Basic Electronic Components and What They Do

All electronics are made using a variety of electronic components. Many of these electronics have a number of components in common even though they are very different in appearance and function. Although they gadget may not perform the same function, it is designed to behave in a similar way with regards to electricity. The most common electronic components include:


A diode has a positive and negative terminal which allows it to control the flow of current in a single direction.


Light-emitting diodes are diodes that emit light as current passes through them. The light may be used to provide information about the circuit or as a functional source of light to improve visibility or entertainment.

Integrated Circuits

These electrical components contain all of the components that make up an entire electronic circuit. These circuits can be used for everything from converting from USB-to-Serial to an amplifier.


Resistors resist the flow of electrical current according to their resistance values. For connections where more current will flow than the capacity of a component, the resistor can be used to control the amount of current and prevent it from burning it out.


A capacitor is somewhat like a rechargeable battery, storing energy until it is needed. Often, a capacitor is used as a time-delay but it can also remove noise or provide a steady flow of current to prevent interruption to the function of an electronic device.


Most of us have heard of transistor radios but don’t understand where the term comes from. Transistors are devices with three terminals of which one controls the flow of current across the other two. Current going into the transistor base is increased many times through a collector and emitter making transistors an important part of an amplifier.

There are many more electrical components used in all types of electronics today. These are the basics and the ones that are seen in a great variety of items many people use every day.