For those who have a background in electronics, analyzing electrical circuits is a basic and essential skill. However, if you’re someone new in the electronic field, electrical circuits might seem a little bit complicated especially for ones that are composed of multitudinous parts. Electrical circuits can be found almost anywhere so having the ability to comprehend a simple circuit schematic can be very useful especially when trying to perform some electrical maintenance work at home. Understanding an electrical circuit starts with understanding the basic components that make up the system as a whole. Essentially, electrical circuits have four types of basic parts no matter how large or small the system may be. Read on as we discuss and define the four basic components in an electrical circuit.
A switch opens or breaks the flow of electric current running through an electrical circuit. Switches come in many different shapes and forms. The most common ones that most people interact with are the light switches found in our homes. Switches can also appear as push-buttons or key toggles like the ones that are used to start a car. With advances in technology, switches today can also function as biometric devices.
When a switch is closed, it can function either as a sustained or transient contact depending on the application. If the switch is a sustained contact, this means it allows the electricity to constantly flow and provide energy throughout the circuit. If it’s a transient contact, however, it only lets electricity flow while the switch or button is being pushed or engaged. Electrical flow is then broken once the switch is released.
The energy source is understandably what provides the voltage and current that allows any device to function. It flows through the entire electrical circuit when contact is made within the switch. Common energy sources that you may find in your home are electrical outlets or power strips. Other forms of energy sources are batteries and solar panels which are becoming a more popular and sustainable choice nowadays.
Voltage power sources like the batteries found in our phones provide a constant level to the electrical circuit. Current power sources, however, are measured in amps and utilizes constant energy currents regardless of voltage. They typically protect the entire system and provide a consistent electrical load to prevent damages to certain electronics.
The wirings that run through electrical circuits are called conductors. They are what serve as pathways for the electrical current to flow and evenly distribute throughout. Conductors interconnect every part of the electrical circuit. Imagine the piping underneath your home which connects every water source around the house. This is similar to how conductors deliver energy to different components of electrical circuits. The size of each wire or conductor needs to be on par with the electricity required within the system.
To put it simply, the electrical load is the opposite of an energy source. It is the part of the electrical circuit that consumes the current provided by the energy source such as a battery or a power outlet.
It also determines the amount of energy that electrical circuits need to function. This can be typically be measured in watts and each device may have its own power requirement in terms of electrical load.