What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Electronic Components?
What are active and passive electronic components?
Although there’re thousands of electronic parts, they’re categorized into active and passive electronic components. These components are usually printed in circuit boards and act as the lifeblood of their respective modern electronic devices. Electronic components are diametrically different in terms of features and modes of operation. This article looks at various types of active and passive electronic parts and their functionalities.
Understanding Active Electronic Parts
Active components are electronic parts that extract power externally and deliver it to other devices or components. They have the ability to supply energy for an indefinite period of time until you connect an external source. Another notable feature about active electronic components is their ability to control current flow through the circuit.
These components are independent voltage sources, meaning their voltage is synonymous with the current flowing through the terminal. Good examples of active electronic parts include:
Transistors- these parts consume a small amount of voltage and amplify it to produce a massive power output. Transistors are some of the most critical semiconductors and are found in almost every circuit design. These components have several functions, including amplification, voltage regulation, and adjusting signals. Their packaging depends on the design of the device, meaning some are packed individually while others are packaged together.
Silicon Controlled Rectifiers- also known as SCRs are a type of a switch with cathode, anode, and gate terminals. The switch is open by default, with no current flowing through passing through the cathode and anode terminals. Passing a small current through the gate terminal closes the switch allowing a considerable amount of current to pass through the cathode and anode terminals.
Understanding Passive Electronic Components
Passive components refer to those electronic parts that cannot augment or simplify power signals in their respective component. They also can’t control electrical current from an external electrical signal. A notable feature of these components is their two terminals, which earn them the name two-port terminals. Passive components are categorized into:
Dissipative: these include passive components that cannot absorb power from external circuits.
Lossless: these lack the input and output net level flow.
Examples of passive components include:
Resistors- these are used for opposing current flow in a circuit. They achieve this by downing the voltage within the loop.
Capacitors- these have an electric field between the plates that help them store electrical energy. The feature qualifies them to be used as electronic device storage. Another function is that they help differentiate high and low-frequencies by filtering through the circuits.
Inductors- these are mostly found in power supply circuits and are used as power storage and delivery charge. One of their notable features is their low impedance on DC and high impedance on AC.
Significant Differences between Active and Passive Electronic Components
Active and passive electronic parts have several differences based on various parameters. These differences include:
Active components depend on an external source of energy, while passive components don’t require an additional source to operate.
Active parts are non-linear, while passive components are linear. This means that in the former, the voltage passing through the circuit is direct to the resistance, hence following the Ohm’s law. In the latter components, the output experiences amplification; thus, it won’t be linear to the resistance.
Passive components are used as storage devices, while active components are sources of energy in the form of voltage or current.
Active components have the capability of amplifying power, while passive components cannot provide power gain.
Active parts are capable of controlling current flow while passive components don’t have this ability.
Sourcing Hard to Find Electronic Components
While sourcing active and passive components, you need to deal with an electronic components distributor who understands their functions and differences. At Broadline Components, we have over 50 years of cumulative experience in electronic components distribution. We help our customers access the computer, military, aerospace, and automotive electronic components.