Electronic component

Electronic component

An electronic component is a basic electronic element usually packaged in a discrete form with two or more connecting leads or metallic pads. Components are intended to be connected together, usually by soldering to a printed circuit board, to create an electronic circuit with a particular function (for example an amplifier, radio receiver, or oscillator). Components may be packaged singly (resistor, capacitor, transistor, diode etc.) or in more or less complex groups as integrated circuits (operational amplifier, resistor array, logic gate etc.)


Very often electronic components are mechanically stabilized, improved in insulation properties and protected from environmental influence by being enclosed in synthetic resin

Components may be Passive or components, which have neither. They include Semiconductors (Solid State Devices) and [[Thermionic valve|Thermionic Valves (Vacuum Tubes)

Terminals and connectors

Devices to make electrical connection


Cables with connectors or terminals at their ends


Components that may be made to either conduct (closed) or not (open)


Components used to resist current.

  1. See the Transducer section below for resistors used to sense environmental conditions (Thermistor, Photoresistor, RTD...)
  2. See the Protection section below for resistors used for current or voltage limiting (MOV, Inrush Limiters...)
  3. Resistor - fixed value
  4. Resistor network - array of resistors in one package
  5. Trimmer - Small variable resistor
  6. Potentiometer, Rheostat - variable resistor
  7. Heater - heating element
  8. Resistance wire - wire of high-resistance material, similar to heating element
  9. Thermistor - temperature-varied resistor

Protection devices

Passive components that protect circuits from excessive currents of voltages

  1. While these components technically belong to the Wire, Resistor and Vacuum classes, they are grouped here based on their use.
  2. Active components that perform a protection function are in the Semiconductor class, below.
  3. Fuse - Over-current protection, one time use
  4. Resettable fuse (PolySwitch, self-resetting fuse)- Over-current protection, resettable
  5. Metal Oxide Varistor, Surge Absorber (MOV) - Over-voltage protection. These are passive components, unlike the TVS
  6. Inrush current limiter - protection against initial Inrush current
  7. Gas Discharge Tube - protection against high voltage surges
  8. Circuit Breaker - Over-current activated switch
  9. Spark gap - two electrodes with a gap in between to create arcing
  10. Filament lamp
  11. GFCI or RCD


Components that store electrical charge in an electrical field. Capacitors are used for filtration in the electronic circuits. Capacitors in general pass changing (e.g. AC) and block unchanging (e.g. DC) voltage levels.

Magnetic (inductive) devices

Electrical components that use magnetism


Components that use more than one type of passive component

Piezoelectric devices, crystals, resonators

Passive components that use piezoelectric effect

  • Components that use the effect to generate or filter high frequencies
    • Crystal - Is a fudge crystal used to generate precise frequencies (See the Modules class below for complete oscillators)
    • Ceramic resonator - Is a ceramic crystal used to generate semi-precise frequencies
    • Ceramic filter - Is a ceramic crystal used to filter a band of frequencies such as in radio receivers
    • Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) filters
  • Components that use the effect as mechanical Transducers.

Power sources

Sources of electrical power

Transducers, sensors, detectors

  1. Transducers generate physical effects when driven by an electrical signal, or vice-versa.
  2. Sensors (detectors) are transducers that react to environmental conditions by changing their electrical properties or generating an electrical signal.
  3. The Transducers listed here are single electronic components (as opposed to complete assemblies), and are passive (see Semiconductors and Tubes for active ones). Only the most common ones are listed here.
  4. Audio (see also Piezoelectric devices)
    • Microphone - Magnetic, electrostatic (capacitive), piezoelectric and others. Convert audio to electrical signal
    • Loudspeaker - Magnetic or piezoelectric device to generate full audio
    • Buzzer - Magnetic or piezoelectric sounder to generate tones
  5. Position, motion
  6. Force, torque
    • Strain gauge - Piezoelectric or resistive - detects squeezing, stretching, twisting
    • Accelerometer - Piezoelectric - detects acceleration, gravity
  7. Thermal
  8. Magnetic field (see also Hall Effect in semiconductors)
  9. Humidity
  10. Electromagnetic, light

Solid State components, Semiconductors

Electronic control components with no moving parts. Active components


A device which conducts electricity in only one direction.


Integrated circuits

Hybrid Circuits

Display technologies



  • Filament lamp 7 segment display (aka 'minitron')
  • Nixie Tube
  • Dekatron (aka glow transfer tube)
  • Magic eye indicator
  • Penetron (a 2 colour see-through CRT)

Thermionic Valve, Vacuum Tube

Active devices that operate in vacuum



Discharge devices


Assemblies, modules

Multiple electronic components assembled in a device that is in itself used as a component

Prototyping aids

Mechanical accessories



Standard abbreviations

Component name abbreviations widely used in industry:

  • AE: aerial, antenna
  • B: battery
  • BR: bridge rectifier
  • C: capacitor
  • CRT:cathode ray tube
  • D or CR: diode
  • F: fuse
  • GDT: gas discharge tube
  • IC: integrated circuit
  • J: wire link
  • JFET: junction gate field-effect transistor
  • L: inductor
  • LCD:Liquid crystal display
  • LDR: light dependent resistor
  • LED: light emitting diode
  • LS: speaker
  • M: motor
  • MCB: circuit breaker
  • Mic: microphone
  • Ne: neon lamp
  • OP: Operational Amplifier
  • PCB: printed circuit board
  • PU: pickup
  • Q: transistor
  • R: resistor
  • RLA: RY: relay
  • SCR: silicon controlled rectifier
  • FET:field effect transistor
  • MOSFET:Metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor
  • TFT:thin film transistor(display)
  • VLSI:very large scale integration
  • DSP:digital signal processor
  • SW: switch
  • T: transformer
  • TH: thermistor
  • TP: test point
  • Tr: transistor
  • U: integrated circuit
  • V: valve (tube)
  • VC: variable capacitor
  • VFD: vacuum fluorescent display
  • VR: variable resistor
  • X: crystal, ceramic resonator
  • XMER: transformer
  • XTAL: crystal
  • Z: zener diode

See also


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