Electronic components

electronic components
Image courtesy Electronics and You

Electronic components; These are the heart and soul of electronics. They are vital and very important aspects of electronics.

Well, all the electronic appliances that you see around function because of these amazing electronic necessities.

When assembling electronic circuits, definitely one comes across these electronics components.

I will explain these in a very basic, simple and understandable language just for you.

But before we proceed, it is good to note that there are two categories of electronic components.

Active electronic components

These have a defined electronic functionality and most of the times achieve some gain and have a directionality.

Electronic components falling under this category are;

  1. Logic gates
  2. Transistors
  3. Integrated circuits
  4. Regulators
  5. Relays

Kindly see a simple explanation of how these electronic components work;

Logic gates

Logic gates are the building blocks of digital electronics. They perform logic calculations and provide one binary output from several binary inputs.

They are classified into three types;

  1. AND gate
  2. OR gate
  3. NOT gate


Transistors are the most important electronic components in the field and study of electronics.

They act as relays or switches and are mainly used in the amplification of current.

A transistor has three terminals. The base, collector and emitter.

The base controls voltage and current output on the other two terminals.

Integrated circuits

Integrated circuits {IC’s} are the building blocks of modern electronic devices such as cell phones and computers.

These electronic components have revolutionized the electronics sphere so much.

An integrated circuit is an electronic component that has a complete electronic circuit within it.

Made of silicon, an IC contains several embedded components ranging from transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors and much more.

Some form of IC’s include; micro-processors, amplifiers, frequency modulators and much more.


Electronic regulators are very critical components in today’s technological world.

These components play a major role in voltage distribution within an electronic circuit.

Without regulators, it would be very hard to achieve some critical aspects of electronics.


Electronic relays are a major part of the electronics sphere and study.

These electronic components are electrical switches. When the voltage passes through them, they switch opens.

When a voltage is switched off, the switch closes. They employ electromagnetism to achieve this.

Passive electronic components

These components do not have a specific or defined functionality and perform their functions working in combination with other components.

They form the bulk of electronic components and do not have a gain or directionality.

Components falling under this category are;

  1. Capacitors
  2. Diodes
  3. Resistors
  4. Inductors

Later in this article, I will add a blog shop section where you can purchase various components directly from my online electronic shop.

Kindly see an explanation of how these electronic components work;


A diode is an electronic component that conducts and lets current flow in only one direction.

This great invention has two terminals an anode, and a cathode.

Current only flows when a positive current is connected to the anode and a negative voltage connected to the cathode.

If the voltages are connected in the reverse, no current will flow through the diode.

A diode is mainly used in current and voltage rectification and is a vital component in the electronics sphere.

This component is also used to convert AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current)

Types of diodes

  • Zener diodes
  • LED (light-emitting diodes)
  • Varactor diodes
  • Photodiodes
  • Pin diodes
  • Step recovery diodes
  • Laser diodes
  • Tunnel/backward diodes
  • Gunn diodes
  • Schottky diodes


Capacitors come in as major electronic components. This is because they store charge.

I would refer them to as batteries that have a small capacity and can be used to employ a delay in an electronic circuit.

Some capacitor types have a positive and negative voltage terminal and can be damaged in case of reverse polarity.

Types of capacitors include;

  • Electrolytic capacitors
  • Ceramic capacitors
  • Dielectric/variable capacitors
  • Film capacitors


Resistors are components that resist current flow within an electric circuit.

These components are used to set up the correct voltages in a circuit to make voltage flow smooth.

Types of resistors include;

  • Variable resistors
  • Fixed resistors
  • Linear
  • Non-linear


Inductors are simple transformers that allow dc current to flow while resisting ac current flow.

They are complex electronic components but extremely important in the rectification and supply of dc voltages in an electronic circuit.

Before the emergence of LED TV’s, CRT TV’s had a flyback inductor/transformer.  This inductor was used to feed thousands of DC voltage to the tube.

Types of inductors include;

  • Ferrite core inductors
  • Air core inductors
  • Variable core inductors
  • Iron core inductors


Crystals also referred to as oscillators are used to create and setup precise or fixed frequencies in an electronics circuit.

A crystal could be used to setup tuner frequencies or clocks for micro-controllers in circuits.

Kindly see and purchase all the electronic components you may need by visiting genuine electronics shop in Nairobi page

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