# What are the basic circuit elements?

All circuits must have three fundamental components. A voltage source, a conductive route, and a load are the three components. In order for current to flow across the circuit, a voltage source, such as a battery, is required. The second requirement is that there must be some way for the electrical signal to travel from one end of the circuit to the other. Conductors are used for this purpose; they can be wires, metal plates in a bus bar, or even electromagnetic waves traveling through space.

The third requirement for any circuit is that it must have a way to draw electricity away from the source and into the load. This is usually done with a switch that opens or closes a circuit between the source and the load. The switch may be a physical component such as a light switch or a mechanical component such as a relay.

In addition to these essential components, many circuits need additional components to perform specific functions. For example, a resistor reduces current flow through a circuit by making more difficult any path that would lead to an open circuit. An inductor slows down the rate at which current changes value; this is important in circuits that use high-voltage power sources, such as those found in cars, because it gives time for other parts of the circuit to be ready for the change in current direction.

## What three things make up a simple circuit?

Every circuit is made up of three primary parts:

• A conductive “path,” such as wire, or printed etches on a circuit board;
• A “source” of electrical power, such as a battery or household wall outlet, and,
• A “load” that needs electrical power to operate, such as a lamp.

## What components are necessary for a circuit to work?

A circuit is the path that an electric current takes, and a simple circuit has three components that are required to establish a working electric circuit: a voltage source, a conductive channel, and a resistor. Flows are what power circuits. A flow of electricity through a circuit causes elements within the circuit to heat up; this is called resistance. The more electrical current that flows through a circuit, the more heat it will produce.

The two main types of resistors are passive and active. Passive resistors don't affect the amount of current flowing through them, while active resistors can be controlled by a circuit element such as a switch or transistor.

Electricity is transmitted into homes and businesses over long distances from power stations to local substations where it is distributed among individual houses and businesses. Power lines transmit electricity from the substation to people's homes and businesses using copper wires that connect the two locations together. An electrical storm can cause damage to these wires, which may lead to power outages until they can be repaired by a utility worker. Electric motors also use conductors to transmit electricity, but they operate on magnetic principles rather than wire cables. They require no contact with either metal or electricity to function, which means that they can be used in extremely high-voltage environments without being damaged.

## What elements are used in circuits?

1. Electrical circuit components The resistor, capacitor, and inductor (see Fig. 1.1) are basic circuit components that enforce linear connections between voltage and current. All electrical circuits contain at least three components: a power source, a load, and sometimes a switch to turn the circuit on and off. These components determine what type of circuit you have: constant-current circuit, constant-voltage circuit, or hybrid circuit (see Fig. 1.2). A circuit breaker is an automatic device for opening a circuit if there is any danger of it being damaged by excessive current flow. The two main types of circuit breaker are thermal and magnetic. Thermal breakers use the heat from an overheated component to open the circuit, while magnetic breakers use a magnetic field generated by a changing current level to open the circuit.

Electricity flows from positive to negative through a conductor (piece of wire). Electricity cannot flow through a vacuum so all conductors must be surrounded by some kind of material that allows electricity to pass through it. This surrounding material is called insulation and it can be natural or manufactured. For example, copper wires inside a metal housing are insulated from each other by air gaps between the wires. In other cases, insulation may consist of solid materials such as ceramic or plastic.

##### Anthony Davisson

Anthony Davisson is an expert on antique cars and has been collecting them for over 30 years. He has amassed one of the largest collections of antique cars in the world, including some of the most rare and unique models. Anthony has written many articles on the subject of antique cars and has been featured in magazines.

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