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An electronics component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial producsts, available in a singular form and are not to be confused with electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electronic components.

Electronic components have two or more electrical terminals or leads aside from antennas which may only have one terminal. These leads connect to create an electronic circuit with a particular function (for example an amplifier, radio receiver, or oscillator). Basic electronic components may be packaged discretely, as arays or networks of like components, or integrated inside of packages such as semiconductor integrated circuits, hybrid integrated circuits, or thick film devices. The following list of electronic components focuses on the discrete version of these components, treating on the discrete version of these components, treating such packages as components in their own right.


Components can be classified as passive, active, or electromechanic. The strict definition treats passive components as ones that cannot supply energy themselves, whereas a battery would be seen as an active component since it truely acts as a source of energy.

However, electronic engineers who perform circuit analysis use a more restrictive definition J of passivity. When only concerned with th energy of signals, it is convenient to ignore the so-called DC circuit and pretend that the power supplying components such as transistors or integrated circuits is absent (as if each such component had its own battery built in), though it may in reality be supplied by the DC circuit.Then, the analysis only concerns the AC circuit, an abstraction that ignores DC volages and currents(and the power associated with them) present in the real-life circuit. This fiction, for instance, lets us view an oscillator as "producing energy" even though in reality the oscillator consumes een more energy from a DC power supply, which we have chosen to ignore. Under that restriction, we define the terms as used in circuit analysis as:

  • Active components rely on a source of energy(usually from the DC circuit , which we have chosen to ignore) and usually can inject power into a circuit, though this is not part of the definition. Active components include amplifying components such as transisitors, triode, vaccum tubes(valves), and tunel diodes.
  • Passive components can't introduce net energy into the circuit. They also can't rely on a source of power, except for what is available from the (AC) circuit thet are connected to. As a consequence they can't amplify(increase the power of a signal), although they may increase a voltage or current. Passive components include two-terminal components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transformers.
  • Electromechanical components can carry out electrical operations by using moving parts or by using electrical conections.

Most passive components with more than two terminals can be described in terms of two-port parameteres that satisfy the principle of reciprocity--though there are rare exceptions. In contrast, active components(with more than two terminals) generally lack that property.

Active components

An active device is any type of circuit component with the ability to electrically control electron flow(electricity controlling electricity). In order for a circuit to be properly called electronic, it must contain at least one active device.


Diodes: Conduct electricity easily in one direction, among more specific behaviors.

  • Diode, Rectifier, Bridge rectifier
  • Schottky diode, hot carrier diode - super fast diode with lower forward voltage drop
  • Zener diode- Passes current in reverse direction to provide a constant voltage reference
  • Transient voltage suppression diode(TVS), Unipolar or Bipolar - used to absorb high-voltage spikes
  • Varactor, Tuning diode, Varicap, Variable capacitance diode - A diode whose AC capacitance varies according to the DC voltage applied.
  • Light-emitting diode(LED) - A diode that emits light.
  • Photodiode- Passes current in proportion to incident light.
    • Avalanche photodiode - Photodiode with internal gain.
    • Solar Cell, photovoltaic cell, PV array or panel, produces power from light.
  • DIAC (Diode for alternating current), Trigger Diode, SIDAC-Often used to trigger an SCR
  • Constant - current diode
  • Peltier cooler - A semiconductor heat pump.


Transistors were considered the invention of the twentieth century that changed electronic circuit forever. A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power.

  • Transisitors
    • Bipolar junction transistor(BJT, or simply "transistor") - NPN or PNP
    • Photo transistor- Amplified photodetector
  • Darlington transistor - NPN or PNP
    • Photo Darlington - Amplified photodetector
    • Sziklai pair(Compound transistor, complementary Darlington)
  • Field-effect transistor(FET)
    • JFET(Junction Field-Effect Transistor)- N-CHANNEL or P-CHANNEL
    • MOSFET(Metal Oxide Semiconductor FET) - N-CHANNEL or P-CHANNEL
    • MESFET (Metal Semiconductor FET)
    • HEMT(High electron mobility transistor)
  • Thyristors
    • Silicon-controlled rectifier(SCR) - Passes current only after triggered by a sufficient control voltage on its gate
    • TRIAC (Triode for Altering Current) - Bidirectional SCR
    • Unijunction transistor(UJT)
    • Programmable Unijunction transistor(PUT)
    • SIT(Static Induction Transistor)
    • SITh(Static Induction Thyristor)
  • Composite Transistors
    • IGBT(Insulated- gate bipolar transistor)

Integrated Circuits

  • Digital
  • Analog
    • Hall effect sensor - senses a magnetic field
    • Current sensor - senses a current through it

Optoelectronic devices

  • Opto-electronics
    • Opto-Isolator, Opto-Coupler, Photo-Coupler-Photodiode, BJT, JFET, SCR, TRIAC, Zero-crossing TRIAC, Open collector IC, CMOS IC, Solid state relay(SSR)
    • Opto switch , Opto interrupt, optical switch, optical interrupter, photo switch, photo interrupter
    • LED display - seven-segment display, sixteen-segment display, Dot-matrix display

Display Technologies

Current Running:
  • Filament lamp(indicator lamp)
  • Vaccum fluorescent display(VFD)(performed characters, 7 segment, starburst)
  • Cathode ray tube(CRT)(dot matrix scan, radial scan(e.g. radar), arbitrary scan(e.g. oscilloscope)) (monochrome & colour)
  • LCD(peformed characters, dot matrix)(passive, TFT)(monochrome, colour)
  • Neon (individual, 7 segment display)
  • LED(individual, 7 segment display, starburst display, dot matrix)
  • Flap indicator(numeric, preprinted message)
  • Plasma display (dot matrix)
  • Filament lamp 7 segment display
  • Nixie Tube
  • Dekatron
  • Magic eye tube indicator
  • Penetron( a 2 colour see-through CRT)

Vaccum Tubes(Valves)

A vaccum tube is based on current conduction through a vaccum(see vaccum tube)

  • Diode or rectifier tube
Amplifying tube
  • Triode
  • Tetrode
  • Pentrode
  • Hexode
  • Pentagrid
  • Octode
  • Microwave tubes
    • Klystron
    • Magnetron
    • Traveling-wave tube
Optical detectors or emitters
  • Phototube or Photodiode-tube equivalent of semi-conductor photodiode
  • Photomultiplier tube - Phototube with internal gain
  • Cathode ray tube(CRT) or television picture tube
  • Vaccum fluorescent display(VFD) - Modern non-raster sort of small CRT display
  • Magic eye tube- Small CRT display used as a tuning meter(obsolete)
  • X-ray tube- Produces x-rays

DIsplay Devices

  • Gas discharge tube
  • Mercury arc rectifier
  • Voltage regulator tube
  • Nixie Tube
  • Thyratron
  • Ignitron

Power Sources

Sources of electrical power:
  • Battery-acid or alkali-based power supply
  • Fuel cell-an electrochemical generator
  • Power supply-usually amain hook-up
  • Photo voltaic device- generates electricity from light
  • Thermo electric generator-generates electricity from temperature gradients
  • Electrical generator- an electromechanical power source
  • Piezoelectric pressure - creates electricity from mechanical strain
  • Van de Graaferator- Van de Graaff generator or essentially creating voltage from friction

Passive Components

Components incapable of controlling current by means of another electrical signal are called pasive devices. Resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers and even diodes are all considered passive devices.


Pass current in proportion to voltage(Ohm's law) and oppose current.

  • Resistor-fixed value
    • Power resistor-larger tosafely dissipate heat generated
    • SIP or DIP resistor network-array of resistors in one package
  • Variable resistor
    • Rheostat--> two-terminal variable resistor(often for high power)
    • Potentiometer--> three-terminal varibale resistor(variable voltage divider)
    • Trim por--> small potentiometer, usually for internal adjustments
    • Thermistor--> thermally sensitive resistor whose prime function is to exhibit a large, predictable and precise change in electrical resistance when subjected to a corresponding change in body temperature.
    • Humistor--> humidity-varied resistor
    • Photoresistor
    • Memristor
    • Varistor, voltage dependent resistor, MOV -- passes current when excessive voltage is present
    • Resistance wire, Nichrome wire -- wire of high resistance material, ofthen used as a heating element
    • Heater--> heating element


Capacitors store and release electrical charge. They are used for filtering power supply lines, tuning resonant circuits, and for blocking DC voltages while pasing AC signals, among numerous other uses.

  • Capaciotr
    • Integrated capacitors
      • MIS capacitor
      • Trench capacitor
    • Fixed capacitors
      • Ceramic capacitor
      • Film capacitor
      • Electrolytic capacitor
        • Aluminium electrolytic capacitor
        • Tantalum electrolytic capacitor
        • Niobium electrolytic capacitor
        • Polymer capacitor, OS-CON
      • Supercapacitor(Electric double-layer capacitor)
        • Nanoionic supercapacitor
        • Lithium-ion capacitor
        • Mica capacitor
        • Vaccum capacitor
      • Variable capacitor--adjustable capacitance
        • Tunning capacitor--variable capacitor for tuning a radio, oscillator, or tunel circuit
        • Trim capacitor-small variable capacitor is usually for slight internal adjustments made with a small screw driver tuned into the right position.
        • Vaccum variable capacitor
      • Capacitors for special applications
        • Power capacitor
        • Safety capacitor
        • Filter capacitor
        • Light - emitting capacitor
        • Motor capacitor
        • Photoflash capacitor
        • Reservoir capacitor
      • capacitor network(array)
    • Varicap diode-AC capacitance varies according to the DC voltage applied

Magnetic (inductive) devices

Electrical components that use magnetism in the storage and release of electrical charge through current:

  • Inductor, coil, choke
  • Variable inductor
  • Saturable inductor
  • Transformer
  • Magnetic amplifier(toroid)
  • Ferrite impedances, beads
  • Motor / Generator
  • Solenoid
  • Loudspeaker and microphone


Electrical components that pass charge in proportion to magnetism or magnetic flux, and have ability to retain a previous resistive state, hence the name of Memory plus Resistor.

  • Memristor


Components that use more than one type of passive component:

  • RC network--forms an RC circuit, used in snubbers
  • LC Network-- forms an LC circuit, used in tunable transformers and RFI filters.

Transducers, sensors, detectors

  • Transducers generate physical effects when driven by an electrical signal, or vice versa.
  • Sensors(detectors) are transducers that react to environmental conditions by changing their electrical properties or generating an electrical signal.
  • The trnasducers 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.
  • Audio
    • Loudspeaker - Electromagnetic or piezoelectric device to generate full audio
    • Buzzer - Electromagnetic or piezoelectric sounder to generate tones
  • Position, motion
    • Linear variable differential transformer(LVDT)--Magnetic-detects linear position
    • Rotary encoder, shaft encoder-optical, magnetic, resistive or switches-detects absolute or relative angle or rotational speed
    • Inclinometer--capacitive-detects angle with respect to gravity
    • Motion sensor, vibration sensor
    • Flow meter-detects flow in liquid or gas.
  • Force, torque
    • Strain guage--Piezoelectric or resistive - detects squeezing, stretching , twisting
    • Accelerometer--piezoelectric-detects acceleration, gravity
  • Thermal
    • Thermocouple, thermopile-wires that generate a voltage proportional to delta temperature
    • Thermistor--resistor whose resistance changes with temperature , up PTC or down NTC
    • Resistance temperature detector(RTD)-wires whose resistance changes with temperature
    • Bolometer--device for measuring the power of incident electromagnetic radiation
    • Thermal cutoff--switch that is opened or closed when a set temperature is exceeded
  • Magnetic field
    • Magnetometer, Guass meter
  • Humidity
    • Hygrometer
  • Electromagnetic , light
    • Photo resistor--light dependent resistor (LDR)


ANtennas transmits or receive radio waves

  • Elemental dipole
  • Yagi
  • Phased array
  • Loop antenna
  • Parabolic dish
  • Log-periodic dipole array
  • Biconical
  • Feedhorn

Assemblies, modules

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

  • Oscillator
  • Display devices
    • Liquid crystal display(LCD)
    • Digital voltmeters
  • Filter

Prototyping Aids

  • Wire-wrap
  • Breadboard


Piezoelectric devices, crystals, resonators

Passive components that use piezoelectric effect

  • Components that use the effect to generate or filter high frequencies
    • Crystal--a ceramic crystal used to generate precise frequencies
    • Ceramic resonator--is a ceramic crystal used to generate semi-precise frequencies
    • Ceramic filter--is a ceramic crystal used to filter a band of requencies such as in radio receivers
    • surface accoustic wave(SAW) filters
  • Components that use the effect as mechanical transducers
    • Ultrasonic motor-Electric motor that uses the piezoelectric effects
    • For piezo buzzers and microphones

Terminals and connectors

Devices to make electrical connection

  • Terminal
  • Connector
    • Socket
    • Screw terminal, Terminal Blocks
    • Pin header

Cable assemblies

Cables with connectors or terminals at their ends

  • Power cord
  • Patch cord
  • Test lead


Components that can pass current('closed') or break the flow of current('open'):

  • Switch--manually operated switch
    • Electrical description: SPST, SPDT, DPST, DPDT, NPNT(general)
    • Technology: slide switches, toggle switches, rocker switches, rotary switches, pushbutton switches
  • Keypad--array of pushbutton switches
  • DIP switch--small array of switches for internal configuration settings
  • Footswitch--foot-operated switch
  • Knife switch--switch with unenclosed conductors
  • Micro switch--mechinically activated switch with snap action
  • Limit switch--mechanically activated switch to sense limit of motion
  • Mercury switch--switch sensing tilt
  • Centrifugal switch--switch sensing centrifugal force due to rate of rotation
  • Relay--Electrically operated switch
  • Reed switch--magnetically activated switch
  • Thermostat--thermally activated switch
  • Humidistat--humidity opened in response to excessive current: a resettable fuse

Protection devices

Passive components that protect circuits from excessive currents or voltages:

  • Fuse--over-current protectio, one time use
  • Circuit breaker--resettable fuse in the form of a mechanical switch
  • Resettable fuse or PolySwitch--circuit breaker action using solid state device
  • Ground-fault protection or residual-current device-circuit breaker sensitive to mains currents passing to ground
  • Metal oxide varistor(MOV), suge absorber, TVS-Over-voltage protection
  • Inrush current limiter--protection against initial Inrush current
  • Gas discharge tube--protection against high voltage surges
  • Spark gap--electrodes with a gap to arc over at a high voltage
  • Lightning arrester--spark gap used to protect against lighting strikes

Mechanical accessories

  • Enclosure(electrical)
  • Heat sink
  • Fan


  • Printed circuit boards
  • Lamp
  • Waveguide
  • Memristor


  • Carbon amplifier
  • Carbon arc
  • Dynamo(historic rf generator)
  • Coherer

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