).
  • T (throw), CO (changeover).
  • CO = DT.

(single|double) pole ((single|double) throw|changeover)

  • SPST = single pole single throw, a simple on-off switch.
  • SPDT = single pole double throw, a simple changeover or on-off-on switch.
  • SPCO = single pole changeover, equivalent to SPDT.
  • DPST = double pole single throw, equivalent to two SPST switches controlled by a single mechanism.
  • DPDT = double pole double throw, equivalent to two SPDT switches controlled by a single mechanism.
  • DPCO = double pole changeover, equivalent to DPDT.
Switches with larger numbers of poles or throws can be described by replacing the "S" or "D" with a number.

Biased Switches[edit]

A biased switch is one containing a spring that returns the actuator to a certain position. The "on-off" notation can be modified by placing parentheses around all positions other than the resting position. For example, an (on)-off-(on) switch can be switched on by moving the actuator in either direction away from the centre, but returns to the central off position when the actuator is released.
The momentary push-button switch is a type of biased switch. This device makes contact when the button is pressed and breaks when the button is released.

Special Types[edit]

Switches can be designed to respond to any type of mechanical stimulus: for example, vibration (the trembler switch), tilt, air pressure, fluid level (the float switch), the turning of a key (key switch), linear or rotary movement (the limit switch or microswitch).
The mercury tilt switch consists of a blob of mercury inside a glass bulb. The two contacts pass through the glass, and are shorted together when the bulb is tilted to make the mercury roll on to them. The advantage of this type of switch is that the liquid metal flows around particles of dirt and debris that might otherwise prevent the contacts of a conventional switch from closing.

See also[edit]