The Most Common Types of Electronics Components

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( — July 17, 2017) — There are many types of electronics components, but some are more common than others. Each component serves a particular purpose, on their own or when in an integrated circuit. When one of the components is missing or not working properly, the whole circuit doesn’t work as intended. A perfect example of this is the circuit board in your home computer, an example of an integrated circuit. When one of the components on the circuit board doesn’t work, the computer won’t function at peak performance (or potentially not at all). Although it wouldn’t be possible to discuss all of the different types of electronic components, we’ll discuss the three most commonly used types here.


Resistors are the types of components that either regulate voltage or control the amount of current flowing in a circuit. A resistor, by definition, is designed to be a component that is a poor conductor of electricity. The amount of resistance to electricity can vary by component and by function, and that ability is measured in a unit known as Ohms.

One particular type of resistor is known as the “variable resistor.” In a variable resistor, there are only two connecting wires, not three as there are in other types. These components are the same as other types of resistors. With a variable resistor, a user can control the potential (energy) that is allowed to pass through the circuit by adjusting the resistance between two points in a circuit. One common example of this is the volume control on a radio. If the resistor was not the variable type, the radio volume would only be able to be at a fixed point. Variable resistance is important in situations when it’s impossible to know ahead of time how much resistance will be required in a circuit at any given point.


The second most commonly used type of electronic component is the capacitor. Basically, a capacitor is a component designed for the purpose of energy storage. Capacitors are made up of two metal plates and an insulator made out any of a variety of materials, including mylar or ceramic material. The amount of energy that can be stored in a capacitor, known as its capacitance, is a measured in units known as Farads.

When a current of electrons flows from one of a capacitor’s plates to another, the capacitor charges. As the charge increases, the current is lessened because the plate is unable to store or hold any more electrons. When the maximum has been reached, the capacitor is said to be fully charged as the voltage in the capacitor is equal to the energy in the source.


The third common type of electronic components is the inductor. As you may know, DC currents move in one direction only, whereas AC currents flow in both directions, alternating direction indefinitely. Inductors serve to resist changes in the flow of a current, which allows DC currents to pass through the inductor more easily. Picture this: an inductor is essential a wire coil. As current flows through the inductor, it creates a magnetic field where the energy is stored. If power from the source is severed, the magnetic field is broken and the energy is released.

Inductors are used together with capacitors in many applications, including wireless communications applications. On a large scale, inductors are used in powers supplies of various types of electronic components, including computers and computer peripherals.

These are just a few of the examples of the types of electronic components that exist. There are, of course, many others, each with its own properties and functions. In some cases, these components act alone, serving a stand-alone function, but very often, they are used in combinations to serve a bigger function within the electronic device of which they are a part.

From microwaves to cars, electronic devices we use in virtually every aspect of our daily life are made possible because of these components. Although most of us probably don’t understand how these components work, we certainly understand how frustrating it can be when they don’t!

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