# Basic Electronic Components Used in Circuits

I learned about the basic electronic components by going to the library and reading books.

I was just starting out.

And I felt like a lot of the books explained everything in a difficult way.

In this article, I will give you a simple overview, with an explanation of the basic electronic components – what they are and what they do.

FREE Bonus: Download Basic Electronic Components [PDF] – a mini eBook with examples that will teach you how the basic components of electronics work.

## The Most Common Basic Electronic Components

These are the most common components:

• Resistors
• Capacitors
• LEDs
• Transistors
• Inductors
• Integrated Circuits

### Resistor

Find the resistor symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

I didn’t understand the resistor in the beginning.

It didn’t seem to do anything! It was just there, consuming power. But with time, I learned that the resistor is actually extremely useful.

You’ll see resistors everywhere. And as the name suggests, they resist the current.

But you are probably wondering: What do I use it for?

You use the resistor to control the voltages and the currents in your circuit.

How?

Let’s say you have a 9V battery and you want to turn on a Light-Emitting Diode (LED).

If you connect the battery directly to the LED, LOTS of current will flow through the LED!

Much more than the LED can handle. So the LED will become very hot and burn out after a short amount of time.

But – if you put a resistor in series with the LED, you can control how much current is going through the LED.

In this case, we call it a current-limiting resistor.

It’s also possible to find adjustable/variable resistors. This is called a potentiometer and it has three pins.

### Capacitor

Find the capacitor symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

You can think of a capacitor as a battery with very low capacity.

You can charge and discharge it just like a battery.

The capacitor is often used to introduce a time-delay in a circuit.

For example to blink a light.

It’s commonly used for removing noise, or making the supply voltage of a circuit more stable.

There are many capacitor types. Most commonly, we divide them into polarized and non-polarized capacitors.

### Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Find the LED symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

A Light Emitting Diode – or LED for short – is a component that can give light.

We use LEDs to give a visual feedback from our circuit.

For example to show that the circuit has power. But, you can also used them to make cool light-show circuits.

You see these components everywhere:

In your laptop, on your mobile phone, on your camera, in your car +++

And you can find many different types of LEDs.

A very common circuit to build as a beginner is the blinking light circuit.

### Transistor

Find the transistor symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

This is probably the hardest of the basic electronic components to understand.

But don’t worry, it’s not that hard.

A simple way is to look at the transistor as a switch controlled by an electrical signal.

If you put about 0.7 volts between the base and the emitter, you turn it on.

Note that this is true for NPN transistors. There are also other types, but worry about these later.

But, instead of having just two states (ON or OFF), it can also be “a bit on” by controlling the current that goes through its base.

A bit of current on the base produces a current of maybe 100 times more (depending on the transistor) through the Collector and Emitter. We can use this effect to build amplifiers.

I’ve previously made a video on how transistors work.

### Inductor

Find the inductor symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

Inductors are a bit weird.

It’s just a coil of wire – and you can make one yourself by making some loops out of a wire.

Sometimes they’re wound around a metal core of some sort.

They are often used to make radio oscillators, more efficient power supplies, and filters.

It’s not that often that I used one actually, but in my article What is an inductor? you can see how it works with some nice animations.

### Integrated Circuit

Find the integrated circuit symbol in the schematic symbols overview.

An Integrated Circuit (IC) consists of many basic electronic components.

It’s nothing mysterious or magical.

It’s just an electronic circuit that has been shrunk to fit inside a chip.

It could be an amplifier, it could be a microprocessor, it could be a USB to serial converter… It could be anything!

To figure out what a specific IC does, you can read its datasheet.

FREE Bonus: Download Basic Electronic Components [PDF] – a mini eBook with examples that will teach you how the basic components of electronics work.

## What to do next?

Now, you know a bit about the basic electronic components.

But don’t just read about it – take action and start building electronics:

Ohmify is an online academy for electronics. Learn to build your ideas with electronics, even if you have no experience from before. It includes a community forum where you can ask questions about what you are learning or if you’re stuck on your on project.

Do you understand the basic electronic components? Leave your comment or questions in the comment field below!

## More Electronic Components Tutorials

### 181 thoughts on “Basic Electronic Components Used in Circuits”

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I am recently joined in a laptop service center
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I just know little bit. If u tell me guide me or give me some tips
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18. If a circuit is not complete what happens?
What does a need so that it can work properly?

• If it is not complete, that is you don’t have a closed loop, then no current will flow and nothing will happen.

Cheers!
Oyvind

19. So a transistor is like a switch that i can put in halfway down a power wire for like an LED and turn it on from somewhere else with a switch that powers the transistor. And then transistor will turn the LED on and off by controlling the power flow into it. Have i got that right?

• Hey Chris,

I don’t understand what you mean by “put in halfway down a power wire”…
Can you clarify?

Cheers!
Oyvind

• yes and you have a low power remot control

20. Awesome simple language to clear basis concepts of electronic components.
Huge thanks Oyvind Nydal Dahl
Awaiting eagerly your forthcoming articles

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• You really know how to teach. I understand a bit now. I would like to learn more.

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25. Capacitors have been used in many appliances all around the world. From basic appliances like TV sets and microwaves to large satellites in space, capacitors have a function everywhere. Great post! Good that you share your practical knowledge.

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Thanks

• Hey John,

That’s great to hear! Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

Cheers!
Oyvind

31. All the info here are really useful since they are very short and to the point so we can clearly understand.. but can you explain what is a base Material(use in PCBs) and i’m doing a project about PCBs. can you advice me about the things that I have to include in my book?

32. it will be very helpfull. If you can make it clear on transistor and ic. Tnx

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34. Hello!

For all electronic fans, you will find here a lot of basic stuctures used in analog electronic:

shematronic.ddns.net

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• Thansk! =)
Oyvind

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• Great to hear! =)

Oyvind

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64. Hi bro thanks for this, am learning. please I like to download 10 Steps To Learn To Build Electronics, but it not download as I clicked on the download button…

• Hey, just follow the instructions and you should get to the download. If you get an error message, please let me know.

Best,
Oyvind

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66. Good day to you, I am trying to repair a PCB but am finding it difficult to procure the resistor that has blown. The resistor has specific coloured bands on it. Any suggestions on how to identify the manufacturer of this specific resistor?

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Thank you very much………

• I’m glad to hear that =)

Oyvind

70. You did a really good job explaining the parts of a circuit. I’m sure that I read similar books to you in the beginning and it always took me reading the information two or three times before it really sank in. I just wanted to learn how circuit boards worked and it didn’t take long to get in over my head. Your explanation is much better for a beginner and I feel like the books would have made much more sense if I had read this first.

• That’s great to hear!

Oyvind

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80. What are some things that use circuits

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82. Normally i purchase leds from led123.ca/en but i could not know how to build a led circuit board at home if you have some knowledge so you can share with because your this blog really helpful those who want to learn more about electricity

• I have made some DIYs before and last time it was a speaker with the led light. You should try more, it was not very difficult as long as you have the right introduction and all tools on hand.

83. Hi, can I download a book from your website, if so how.

84. What is an inductor

85. I’m one of the newbies and I must confess that i’ve learnt alot from your teachings As there are always very easy and simply to comprehend. Thanks!

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90. a device having a designed resistance to the passage of an electric current.

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101. Thanks very much
My teacher do not explain it well,
But you let me understand it very well
Thanks for help .

I think it’s a good start to learn PCB from this website.

103. I need hobby electronic PCB

104. thank you for this

105. Thank you for typing this up. I am trying to build a robot like baymax from Big Hero 6 by hand and looking up things used in computers, microchips, and codes that will help me in this case. I am willing to make it learn two languages and to do things like this, I need to know the basics and this article helps me understand what I need and how to use it.

• Sounds like a fun project!

Best,
Oyvind

106. It’s very useful to ece students especially me

107. what is the board used in it

108. It’s from starting… Helpful… Thank-you….😊

109. This is some really good information about circuit boards. I liked that you pointed out that LEDs can be a really great visual feedback. It is good to know that a can help you figure out if it is working properly.

110. Dear, i am confused about what you have written about resistor. I think when we connect a resistor in series with the led the current will remain same because in series current remain same but voltage divides so i think in this case the resistor act as a voltage limiting resistor.

• Hi,

A LED without the resistor in series will have a lot of current flowing through it. Let’s say 100 mA for the sake of the explanation. But if you add a 330 Ohm resistor in series with it, the current is 21mA.

The current is the same in the LED and in the resistor yes, but if you compare the circuit with and without a resistor – you’ll see that a resistor in series limits the current.

Best,
Oyvind

111. Hi. I’m having a difficult time finding your “Getting started with electronics” book in South Africa☹️Is the book available this side?

112. Thanks so much for this. I’m starting a new electronics blog and this information is really simple to understand and helpful.

113. Thank you for such essential tips. It would definitely help all following components.

114. Shout out to Øyvind! This blog post has stood the test of time, hasn’t it?

Wanted to bump an earlier comment from the summer of ’15 by Hugh Simpson (if that is your real name), turning me on to Fritzing (fritzing.org). Awesome software and community!

Thanks Øyvind, keep up the good work!

• Glad I could help!
Oyvind

115. good morning please i am new in this field and i have passion for this …I realii want to know how to get started…how to connect components in a dash board

116. electronic parts type is too much ，thank you ！ i have learned more about how to use

117. Hey now,
I have a box fan that stopped working. I tore it apart and found 1 electronic component, Besides the copper wire and the metal it was wrapped around.The component looks like a black box with a couple wires coming out of it. Can you tell me what this little black box is and what it does in relation to the workings of the fan? I actually have like 5 fans and they all have the same black box and all 5 don’t work. Could you help me understand what these boxes are all about? Some yahoo told me that they are capacitors, and that they help the fan start spinning, but if thats the case, why when I help the fan start spinning with my hand, they still don’t work. Whats up with that? By the way,your site is my goto electronics site when im confused.It helps me understand what the parts are and what they do, but my brain is confused when i look at all the parts, and i seem to instantly forget what they do, maybe some electric field fried my brain,but most likely…..I’m just stupid. Love the site and thank you from the bottom of my heart, nobody else is trying to teach people about this stuff in a way that’s understandable to the non electrician .
Sincerely, skin

118. It’s interesting

119. Great article, i have read all your articles. I am working at allchips limited from last month, i want learn more. Our website is electronic components supply chain, but no explain of them…

120. PLEASE sir, i want to build a mobile charger circuit diagram 100-220v AC circuits DIY i have gotten the diagram but i don’t know the value of the components that i will use please help me on that. it’s samuel

121. Very good and easy description…….
but understanding the capacitor, IC and transister were a bit difficult

122. I thought it was a really great piece of info, but you need to be more specific.

123. This is a great blog site for electronics hoviets, about the components used under the basics electronics and electronics sector, have been explained in detail in detail in this blag series, which is quite beneficial for those interested in electronics. Thanks

124. The way you explain flees my fears about electronics and inspires my passion to learn even more until I overflow with knowledge to share with technological knowledge based LOVE . . . . . . . .

125. expecting the best

126. thank you for this informative post..also if you can link back to your article which can tell us about rectifiers and how can we use them.

127. good overview of basic electronics components such as capacitors, transistors, Leds and resistors.

129. I want to learn more about problems of electronics

130. goood, the leature help

131. i also need more guid on circuit buiding

132. Such an interactive tutorial. Thank you so much for putting in your thoughts. I am sure it will help many. Great work :)

133. Excellent overview of basic electronics components such as capacitors, transistors, Leds and resistors.

134. I’m a US Navy Veteran aircraft electrician with an Associates degree in Electronics Technology. I worked with high frequency electronics in the defense industry until I became disabled with Lupus.

With all that experience, I must say your descriptions and methods of teaching are the best I’ve ever seen. Ohmify will help me teach some really cool stuff to my grandkids. Thank you!

• Wow, thanks a lot for those kind words Kathryn. I really appreciate it.

Oyvind

135. I love your method of teaching because ohmify use simple English sentence. Thank so much.