Electrical Components Explained

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What are electrical components?

Electrical components are devices that are part of a circuit that perform particular roles. Some components are essential for maintaining the required conditions in a circuit whereas others are actually the main device for which the circuit exists to power. Yet others are designed to inspect circuits and ensure that there are no electrical safety risks or risks to the health of components.

What kind of components are there?

There are basic components that most people are familiar with, these include things like bulbs and LED’s for lighting, motors for controlling the movement of objects and ammeters for measuring the electrical current in a circuit. Then there are maintenance components such as diodes which control the direction of flow and resistors which provide a constant resistance that may be required in a circuit. There are even more exotic examples such as LDR’s or light-dependent resistors which change the amount of resistance applied to a circuit based on the amount of light being received. Thermistors are another fascinating example of safety and circuit management equipment that increases the resistance as temperature rises.

Why do we need component symbols?

Component symbols are essential for the planning of circuits and also for developing a basic and more in-depth understanding of circuits and electricity. Without component symbols, we would not be able to effectively draw and plan circuits and explain to others which kind of circuits are required for certain operations. These symbols are mostly a form of internationally recognised communication, acting as a language on their own. This universality can be useful for making sure that different countries can collaborate on international projects effectively and safely.

What are components for in modern life?

Some components are simply there to make sure that circuits are safe by ensuring that if there was a fault to develop, there would be no risks to human health. The humble fuse is a brilliant example of safety equipment that likely saves lives every year and also saves untold amounts of damage and costs associated with damage to components and machinery through overcurrent. Other basic devices such as LED’s and other kinds of bulbs allow us to use the nighttime to be productive whilst our ancestors would have been limited in their activities. Sports stadiums for example with floodlights allow us to play throughout the darkness and cars are able to drive in remote areas without incident. All thanks to the circuit and its components.

Why do we need components and how do they impact our lives?

Basic components also exist to ensure the effective operation and safety of circuits, such as the simple switch which can be opened and closed in order to control the flow of electricity through a circuit. We are all very familiar with these as we press them multiple times a day when turning on or off lights in a room. Transistors which are the basis of modern computing are actually microscopic switches that open and close circuits to generate the series of 0’s and 1’s that power most of modern society.

Now try the below quiz and also check out our page on all of the GCSE Electricity Equations.