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Electronics Dictionary - C

cable Group of two or more insulated wires.
CAD Abbreviation for "computer aided design"
calibration To adjust the correct value of a reading by comparison to a standard.
capacitance The ability of a capacitor to store an electrical charge. The basic unit of capacitance is the Farad.
capacitive reactance The opposition to current flow provided by a capacitor. Capacitive reactance is measured in ohms and varies inversly with frequency.
capacitor An electronic component having capacitive reactance.
capacitor microphone Microphone whose operation depends on variations in capacitance caused by varying air pressure on the movable plate of a capacitor.
carbon microphone Microphone whose operation depends on pressure variation in carbon granules causing a change in resistance.
carbon resistor Resistor of fixed value made by mixing carbon granules with a binder which is moulded and then baked.
carbon-film resistor Device made by depositing a thin carbon film on a ceramic form.
cascaded amplifier An amplifier with two or more stages arranged in a series configuration.
cascode amplifier A high frequency amplifier made up of a common-source amplifier with a common-gate amplifier in its drain network.
cathode The negative terminal electrode of a device. The "N" material in a junction diode.
cathode ray tube (CRT) Vacuum tube used to display data in a visual form. Picture tube of a television or computer terminal.
cell Single unit used to convert chemical energy into a DC electrical voltage.
center frequency Frequency to which an amplifier is tuned. The frequency half way between the cut-off frequencies of a tuned circuit.
center tap Midway connection between the two ends of a winding.
center tapped rectifier Circuit that make use of a center tapped transformer and two diodes to provide full wave rectification.
center tapped transformer A transformer with a connection at the electrical center of a winding.
ceramic capacitor Capacitor in which the dialectric is ceramic.
charge Quantity of electrical energy.
charge current Current that flows to charge a capacitor or battery when voltage is applied.
chassis Metal box or frame into which components are mounted.
chassis ground Connection to a chassis.
chebyshev filter A type of active filter characterized by high roll-off rates (40 dB per decade per pole) and midband gain that is not constant.
choke Inductor used to oppose the flow of alternating current.
circuit Interconnection of components to provide an electrical path between two or more components.
circuit breaker A protective device used to open a circuit when current exceeds a maximum value. In effect a reusable fuse.
clamper A diode circuit used to change the DC level of a waveform without distorting the waveform.
clapp oscillator A variation of the Colpitts oscillator. An added capacitor is used to eliminate the effects of stray capacitance on the operation of the basic Colpitts oscillator.
class A amplifier A linear amplifier biased so the active device conducts through 360 degrees of the input waveform.
class B amplifier An amplifier with two active devices. The active components are biased so that each conducts for approximately 180 degrees of the input waveform cycle.
class C amplifier An amplifier in which the active device conducts for less than 180 degrees of the input waveform cycle.
clipper A diode circuit used to eliminate part of a waveform
clipping Distortion caused by overdriving an amplifier.
clock A square waveform used for synchronizing and timing of several circuits.
closed circuit Circuit having a complete path for current flow.
closed-loop gain Gain of an amplifier when a feedback path is present.
coaxial cable Transmission line in which the signal carrying conductor is covered by a dialectric and another conductor.
coefficient of coupling The degree of coupling between two circuits.
coercive force (H) Magnetizing force needed to reduce residual magnetism in a material to zero.
collector The semiconductor region in a bipolar junction transistor through which a flow of charge carriers leaves the base region.
collector characteristic curve A graph of collector voltage over collector current for a given base current.
color code Set of colors used to indicate value of a component.
colpitts oscillator An oscillator with a pair of tapped capacitors in the feedback network.
common base amplifier A BJT circuit in which the base connection is common to both input and output.
common cathode display A multisegment light emitting diode (LED) with a single negative voltage input connection. Separate anode connections are provided for each individual segment.
common collector amplifier A BJT circuit in which the collector connection is common to both input and output.
common drain amplifier A FET circuit in which the drain connection is common to both input and output.
common emitter amplifier A BJT circuit in which the emitter connection is common to both input and output.
common gate amplifier A FET circuit in which the gate connection is common to both input and output.
common source amplifier A FET circuit in which the source connection is common to both input and output.
common-anode display A multisegment light emitting diode (LED) with a single positive voltage input connection. Separate cathode connections are provided for each individual segment.
common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) The ratio of op-amp differential gain to common-mode gain. A measure of an op-amp's ability to reject common-mode signals such as noise.
common-mode signals Signals that appear simultaneously at two inputs of an operational amplifier (op-amp). Common mode signals are always equal in amplitude and phase.
comparitor An op-amp circuit that compares two inputs and provides a DC output indicating the polarity relationship between the inputs.
complementary symmetry amplifier A class B amplifier using matched complementry transistors. Does not require a phase inverter for push-pull output.
complementry transistors Two transistors, one NPN and one PNP having near identical charastics. N-channel and P-channel FETs can also be complementry.
complex numbers Numbers composed of a real number part and an imaginary number part.
compliance The maximum possible peak-to-peak output of an amplifier.
constant current circuit Circuit used to maintain constant current to a load having resistance that changes.
contact Current carrying part of a switch, relay or connector.
continuity Occurs when a complete path for current exists.
conventional current flow Concept of current produced by the movement of positive charges towards the negative terminal of a source.
copper loss Power lost in transformers, generators, connecting wires and other parts of a circuit due to current flow through the resistance of copper conductors.
core Magnetic material within a coil used to concentrate the magnetic field.
coulomb Unit of electric charge. A negative coulomb charge consists of 6.24 1018electrons.
counter electromotive force (counter emf) Voltage induced into an inductor due to an alternating or pulsating current. Counter emf is always in polarity opposite to that of the applied voltage. Opposing a change of current.
coupling To electronically connect two circuits so that signal will pass from one to the other.
covalent bond The way some atoms complete their valence shells by sharing valence electrons with neighbouring atoms.
crossover distortion Distortion caused by both devices in a class B amplifier being cut-off at the same time.
crowbar Circuit used to protect the output of a souce from a short circuited load. Load current is limited to a value the source can deliver without damage.
CRT Abbreviation for cathode ray tube.
crystal Natural or synthetic piezoelectric or semiconductor material with atoms arranged with some degree of geometric regularity.
crystal-controlled oscillator Oscillator that uses a quartz crystal in its feedback path to maintain a stable output frequency.
current Measured in amperes, it is the flow of electrons through a conductor. Also know as electron flow.
current amplifier Amplifier to increase signal current.
current divider Parallel network designed to divide the total current of a circuit
current feedback Feedback configuration where a portion of the output current is fed back to the amplifier input.
current mirror Term used to describe the fact that DC current through the base circuit of a class B amplifier is approximately equal to the DC collector current.
current-limiting resistor Resistor in the path of current flow to control the amount of current drawn by a device.
cutoff Condition when an active device is biased such that output current is near zero or beyond zero.
cutoff frequency Frequency at which the power gain of an amplifier falls below 50% of maximum.
cycle When a repeating wave rises from zero to a positive maximum then back to zero and on to a negative maximum and back to zero it is said to have completed one cycle

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