Components Sitemap - Page 1 2016-09-26

Types of Capacitors
Description and discussion of various types of capacitors including ceramic, electrolytic and film along with their applications.

How Components Fail and How to Identify Failed Components
Reasons why components fail , how they do so, and methods to identify a failed component including testing, sound, smell and visible indicators.

Types of Solder Flux for Use in Electronics
Soldering components is an essential element of electronics. Solder does not always bond well to components which can result in a bad solder joint, bridged pins, or even no joint at all. The solution to solder bonding issues is the use of a flux agent and the right temperature.

Components 101
Complete electronic components descriptions, selection guides, and component applications from basic passive components to advanced semiconductors.

Applications of Inductors - Filters, Sensors and More
As one of the basic passive components, inductors have a long a rich history in electronics from starting engines to helping deliver power to your house. The applications of inductors are varied but limited by the physical size of inductors.

Electronics Design
Electronics design articles and guides covering electronic specifications, schematics, prototyping, testing, troubleshooting and more.

Top Ten Most Common Circuits
Electronic products are often complex masses of circuits, but as you peel back the layers of any complex electronic product, common circuits, subsystems and modules are repeatedly found.

Types of Oscilloscopes
Oscilloscopes are one of the mainstays of an electronics lab and are essential for anyone designing electronics, troubleshooting, or working with high speed electronics. Oscilloscopes are one of the few pieces of electronics equipment that plays multiple roles and can be used in the place of other electronics equipment. A number of types of oscilloscopes are available for the hobbyist and professional alike.

Power Resistors - Electronics Parts and Functions
Most electronics applications use low power resistors, typically an 1/8th watt or less. However, applications such as power supplies, dynamic brakes, power conversion, amplifiers, and heaters often demand high power resistors. Generally high power resistors are resistors that are rated for 1 watt or greater loads and are available in to the kilowatt range.

Largest Electronic Parts Distributors
With millions of electronic parts available from around the world, finding the right part, in stock, and for the right price can be difficult. Luckily there are several worldwide electronic parts distributors that provide services for hobbyists to OEMs. Many of the global electronics distributors also provide a number of tools to manage projects as well as design services to help build that next product.

Basic Electronics Concepts and Theory
Electronics Concepts and Theory - The basics of circuits, semiconductors, digital circuits, communication protocols, and system design.

Basic Circuit Laws
Understanding these basic rules is critical for anyone designing a circuit, electronics, or an electrical system.

Five Basic Raspberry Pi Projects
At $35, the Raspberry Pi is almost an impulse purchase. Once its in your hands, its basic nature calls out for it to be used in some great projects. While its always tempting to jump in and build something completely mindblowing, it pays to start with a few easy projects and learn the system before jumping in to the deep end and experiencing frustration.

Driving Stepper Motors at High Speed
Stepper motors are one of the simpler motors to implement in electronics designs where a level of precision and repeatability is needed. Unfortunately, the construction of stepper motors places a rather low speed limitation on the motor, much lower than the speed the electronics can drive the motor. When high speed operation of a stepper motor is required the difficultly of implementation increases as a number of factors begin to come in to play.

Lessons in Electronics
Learn electronics and electronics design through lessons, courses and practical design walkthroughs.

Using a Hot Air Rework Station for PCB Repair
Hot air rework stations are an incredibly useful tool when building PCBs. Rarely will a board design be perfect and often chips and components need to be removed and replaced during the troubleshooting process. Attempting to remove an IC without damage is nearly impossible without a hot air station. These tips and tricks for hot air rework will make replacing components and ICs much easier.

Five Best Arduino Shields
The success and versatility of the Arduino platform has been driven by its community of supporters and the expansion shield developed by the community. Arduino shields bring nearly an endless opportunity for expansion and projects, only limited by what shield are available or your own ability to make a new shield. Luckily with the abundance of shields, almost any feature can already be found on an Arduino shield.

Overview of the I2C Protocol
Developed by Philips in the 1980's, I2C has become one of the most common serial communication protocols in electronics. I2C enables communication between electronic components or IC to IC, whether the components are on the same PCB or connected via a cable. The key feature of I2C is the ability to have a vast number of components on a single communication bus with only two wires which makes I2C perfect for applications that demand simplicity and low cost over speed.

Free PCB and EDA Design Software Packages
Several PCB design and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) packages are available for free that provide a great alternative to the premium, full featured IDEs that can run thousands of dollars. Most of these packages include schematic capture, output to gerber or extended gerber formats, and have relatively few design limitations.

Design for Manufacturing and Reliability
Read how to design electronic products for manufacturing and reliability. Design techniques, considerations, materials, selection, layout, and more!

Three Main Failure Modes of Electronics
Everything fails at some point and electronics are no exception. Knowing these three major failure modes can help designers plan for expected failures.

Types of Solder for the Right Application
Choosing the right solder is important to get a good electrical connection that will last the life of the circuit and not be a point of failure.

How Electronics Work: Semiconductor Basics
All electronics start with semiconductor devices and understanding how these devices work is essential for any electronics design or troubleshooting.

Essential Electronics Laboratory Equipment
While specialty pieces of equipment may be essential for your application, the essential pieces of equipment are the same for nearly any electronics lab.

PCB Component Troubleshooting Techniques
PCB troubleshooting can be a task that taxes both the will and the mind. Luckily there are a few techniques that can speed up the search for the 'feature.'

What Are Applications of Capacitors?
One of the most ubiquitous passive components is the capacitor, found in nearly every electronic device ever made. They have many uses and applications.

Types of Voltage Regulators
When a steady, reliable voltage is needed, voltage regulators are the go-to component. They take an input voltage and create a regulated output voltage

Choosting Between Stepper Motors or Servo Motors
Cost considerations, torque, speed, acceleration, and drive circuitry all play a role in selecting the best motor for your application.

Types of Inductors in Electronics
Various inductors have important applications in electronics. They are available for noise suppression, radio frequency, signals, isolation, and more.

Resistor Applications, Form Factors, and Types
The most basic passive component, the resistor, may seem like simple components with few applications, but it has a wide range of types.

Electronics Companies
Electronics companies. Components.

The History of Samsung Group: South Korean Tech Company
The Samsung Group is a South Korean based conglomerate company that includes a number of subsidiaries and is primarily known for its technology.

Selecting Between I2C and SPI for Your Project
Choosing between I2C and SPI, the two main serial communication options, can be quite a challenge and have a significant impact on the design of a project.

Overview of How Voltage Regulators Work
Voltage regulators are a common feature in many electronic products to ensure that a constant, stable voltage is supplied to sensitive electronics.

Applications of Diodes in Modern Electronics
The simplest semiconductor component, the diode, has an astonishing number of applications that are enabled by types of diodes vital in modern electronics.

Thermistor Low-Cost Temperature Sensor
One of the most common types of temperature sensors on the market is the thermistor. Thermistors are low-cost sensors that are very rugged and are the temperature sensor of choice for applications that require high sensitivity and good accuracy.

Types of Resistors (Advantages and Limitations)
All resistors are not created equal, however. Each type of resistor has significant differences, making some resistors ideal in some applications and a source of troubleshooting nightmares in others.

Texas Instruments Company Profile
Texas Instruments, or TI, is one of the largest and most influential US companies in the electronics industry. In this article we explore the history of TI, career opportunities, and culture of a company that has greatly influenced the modern world.

Career Resources
Looking for that great job that will give your career the boost it needs? Follow these links to find the opportunity you're seeking, from an entry-level technician job to a senior engineering position.

Electronic Components and Products
Read electronic component and product reviews, ratings, rankings and find FAQs and selection guides to help you understand and select the best components and equipment for your application.

Electronics Glossary
Find definitions and explanations of various electronics terms and specifications. Learn what a certain term or phrase means, how you can interpret it, and how it relates to the product you're considering.

PCB Design
Explore PCB design challenges and techniques used in analog, digital, mixed-signal, and high speed digital designs.

Electronics Software
Read electronics design software reviews, guides, and selection criteria to help you understand and select the best electronics design software on the market today.

Thermal Management
Thermal management technology, simulation, and practical design techniques.


Laser Diodes
Laser diodes are the most common type of laser in the world with thousands of applications due to their low cost, good overall performance, and ease of control. This article covers the basics of laser diodes and touches on some of the performance limitations and constraints of laser diodes.

Comparator Basics - an Expert Guide
In electronics, it is often useful to compare two voltages and identify which voltage is larger. While operational amplifiers can be used in this application, a dedicated comparator microchip can operate faster, more reliably, and often has additional features which reduce component counts and provide better responses.

Lithium-Ion Battery Safety
Lithium-ion batteries power the portable electronic product market giving us great battery life in a light weight package. Unfortunately, lithium ion batteries have safety issues that can result in the battery catching on fire or exploding, destroying the device and possibly hurting anyone near the battery.

How to Prevent Electrostatic Discharge
Electrostatic Discharge, ESD, is a serious reliability issue with electronics, reducing the life of products and destroying electronic components. Preventing ESD begins in the laboratory with methods to reduce the chance for static to build up and to allow static charges to be dissipated safely, rather than through sensitive electronics.

Proximity Sensors - Component Overview
Proximity sensors are a class of sensor that detect the presence of a nearby object without making physical contact with the object.

Welcome to Components on
The Components section of provides current, in-depth information about electronic components, electrical and computer engineering, electronics design, product development, and engineering issues. Find out about companies, suppliers, tools, and techniques that will make your next project easier and smoother.

Field Effect Transistors
Field effect transistors are some of the most important types of transistors today. They operate very much like BJT transistors with only a few key differences.

Electric Current
The basics of electric current. Use the analogy of flowing water in pipes and ignore the historical blunder made by Benjamin Franklin reversing the polarity of the charge the moves in electric current.

Best Raspberry Pi Projects of 2013
The Raspberry Pi came in to its own in 2013 with an extensive lineup of amazing accessories and fantastic projects built on the Pi Platform. Check out these top 5 Raspberry Pi Projects of 2013.

Digital to Analog Converter Overview
When digital electronics need to control analog systems, a Digital to Analog Converter, or DAC, is a great option. DACs do exactly what it sounds like, they take a digital input and turn it into an analog output signal. This article provides an overview of DACs.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Circuit Boards
Soldering circuit boards leaves a lot of residue that changes how the circuit will behave. Cleaning the PCB with an ultrasonic cleaner designed for circuit boards is the best way to clean a PCB.

Common Power Circuits
Electronic products are often complex masses of circuits, but as you peel back the layers of any complex electronic product, common circuits, subsystems and modules are repeatedly found. This article discusses the most common power related circuits used in electronics.

Maxim Integrated Products Company Profile
Maxim Integrated Products, or just Maxim, has grown to be one of the largest US based semiconductor companies in only 30 years. In this article we explore the history of Maxim, career opportunities, and culture of a company that was started with nine people and a two page business plan.

The History of Analog Devices
Analog Devices is a US based semiconductor company headquartered in Norwood Massachusetts. Also known as ADI, Analog Devices specializes in data conversion and signal conditioning devices. ADI has almost a 50% share of the data conversion market in the world. In addition to data conversion, Analog Devices is a leading manufacturer of analog, mixed-signal, and digital signal processing ICs. Their technology is used to electronically sense the real world by measuring light, sound, temperature, motion, and pressure and converting those signals in to usable data.

The History of Broadcom
Broadcom is a fabless semiconductor company that is focused on the wireless and broadband communication industries. As a fabless semiconductor company, Broadcom does not own any semiconductor manufacturing capability, but rather focuses on designing products and using 3rd party manufacturers to produce their technology. Broadcom is one of the top semiconductor companies by revenue, with $7.39 billion in revenue in 2011.

Molex Company
One of the largest suppliers of electronic interconnectors in the world, Molex Inc., provides electronic, electrical, and fiber-optic interconnection solutions. With a product catalog of over 100,000 products and facilities in 19 countries, Molex supplies interconnect products for nearly every industry and application including the computer, telecommunications, office equipment, military, industrial, entertainment and the automotive industries.

Western Digital history
Western Digital Corporation (WD) is a US based company and one of the largest hard drive manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1970, Western Digital started as a manufacturer of metal oxide semiconductor test equipment but quickly changed direction to focus on the data storage market.

Atmel History
Atmel Corporation is a U.S. based semiconductor manufacturer that focuses on memory, microcontrollers, radio frequency products, and application specific devices. Atmel supplies products tailored for the consumer, communications, computer networking, industrial, automotive, aerospace, and military sectors. Over the last decade, Atmel has begun to focus more and more on their line of microcontroller products.

Dell Early History
Dell, Inc. is a large direct sale computer vendor based in the U.S. Starting in 1984 out of Michael Dell’s dorm room, Dell grew to the largest direct sale computer vendor in the world, selling servers, desktops, laptops, workstations, printers, monitors, storage solutions, and other computer peripherals.

Micron Company History
Micron Technology is a U.S. based company with subsidiaries in the computer, semiconductor, and electronics industries. Most of Micron’s revenues come from their DRAM product lines and flash memory. In 2010, revenues exceeded $8 billion with over 25,000 employees worldwide.

nVidia Early History
nVidia Corporation, a graphics processor company based in the U.S. is one of the leading companies in the graphics market. nVidia quickly became one of the major players in the graphics industry but remains locked in a battle for the top position in the market with ATI/AMD.

SanDisk Coporation History
SanDisk is a U.S. based multinational corporation that specializes in delivering data storage solutions and technology. SanDisk produces several types of flash memory, from USB and removable storage memory products to embedded products for cameras, mobile phones, and other electronics. Based in Silicon Valley, SanDisk is a S&P 500 company with over half of its nearly $6 billion in sales coming from overseas operations.

Toshiba Corporation Early History
The Toshiba Corporation is one of the largest Japanese and Asian semiconductor and electronics companies. Toshiba has a very diverse line of products ranging from consumer products, industrial electronics, semiconductors, displays, and specialty products for industries including medical and nuclear power.

Oscilloscope Overview
Oscilloscopes are one of the mainstays of an electronics lab and are essential for anyone designing electronics, troubleshooting, or working with high speed electronics. Oscilloscopes are one of the few pieces of electronics equipment that plays multiple roles and can be used in the place of other electronics equipment. Add-ons and special probes can be used to increase and expand functionality, turning oscilloscopes in to research and data capturing tools for nearly any physical stimuli

Wiring and Cable Routing
Routing wiring and cabling is an area of product design that is easy to push off until the last minute where suddenly problems and challenges can pop up. Planning for wiring and cabling harnesses and routing early can save a few headaches and reduce potential problems caused by poorly routed cables that can lead to redesigns.

Top Raspberry Pi Accessories and Addons
The Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular development platforms in the world, especially in its performance class. While the Raspberry Pi is very impressive out of the box, it does have a lot of limitations. With the next version of the Raspberry Pi not due for over a year, these top five best Raspberry Pi accessories can take the Raspberry Pi to the next level right now.

Product Design – Importance of Usability and User Experience
In the high-tech world of startups, design and user experience has become an essential element of a good product in software and hardware. Few companies exemplify good design better than Apple Computer, which has placed the user experience and sleek intuitive design at the forefront of their product design philosophy. Their focus on the user experience and good design has won them legions of followers, awards, and record sales.

Removing Solder Mask
Even with the careful reviews and good PCB design practices, mistakes can still slip through. When that happens either all work can come to a halt as the PCB is redesigned in software and a new board is made, or the PCB can be rewired by hand to continue testing and evaluation. Of course to modify the traces on a PCB and successfully rewire it, you first need to remove the solder mask from the PCB so you can access the traces. Luckily there are a few safe and reliable techniques that you can use to remove solder mask from a circuit board.

Raspberry Pi Projects and Resources
The affordably powerful Raspberry Pi has seen its adoption and user community grow at an amazing rate. Designed as a platform to learn programming and electronics through doing, once a Raspberry Pi is in your hands there is one key question - What Raspberry Pi project should I make? With some stellar examples, often complete with code, beginning with an existing project is a great way to start learning before branching out and creating your own Raspberry Pi projects.

Raspberry Pi Development Board
The open source and open hardware Raspberry Pi development platform was designed as a low-cost mini computer for exploring programming, tinkering with electronics, and DIY projects. For the low cost of only $35, the Raspberry Pi delivers a raw, unrefined experience that is provokes the response the designers of the Raspberry Pi wanted - exploring the capabilities of the development platform.

Five Raspberry Pi Projects
At $35, the Raspberry Pi is almost an impulse purchase. Once it’s in your hands, its basic nature calls out for it to be used in some great projects. While its always tempting to jump in and build something completely mind blowing, it pays to start with a few easy projects and learn the system before jumping in to the deep end and experiencing frustration.

Overview of Breadboards
Breadboards are one of the key prototyping tools for hobbyists and professionals, even with their limitations. Solderless breadboards are one of the fastest ways to put a circuit together, change a circuit and rapidly test it. Best of all the solderless breadboard requires little planning, but does require a good collection of components to be able to build or test circuits readily.

Breadboard Tips and Tricks
Breadboards are one of the key prototyping tools for hobbyists and professionals, even with their limitations. Solderless breadboards are one of the fastest ways to put a circuit together, change a circuit and rapidly test it. Best of all the solderless breadboard requires little planning, but does require a good collection of components, knowledge of their limitations, and a few tricks to get the most out of them.

Level Shifting Overview
Digital communication in electronics is essential for modern electronics, but the variety of voltages used can make communication between digital systems a challenge. Digital logic levels are based on voltage levels that represent high and low signals. Depending on the standard used, a signal could be misread or worse, cause damage to the circuit. Shifting the voltage level of the logic signal through the use of level shifting circuitry is a great way to maintain communication between digital systems that use different voltages.

Getting Started with PCB Design
After a circuit has been designed and tested in simulations or on a breadboard, the focus shifts to designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for the circuit. Designing a PCB can be as just as complicated as designing the original circuit and good design is essential for a circuit to work properly and reliably.

Surface Mount Soldering Basics
Soldering surface mount components is relatively simple with a little practice and the right techniques. These tips and tricks for soldering surface mount components will make soldering surface mount much easier.

OLED Display Technology Overview
Organic light emitting diodes or OLEDs are a class of LEDs that have emerged as a one of the major display technologies, combining great colors and contrast with low power. Their performance has driven their adoption in the consumer electronics and cell phone markets. OLEDs offer the potential for very low cost displays using continuous film printing techniques and transparent flexible displays

Stepper Motor Basics
A stepper motor is a DC motor that turns in discrete steps. At each step, the motor holds its position without requiring power. This eliminates the need for feedback positioning sensors as long as the motor is sized correctly and no steps are skipped. Removing the feedback requirement and the digital nature of a stepper motor makes it easy to integrate in to digital systems.

Resistors - The Basics
Resistors are one of the most common passive electrical components and are found in almost every electronic circuit. Resistor applications vary widely, from current limiting, heating, sensing, voltage drops, and feedback loops are a few common examples. A resistor limits the amount of current that can flow through a circuit based the resistance of the resistor. Electrical resistance is measured in ohms and can determined through the use of Ohms Law which is one of the most fundamental equations in electrical engineering.

Reading Datasheets
Datasheets are the key to using electronic components. They explain how a component works and responds, its electrical specifications, and how it should be used (sometimes even with example circuits!). The biggest challenge in using a datasheet is that they are written by engineers for engineers and a certain level of familiarity with the class of component is generally expected. This makes reading and using datasheets difficult for the beginner, where terminology won't be explained and assumptions in circuit design and operation may be made without explanations Even with this technical hurdle, datasheets are the best and sometimes only source of technical information on a component making them an essential element to anyone using electrical components.

How Components Behave in the Real World
The ideal world of electronics, schematics, simulations, and circuit diagrams have one fatal flaw; no electronic device is ideal. Resistors have capacitance and often inductance, inductors have resistance and capacitance, capacitor leads are inductive and they are not perfect insulators, and even wire and PCB traces have inductance and capacitance. These real life properties of components often have a big impact on the performance of a circuit, especially in high frequency electronics.

Teardown of a Blu-ray Drive and the Optical Pickup Head
The optical pickup head found in every CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drive is a marvel of engineering and optical design that is all around us but rarely seen. In this article, we peel back the insides of a Blu-ray drive to uncover the incredibly complex and reliable optical and electrical system inside a Blu-ray drive.

The Teardown of a Blu-ray Drive
A Blu-ray drive teardown begins, exposing the mainboard and optical pickup head track of the drive. Page 2.

Optical Pickup Head: First Look
The optical pickup head of a Blu-ray drive is revealed during the teardown of a Blu-ray drive. Page 3.

Blu-ray Optical Pickup Head
The first look at an optical pickup head from a Blu-ray drive. The optical pickup has two lasers, a blue 405nm and a red 650/780nm laser to write to Blu-ray and DVDs respectively. Page 4.

Inside a Blu-ray Optical Pickup Head
The first look inside an optical pickup head from a Blu-ray drive. The optical pickup has two lasers, a blue 405nm and a red 650/780nm laser to write to Blu-ray and DVDs respectively, and a complex optical path with real-time feedback to read and write to media. Page 5.

Internal Optics of Blu-ray Optical Pickup
The internal optical system of a Blu-ray optical pickup head is exposed revealing the multiple lasers, sensors, and motors used to deliver the real-time feedback required to read and write to CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. Page 6.