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A Project Report on


Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of Requirements to


For the award of the degree of


Submitted By
Regd No:1524008

Under the guidance of

Sri. A. Omkaramurthy, M.Sc., NET




(Accredited at the ‘A’ level by NAAC)

(Affiliated to Acharya Nagarjuna University)





(Reaccredited at the ‘A’ level by NAAC)

(Affiliated to Acharya Nagarjuna University)



This is to certify that the project report “ARDUINO SMOKE DETECTOR

USING MQ-2 GAS SENSOR” By Y. Gopinadh, Regd No:1524008 to “ACHARYA
& ELECTRONICS, J.K.C College, Guntur” in partial fulfilment requirements for the
award of the Degree of Bachelor of Sciences in Electronics during the academic year 2015-

Internal Guide Head of the Department

External Examiner

I hereby declare that the project entitled “ARDUINO SMOKE

Kuppuswamy Choudary College has not been in case duplicated to submit
to any other university for the award of the degree Bachelor of Sciences. To
the best of my knowledge other than me, no one has submitted this project
to any other university.

This project is done in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of
degree of Bachelor of Sciences ( to the submitted as final semester project
as part of our curriculum.




First of all, let me thank the god, my parents who are the most graceful and
merciful for their blessings that contributed to the successful completion of my
project work.

I, gracefully acknowledgement with thanks to Dr. T. Anuradha, M.Sc., M.S.,

M.Tech., Ph.D., Professor, Head of the Department of Computer Science &
Electronics, for providing the opportunity to undertake this project. I also thank
to Sri. A. Omkaramurthy, M.Sc., NET., my internal guide, for her valuable
adviceduring the become of the project, unreserved cooperation and moral
support provided by him and for the encouragement in completion of this




2.1 Description


4.1 MQ-2 Gas sensor
4.2 Arduino
4.3 16x2 Lcd display
4.4 Buzzer
4.5 Resistor
4.6 potentiometer


The aim of the proposed system is to develop a cost effective solution that will
provide controlling of homeappliances remotely and enable homesecurity
against intrusioninthe absence of homeowner. The home appliances control
system with an affordable cost was thought to be built that should be providing
remote access to the appliances and allowing homesecurity. Though devices
connected as home and office appliances consume electrical power. These
devices should be controlled as well as turn on/off if required. Most of the times
it was done manually. Now it is a necessity to control devices more effectively
and efficiently at anytime from anywhere. In this system,we are going to
develop a remotecontrol based home/office appliance. Remote control for home
appliances is an absolute necessity in our fast-paced life. As a result, much
important has been given to this aspect and a range of remote controls are
prevalent today. One of the most common is that which makes use of IR
radiations at particular frequencies. Our product is a Remote Operated Home
Appliance or Remote controlledHomeappliance. The circuit is connected to any
of the homeappliances(lamp, fan, radio, etc) to make the appliance turnon/off
romaTV,VCD, VCR,AirConditioner or DVD remote control. The circuit can be
activated from up to 10 meters. It is very easy to build and can be assembled on
a general-purpose PCB. For this purpose we mke a circuit that consist of a IR
module, CD4017 IC, LEDs to indicate the reception of the IR radiations,
otherwise indicating the ON/OFF state, relay and other components


TSOP1738 detects only those signals whose carrier frequency is around 38KHz.
Thus it is accomplished using Astable Multivibrator using 555 timer.

Output frequency of above circuit is about 35.2KHz. As per our experiment

TSOP1738 is detecting it but you will get more range if you use exact 38KHz.
You may also use 18K resistor instead of 20K which will produce 39KHz.
Better you can try a 20K preset for making accurate 38KHz.

2nd and 1st pins of TSOP1738 are used to give power, Vcc and Gnd
respectively. 100Ω resistor and 33μF capacitor is to suppress power supply
disturbances. When IR rays at 38KHz falls on TSOP1738, output (3ed pin) goes
low, since the output is active low. This output is amplified by the transistor Q1
and is given to the clock input of CD4017. 16th and 8th pins of CD4017 is used
to give power Vcc and Gnd respectively. Enable (13th pin) is tied to Gnd to
enable the IC, since it is an active low input. Output Q2 (4th pin) is connected to
Reset MR (15th pin) to make CD4017 a bistable multivibrator. During the first
clock signal Q0 becomes high, second clock signal makes Q1 high (Q0
becomes low) and the third clock signal makes Q0 high (since Q2 is connected
to MR, third clock signal resets the counter).


• CD4017 IC
• 555 Timer IC
• Resistor
• Capacitor
• Relay
• TSOP1738

555 timer IC:

The 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse
generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time
delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. Derivatives provide two
(556) or four (558) timing circuits in one package.[2]

Introduced in 1972[3] by Signetics,[4] the 555 is still in widespread use due to its
low price, ease of use, and stability. It is now made by many companies in the
original bipolar and in low-power CMOS technologies. As of 2003, it was
estimated that 1 billion units were manufactured every year. [5] The 555 is the
most popular integrated circuit ever manufactured.

The IC was designed in 1971 by Hans R. Camenzind under contract to Signetics

(later acquired by Philips Semiconductors, and now NXP).[3]

In 1962, Camenzind joined PR Mallory's Laboratory for Physical Science in

Burlington, Massachusetts.[5] He designed a pulse-width modulation (PWM)
amplifier for audio applications,[8] but it was not successful in the market
because there was no power transistor included. He became interested in tuners
such as a gyrator and a phase-locked loop (PLL). He was hired by Signetics to
develop a PLL IC in 1968. He designed an oscillator for PLLs such that the
frequency did not depend on the power supply voltage or temperature.
However, Signetics laid off half of its employees, and the development was
frozen due to a recession.[9]

Camenzind proposed the development of a universal circuit based on the

oscillator for PLLs, and asked that he would develop it alone, borrowing their
equipment instead of having his pay cut in half. Other engineers argued the
product could be built from existing parts, but the marketing manager bought
the idea. Among 5xx numbers that were assigned for analogue ICs, the special
number "555" was chosen.[5][9]

Camenzind also taught circuit design at Northeastern University in the morning,

and went to the same university at night to get a master's degree in Business
Administration.[10] The first design was reviewed in the summer of 1971. There
was no problem, so it proceeded to layout design. A few days later, he got the
idea of using a direct resistance instead of a constant current source, and found
that it worked. The change decreased the required 9 pins to 8, so the IC could be
fit in an 8-pin package instead of a 14-pin package. This design passed the
second design review, and the prototype was completed in October 1971. Its 9-
pin copy had been already released by another company founded by an engineer
who attended the first review and retired from Signetics, but they withdrew it
soon after the 555 was released. The 555 timer was manufactured by 12
companies in 1972 and it became the best selling product.

Part name

It has been falsely hypothesized that the 555 got its name from the three
5 kΩresistors used within,[11] but Hans Camenzind has stated that the part
number was arbitrary,[5] thus it's just a coincidence they matched. The "NE" and
"SE" letters of the original parts numbers (NE555 and SE555) were temperature
designations for analog chips from Signetics, where "NE" was commercial
temperature family and "SE" was military temperature family.


Depending on the manufacturer, the standard 555 package includes 25

transistors, 2 diodes and 15 resistors on a silicon chip installed in an 8-pin dual
in-line package (DIP-8).[12] Variants available include the 556 (a DIP-14
combining two complete 555s on one chip),[13] and 558 / 559 (both a DIP-16
combining four reduced-functionality timers on one chip).[2]

The NE555 parts were commercial temperature range, 0 °C to +70 °C, and the
SE555 part number designated the military temperature range, −55 °C to +125
°C. These were available in both high-reliability metal can (T package) and
inexpensive epoxy plastic (V package) packages. Thus the full part numbers
were NE555V, NE555T, SE555V, and SE555T.

Low-power CMOS versions of the 555 are also available, such as the Intersil
ICM7555 and Texas Instruments LMC555, TLC555,
TLC551.[14][15][16][17]CMOS timers use significantly less power than bipolar
timers, also CMOS timers cause less supply noise than bipolar version when the
output switches states. The ICM7555 datasheet claims that it usually doesn't
require a "control" capacitor and in many cases does not require a decoupling
capacitor across the power supply pins. For good design practices, a decoupling
capacitor should be included, however, because noise produced by the timer or
variation in power supply voltage might interfere with other parts of a circuit or
influence its threshold voltages.

Internal schematic

The internal block diagram and schematic of the 555 timer are highlighted with
the same color across all three drawings to clarify how the chip is

 Green: Between the positive supply voltage VCC and the ground GND is
a voltage divider consisting of three identical resistors, which create two
reference voltages at 1⁄3 VCC and 2⁄3 VCC. The latter is connected to the
"Control Voltage" pin. All three resistors have the same resistance, 5 kΩ
for bipolar timers, 40 kΩ (or other higher resistance values) for CMOS
timers. It is a false myth that the 555 IC got its name from these three
5 kΩ resistors.[5]
 Yellow: The comparator negative input is connected to the higher-
reference voltage divider of 2⁄3 VCC (and "Control" pin), and comparator
positive input is connected to the "Threshold" pin.
 Orange: The comparator positive input is connected to the lower-
reference voltage divider of 1⁄3 VCC, and comparator negative input is
connected to the "Trigger" pin.
 Purple: An SR flip-flop stores the state of the timer and is controlled by
the two comparators. The "Reset" pin overrides the other two inputs, thus
the flip-flop (and therefore the entire timer) can be reset at any time.
 Pink: The output of the flip-flop is followed by an output stage with
push-pull (P.P.) output drivers that can load the "Output" pin with up to
200 mA (varies by device).
 Cyan: Also, the output of the flip-flop turns on a transistor that connects
the "Discharge" pin to ground.


The IC 555 has three operating modes:

1. Astable (free-running) mode – the 555 can operate as an electronic

oscillator. Uses include LED and lamp flashers, pulse generation, logic
clocks, tone generation, security alarms, pulse position modulation and so
on. The 555 can be used as a simple ADC, converting an analog value to
a pulse length (e.g., selecting a thermistor as timing resistor allows the
use of the 555 in a temperature sensor and the period of the output pulse
is determined by the temperature). The use of a microprocessor-based
circuit can then convert the pulse period to temperature, linearize it and
even provide calibration means.
2. Monostable mode – in this mode, the 555 functions as a "one-shot" pulse
generator. Applications include timers, missing pulse detection, bounce-
free switches, touch switches, frequency divider, capacitance
measurement, pulse-width modulation (PWM) and so on.
3. Bistable (schmitt trigger) mode – the 555 can operate as a flip-flop, if the
DIS pin is not connected and no capacitor is used. Uses include bounce-
free latched switches.

Schematic of a 555 in astable mode

Waveform in astable mode (french)

See also: Electronic oscillator

In astable mode, the 555 timer puts out a continuous stream of rectangular
pulses having a specified frequency. Resistor R1 is connected between VCC and
the discharge pin (pin 7) and another resistor (R2) is connected between the
discharge pin (pin 7), and the trigger (pin 2) and threshold (pin 6) pins that share
a common node. Hence the capacitor is charged through R 1 and R2, and
discharged only through R2, since pin 7 has low impedance to ground during
output low intervals of the cycle, therefore discharging the capacitor.
In the astable mode, the frequency of the pulse stream depends on the values of
R1, R2 and C:

where R1 and R2 are the values of the resistors in ohms and C is the value of the
capacitor in farads.

The power capability of R1 must be greater than .

Particularly with bipolar 555s, low values of must be avoided so that the
output stays saturated near zero volts during discharge, as assumed by the above
equation. Otherwise the output low time will be greater than calculated above.
The first cycle will take appreciably longer than the calculated time, as the
capacitor must charge from 0V to 2⁄3 of VCC from power-up, but only from 1⁄3 of
VCC to 2⁄3 of VCC on subsequent cycles.

To have an output high time shorter than the low time (i.e., a duty cycle less
than 50%) a fast diode (i.e. 1N4148 signal diode) can be placed in parallel with
R2, with the cathode on the capacitor side. This bypasses R 2 during the high part
of the cycle so that the high interval depends only on R1 and C, with an
adjustment based the voltage drop across the diode. The voltage drop across the
diode slows charging on the capacitor so that the high time is a longer than the
expected and often-cited ln(2)*R1C = 0.693 R1C. The low time will be the same
as above, 0.693 R2C. With the bypass diode, the high time is

where Vdiode is when the diode's "on" current is 1⁄2 of Vcc/R1 which can be
determined from its datasheet or by testing. As an extreme example, when V cc=
5 and Vdiode= 0.7, high time = 1.00 R1C which is 45% longer than the
"expected" 0.693 R1C. At the other extreme, when Vcc= 15 and Vdiode= 0.3, the
high time = 0.725 R1C which is closer to the expected 0.693 R1C. The equation
reduces to the expected 0.693 R1C if Vdiode= 0.

The operation of RESET in this mode is not well-defined. Some manufacturers'

parts will hold the output state to what it was when RESET is taken low, others
will send the output either high or low.

The astable configuration, with two resistors, cannot produce a 50% duty cycle.
To produce a 50% duty cycle, eliminate R1, disconnect pin 7 and connect the
supply end of R2 to pin 3, the output pin. This circuit is similar to using an
inverter gate as an oscillator, but with fewer components than the astable
configuration, and a much higher power output than a TTL or CMOS gate. The
duty cycle for either the 555 or inverter-gate timer will not be precisely 50%
and will change based off any load that the output is also driving while high
(longer duty cycles for greater loads) due to the fact the timing network is
supplied from the devices output pin, which has different internal resistances
depending on whether it is in the high or low state (high side drivers tend to be
more resistive). However, on connecting the pin 7 directly to Vcc an extra
current will flow through transistor(within) when it is ON. This may damage the
transistor. An alternate method to set the duty cycle practically, is to connect a
diode parallel to pin 6 & 7. The operation of the diode when connected is
explained above. The resultant duty cycle is given as D=R2/(R1+R2). A series
resistor of 100 ohms must be added to each R1 and R2 to limit peak current of
the transistor(within) when R1 and R2 are at minimum level. This method of
adding a diode has a restriction of choosing R1 and R2 values. An alternate way
is to add a JK flip-flop to the output of non-symmetrical square wave generator.
But, with this the output frequency is one half of the timer.

Schematic of a 555 in monostable mode

Waveform in monostable mode

See also: RC circuit

In monostable mode, the output pulse ends when the voltage on the capacitor
equals 2⁄3 of the supply voltage. The output pulse width can be lengthened or
shortened to the need of the specific application by adjusting the values of R
and C.[20]

Assume initially the output of the monostable is zero, the output of flip-flop(Q
bar) is 1 so that the discharging transistor is on and voltage across capacitor is
zero. One of the input of upper comparator is at 2/3 of supply voltage and other
is connected to capacitor. For lower comparator, one of the input is trigger pulse
and other is connected at 1/3 of supply voltage. Now the capacitor charges
towards supply voltage(Vcc). when the trigger input is applied at trigger pin the
output of lower comparator is 0 and upper comparator is 0. The output of flip-
flop remains unchanged therefore the output is 0. when the voltage across
capacitor crosses the 1/3 of the vcc the output of lower comparator changes
from 0 to 1. Therefore, the output of monostable is one and the discharging
transistor is still off and voltage across capacitor charges towards vcc from 1/3
of vcc,

When the voltage across capacitor crosses 2/3 of VCC, the output of upper
comparator changes from 0 to 1, therefore the output of monostable is 0 and the
discharging transistor is on and capacitor discharges through this transistor as it
offers low resistance path. The cycle repeats continuously. The charging and
discharging of capacitor depends on the time constant RC.

The voltage across capacitor is given by vc = Vcc(1-e^(-t/RC)) at t=T, vc

=(2/3)Vcc therefore, 2/3Vcc=Vcc(1-e^(-T/RC)), T=RC ln(1/3), T=1.1 RC

The output pulse width of time t, which is the time it takes to charge C to 2⁄3 of
the supply voltage, is given by

where t is in seconds, R is in ohms (resistance) and C is in farads (capacitance).

While using the timer IC in monostable mode, the main disadvantage is that the
time span between any two triggering pulses must be greater than the RC time
constant.[21] Conversely, ignoring closely spaced pulses is done by setting the
RC time constant to be larger than the span between spurious triggers.
(Example: ignoring switch contact bouncing.)

Schematic of a 555 in bistable mode

See also: Schmitt trigger

In bistable mode, the 555 timer acts as a basic flip-flop. The trigger and reset
inputs (pins 2 and 4 respectively on a 555) are held high via pull-up resistors
while the threshold input (pin 6) is simply floating. Thus configured, pulling the
trigger momentarily to ground acts as a 'set' and transitions the output pin (pin
3) to VCC (high state). Pulling the reset input to ground acts as a 'reset' and
transitions the output pin to ground (low state). No timing capacitors are
required in a bistable configuration. Pin 7 (discharge) is left unconnected, or
may be used as an open-collector output.[22]

A 555 timer can be used to create a Schmitt trigger which converts a noisy input
into a clean digital output. The input signal should be connected through a series
capacitor which then connects to the trigger and threshold pins. A resistor
divider, from VCC to GND, is connected to the previous tied pins. The reset pin
is tied to VCC.

Texas Instruments NE555 in DIP-8 and SO-8 packages[1]

These specifications apply to the NE555. Other 555 timers can have different
specifications depending on the grade (military, medical, etc.). These values
should be considered "ball park" values, instead the current official datasheet
from the exact manufacturer of each chip should be consulted for parameter
limitation recommendations.

Supply voltage (VCC) 4.5 to 15 V

Supply current (VCC = +5 V) 3 to 6 mA

Supply current (VCC = +15 V) 10 to 15 mA

Output current (maximum) 200 mA

Maximum Power dissipation 600 mW

Power consumption (minimum operating) 30 mW@5V, 225 mW@15V

Operating temperature 0 to 75 °C


In 1972, Signetics originally released the 555 timer in DIP-8 and TO5-8 metal
can packages, and the 556 timer was released in DIP-14 package.[4]
Currently, the 555 is available in through-hole packages as DIP-8 and SIP-8
(both 2.54mm pitch),[23] and surface-mount packages as SO-8 (1.27mm pitch),
SSOP-8 / TSSOP-8 / VSSOP-8 (

0.65mm pitch), BGA (0.5mm pitch).[1] The Microchip Technology MIC1555 is

a 555 CMOS timer with 3 fewer pins available in SOT23-5 (0.95mm pitch)
surface mount package.[24]

The dual 556 timer is available in through hole packages as DIP-14 (2.54mm
pitch),[18] and surface-mount packages as SO-14 (1.27mm pitch) and SSOP-14
(0.65mm pitch).


Numerous companies have manufactured one or more variants of the 555, 556,
558 timers over the past decades as many different part numbers. The following
is a partial list: AMD, California Eastern Labs, CEMI, Custom Silicon
Solutions, Diodes Inc, ECG Philips, Estek, Exar, Fairchild, Gemini, GoldStar,
Harris, HFO, Hitachi, IK Semicon, Intersil, JRC, Lithic Systems, Maxim,
Micrel, MOS, Motorola, ON, Microchip, National, NEC, NTE Sylvania, NXP,
Philips, Raytheon, RCA, Renesas, Sanyo, Signetics, Silicon General, Solid State
Scientific, STMicroelectronics, Teledyne, TI, Unisonic, Wing Shing, X-REL,

CD 4017 IC-Decade Counter

4017 IC is a CMOS decade counter chip. It can produce output at the 10 pins
(Q0 – Q9) sequentially, means it produce output one by one at the 10 output
pins. This output is controlled through the clock pulse at PIN 14. At first, output
at Q0 (PIN 3) is HIGH, then with each clock pulse, output advance to the next
PIN. Like one clock pulse makes the Q0 LOW and Q1 HIGH, and then the next
clock pulse makes the Q1 LOW and Q2 HIGH, and so on. After the Q9, it will
start from the Q0 again. So it creates sequential ON and OFF of all the 10
OUTPUT PINs. Below is the PIN diagram and PIN description of 4017

N NO. PIN Name PIN Description

1 Q5 Output 5: Goes high in 5 clock pulse
2 Q1 Output 1: Goes high in 1 clock pulse
3 Q0 Output 0: Goes high at the beginning – 0 clock pulse
4 Q2 Output 2: Goes high in 2 clock pulse
5 Q6 Output 6: Goes high in 6 clock pulse
6 Q7 Output 7: Goes high in 7clock pulse
7 Q3 Output 3: Goes high in 3 clock pulse
8 GND Ground PIN
9 Q8 Output 8: Goes high in 8 clock pulse
10 Q4 Output 4: Goes high in 4 clock pulse
11 Q9 Output 9: Goes high in 9 clock pulse
CO –Carry Used to cascade another 4017 IC to makes it count upto
out 20, it is divide by 10 output PIN
CLOCK Clock enable pin, should kept LOW, keeping HIGH will
inhibit freeze the output.
Clock input, for sequentially HIGH the output pins from
Active high pin, should be LOW for normal operation,
setting HIGH will reset the IC (only Pin 3 remain HIGH)
16 VDD Power supply PIN (5-12v)

Counting operation of CD4017 using waveforms

 The supply voltage of this IC is 3V to 15V.
 It is compatible with TTL (Transistor -Transistor Logic).
 The clock speed or operational speed of CD4017 IC is 5 MHz.

This IC is also used in electronic industries, automotive industries,

manufacturing medical electronic devices, alarms and in electronic
instrumentation devices.

A capacitor is a passivetwo-terminalelectrical component that stores potential
energy in an electric field. The effect of a capacitor is known as capacitance.
While some capacitance exists between any two electrical conductors in
proximity in a circuit, a capacitor is a component designed to add capacitance to
a circuit. The capacitor was originally known as a condenser.[1]

The physical form and construction of practical capacitors vary widely and
many capacitor types are in common use. Most capacitors contain at least two
electrical conductors often in the form of metallic plates or surfaces separated
by a dielectric medium. A conductor may be a foil, thin film, sintered bead of
metal, or an electrolyte. The nonconducting dielectric acts to increase the
capacitor's charge capacity. Materials commonly used as dielectrics include
glass, ceramic, plastic film, paper, mica, and oxide layers. Capacitors are widely
used as parts of electrical circuits in many common electrical devices. Unlike a
resistor, an ideal capacitor does not dissipate energy.

When two conductors experience a potential difference, for example, when a

capacitor is attached across a battery, an electric field develops across the
dielectric, causing a net positive charge to collect on one plate and net negative
charge to collect on the other plate. No current actually flows through the
dielectric, however, there is a flow of charge through the source circuit. If the
condition is maintained sufficiently long, the current through the source circuit
ceases. However, if a time-varying voltage is applied across the leads of the
capacitor, the source experiences an ongoing current due to the charging and
discharging cycles of the capacitor.

Capacitance is defined as the ratio of the electric charge on each conductor to

the potential difference between them. The unit of capacitance in the
International System of Units (SI) is the farad (F), defined as one coulomb per
volt (1 C/V). Capacitance values of typical capacitors for use in general
electronics range from about 1 picofarad (pF) (10−12 F) to about 1 millifarad
(mF) (10−3 F).

The capacitance of a capacitor is proportional to the surface area of the plates

(conductors) and inversely related to the gap between them. In practice, the
dielectric between the plates passes a small amount of leakage current. It has an
electric field strength limit, known as the breakdown voltage. The conductors
and leads introduce an undesired inductance and resistance.

Capacitors are widely used in electronic circuits for blocking direct current
while allowing alternating current to pass. In analog filter networks, they
smooth the output of power supplies. In resonant circuits they tune radios to
particular frequencies. In electric power transmission systems, they stabilize
voltage and power flow.[2] The property of energy storage in capacitors was
exploited as dynamic memory in early digital computers.[3]

A capacitor consists of two conductors separated by a non-conductive region.[17]

The non-conductive region can either be a vacuum or an electrical insulator
material known as a dielectric. Examples of dielectric media are glass, air,
paper, plastic, ceramic, and even a semiconductordepletion region chemically
identical to the conductors. From Coulomb's law a charge on one conductor will
exert a force on the charge carriers within the other conductor, attracting
opposite polarity charge and repelling like polarity charges, thus an opposite
polarity charge will be induced on the surface of the other conductor. The
conductors thus hold equal and opposite charges on their facing surfaces, [18] and
the dielectric develops an electric field.

An ideal capacitor is characterized by a constant capacitanceC, in farads in the

SI system of units, defined as the ratio of the positive or negative charge Q on
each conductor to the voltage V between them:[17]

A capacitance of one farad (F) means that one coulomb of charge on each
conductor causes a voltage of one volt across the device.[19] Because the
conductors (or plates) are close together, the opposite charges on the conductors
attract one another due to their electric fields, allowing the capacitor to store
more charge for a given voltage than when the conductors are separated,
yielding a larger capacitance.

In practical devices, charge build-up sometimes affects the capacitor

mechanically, causing its capacitance to vary. In this case, capacitance is
defined in terms of incremental changes:

Hydraulic analogy

In the hydraulic analogy, a capacitor is analogous to a rubber membrane sealed

inside a pipe— this animation illustrates a membrane being repeatedly stretched
and un-stretched by the flow of water, which is analogous to a capacitor being
repeatedly charged and discharged by the flow of charge

In the hydraulic analogy, charge carriers flowing through a wire are analogous
to water flowing through a pipe. A capacitor is like a rubber membrane sealed
inside a pipe. Water molecules cannot pass through the membrane, but some
water can move by stretching the membrane. The analogy clarifies a few
aspects of capacitors:

 The current alters the charge on a capacitor, just as the flow of water
changes the position of the membrane. More specifically, the effect of an
electric current is to increase the charge of one plate of the capacitor, and
decrease the charge of the other plate by an equal amount. This is just as
when water flow moves the rubber membrane, it increases the amount of
water on one side of the membrane, and decreases the amount of water on
the other side.
 The more a capacitor is charged, the larger its voltage drop; i.e., the
more it "pushes back" against the charging current. This is analogous to
the fact that the more a membrane is stretched, the more it pushes back on
the water.
 Charge can flow "through" a capacitor even though no individual
electron can get from one side to the other. This is analogous to water
flowing through the pipe even though no water molecule can pass
through the rubber membrane. The flow cannot continue in the same
direction forever; the capacitor experiences dielectric breakdown, and
analogously the membrane will eventually break.
 The capacitance describes how much charge can be stored on one plate
of a capacitor for a given "push" (voltage drop). A very stretchy, flexible
membrane corresponds to a higher capacitance than a stiff membrane.
 A charged-up capacitor is storing potential energy, analogously to a
stretched membrane.

Parallel-plate model

Parallel plate capacitor model consists of two conducting plates, each of area A,
separated by a gap of thickness d containing a dielectric.

The simplest model capacitor consists of two thin parallel conductive plates

each with an area of separated by a uniform gap of thickness filled with

a dielectric with permittivity . It is assumed the gap is much smaller

than the dimensions of the plates. This model applies well to many practical
capacitors which are constructed of metal sheets separated by a thin layer of
insulating dielectric, since manufacturers try to keep the dielectric very uniform
in thickness to avoid thin spots which can cause failure of the capacitor.

Since the separation between the plates is uniform over the plate area, the

electric field between the plates is constant, and directed perpendicularly to

the plate surface, except for an area near the edges of the plates where the field
decreases because the electric field lines "bulge" out of the sides of the
capacitor. The "fringing field" extent is small enough to be ignored. Therefore if

a charge of is placed on one plate and on the other plate, the charge on
each plate will be spread evenly in a surface charge layer of constant charge
density coulombs per square meter, on the inside surface of each plate. From

Gauss's law the magnitude of the electric field between the plates is . The

voltage between the plates is defined as the line integral of the electric field
over a line from one plate to another

The capacitance is defined as . Substituting above into this equation

reveals that capacitance increases with the area of the plates, and decreases as
separation between the plates increases.

Therefore in a capacitor the highest capacitance is achieved with a high

permittivity dielectric material, large plate area, and small separation between
the plates.

Since the area of the plates increases with the square of the linear

dimensions and the separation increases linearly, the capacitance scales

with the linear dimension of a capacitor ( ), or as the cube root of the


A parallel plate capacitor can only store a finite amount of energy before
dielectric breakdown occurs. The capacitor's dielectric material has a dielectric
strengthUd which sets the capacitor's breakdown voltage at V = Vbd = Udd. The
maximum energy that the capacitor can store is therefore
The maximum energy is a function of dielectric volume, permittivity, and
dielectric strength. Changing the plate area and the separation between the
plates while maintaining the same volume causes no change of the maximum
amount of energy that the capacitor can store, so long as the distance between
plates remains much smaller than both the length and width of the plates. In
addition, these equations assume that the electric field is entirely concentrated in
the dielectric between the plates. In reality there are fringing fields outside the
dielectric, for example between the sides of the capacitor plates, which increase
the effective capacitance of the capacitor. This is sometimes called parasitic
capacitance. For some simple capacitor geometries this additional capacitance
term can be calculated analytically.[20] It becomes negligibly small when the
ratios of plate width to separation and length to separation are large.

Energy stored in a capacitor

To increase the charge and voltage on a capacitor, work must be done by an

external power source to move charge from the negative to the positive plate
against the opposing force of the electric field.[21][22] If the voltage on the

capacitor is , the work required to move a small increment of charge

from the negative to the positive plate is . The energy is stored in the
increased electric field between the plates. The total energy stored in a capacitor
is equal to the total work done in establishing the electric field from an
uncharged state.[23][22][21]

where is the charge stored in the capacitor, is the voltage across the

capacitor, and is the capacitance. This potential energy will remain in the
capacitor until the charge is removed. If charge is allowed to move back from
the positive to the negative plate, for example by connecting a circuit with
resistance between the plates, the charge moving under the influence of the
electric field will do work on the external circuit.

If the gap between the capacitor plates is constant, as in the parallel plate
model above, the electric field between the plates will be uniform (neglecting

fringing fields) and will have a constant value . In this case the stored
energy can be calculated from the electric field strength

The last formula above is equal to the energy density per unit volume in the
electric field multiplied by the volume of field between the plates, confirming
that the energy in the capacitor is stored in its electric field.

Current–voltage relation

The current I(t) through any component in an electric circuit is defined as the
rate of flow of a charge Q(t) passing through it, but actual charges—electrons—
cannot pass through the dielectric layer of a capacitor. Rather, one electron
accumulates on the negative plate for each one that leaves the positive plate,
resulting in an electron depletion and consequent positive charge on one
electrode that is equal and opposite to the accumulated negative charge on the
other. Thus the charge on the electrodes is equal to the integral of the current as
well as proportional to the voltage, as discussed above. As with any
antiderivative, a constant of integration is added to represent the initial voltage
V(t0). This is the integral form of the capacitor equation:[24]
Taking the derivative of this and multiplying by C yields the derivative form:[25]

The dual of the capacitor is the inductor, which stores energy in a magnetic field
rather than an electric field. Its current-voltage relation is obtained by
exchanging current and voltage in the capacitor equations and replacing C with
the inductance L.

DC circuits
See also: RC circuit

A simple resistor-capacitor circuit demonstrates charging of a capacitor.

A series circuit containing only a resistor, a capacitor, a switch and a constant

DC source of voltage V0 is known as a charging circuit.[26] If the capacitor is
initially uncharged while the switch is open, and the switch is closed at t0, it
follows from Kirchhoff's voltage law that

Taking the derivative and multiplying by C, gives a first-order differential

At t = 0, the voltage across the capacitor is zero and the voltage across the
resistor is V0. The initial current is then I(0) =V0/R. With this assumption,
solving the differential equation yields

where τ0 = RC, the time constant of the system. As the capacitor reaches
equilibrium with the source voltage, the voltages across the resistor and the
current through the entire circuit decay exponentially. In the case of a
discharging capacitor, the capacitor's initial voltage (VCi) replaces V0. The
equations become

AC circuits
See also: reactance (electronics) and electrical impedance § Deriving the
device-specific impedances

Impedance, the vector sum of reactance and resistance, describes the phase
difference and the ratio of amplitudes between sinusoidally varying voltage and
sinusoidally varying current at a given frequency. Fourier analysis allows any
signal to be constructed from a spectrum of frequencies, whence the circuit's
reaction to the various frequencies may be found. The reactance and impedance
of a capacitor are respectively

where j is the imaginary unit and ω is the angular frequency of the sinusoidal
signal. The −j phase indicates that the AC voltage V = ZI lags the AC current by
90°: the positive current phase corresponds to increasing voltage as the
capacitor charges; zero current corresponds to instantaneous constant voltage,

Impedance decreases with increasing capacitance and increasing frequency.

This implies that a higher-frequency signal or a larger capacitor results in a
lower voltage amplitude per current amplitude—an AC "short circuit" or AC
coupling. Conversely, for very low frequencies, the reactance is high, so that a
capacitor is nearly an open circuit in AC analysis—those frequencies have been
"filtered out".

Capacitors are different from resistors and inductors in that the impedance is
inversely proportional to the defining characteristic; i.e., capacitance.

A capacitor connected to a sinusoidal voltage source causes a displacement

current to flow through it. In the case that the voltage source is V 0cos(ωt), the
displacement current can be expressed as:

At sin(ωt) = -1, the capacitor has a maximum (or peak) current whereby I 0 =
ωCV0. The ratio of peak voltage to peak current is due to capacitive reactance
(denoted XC).

XC approaches zero as ω approaches infinity. If XC approaches 0, the capacitor

resembles a short wire that strongly passes current at high frequencies. X C
approaches infinity as ω approaches zero. If XC approaches infinity, the
capacitor resembles an open circuit that poorly passes low frequencies .
A diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts current primarily
in one direction (asymmetric conductance); it has low (ideally zero) resistance
in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) resistance in the other. A
semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of
semiconductor material with a p–n junction connected to two electrical
terminals.[5] A vacuum tube diode has two electrodes, a plate (anode) and a
heated cathode. Semiconductor diodes were the first semiconductor electronic
devices. The discovery of crystals' rectifying abilities was made by German
physicist Ferdinand Braun in 1874. The first semiconductor diodes, called cat's
whisker diodes, developed around 1906, were made of mineral crystals such as
galena. Today, most diodes are made of silicon, but other materials such as
selenium and germanium are sometimes used.

The most common function of a diode is to allow an electric current to pass in

one direction (called the diode's forward direction), while blocking it in the
opposite direction (the reverse direction). As such, the diode can be viewed as
an electronic version of a check valve. This unidirectional behavior is called
rectification, and is used to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current
(DC). Forms of rectifiers, diodes can be used for such tasks as extracting
modulation from radio signals in radio receivers.

However, diodes can have more complicated behavior than this simple on–off
action, because of their nonlinear current-voltage characteristics. Semiconductor
diodes begin conducting electricity only if a certain threshold voltage or cut-in
voltage is present in the forward direction (a state in which the diode is said to
be forward-biased). The voltage drop across a forward-biased diode varies only
a little with the current, and is a function of temperature; this effect can be used
as a temperature sensor or as a voltage reference.

A semiconductor diode's current–voltage characteristic can be tailored by

selecting the semiconductor materials and the doping impurities introduced into
the materials during manufacture. These techniques are used to create special-
purpose diodes that perform many different functions. For example, diodes are
used to regulate voltage (Zener diodes), to protect circuits from high voltage
surges (avalanche diodes), to electronically tune radio and TV receivers
(varactor diodes), to generate radio-frequency oscillations (tunnel diodes, Gunn
diodes, IMPATT diodes), and to produce light (light-emitting diodes). Tunnel,
Gunn and IMPATT diodes exhibit negative resistance, which is useful in
microwave and switching circuits.

Diodes, both vacuum and semiconductor, can be used as shot-noise generators.


Thermionic (vacuum-tube) diodes and solid-state (semiconductor) diodes were

developed separately, at approximately the same time, in the early 1900s, as
radio receiver detectors.[7] Until the 1950s, vacuum diodes were used more
frequently in radios because the early point-contact semiconductor diodes were
less stable. In addition, most receiving sets had vacuum tubes for amplification
that could easily have the thermionic diodes included in the tube (for example
the 12SQ7 double diode triode), and vacuum-tube rectifiers and gas-filled
rectifiers were capable of handling some high-voltage/high-current rectification
tasks better than the semiconductor diodes (such as selenium rectifiers) that
were available at that time.

Vacuum diodes

Further information: Vacuum tube § History and development

In 1873, Frederick Guthrie discovered the basic principle of operation of

thermionic diodes.[8][9] He discovered that a positively charged electroscope
could be discharged by bringing a grounded piece of white-hot metal close to it
(but not actually touching it). The same did not apply to a negatively charged
electroscope, indicating that the current flow was only possible in one direction.

Thomas Edison independently rediscovered the principle in 1880.[10] At the

time, he was investigating why the filaments of his carbon-filament light bulbs
nearly always burned out at the positive-connected end. He had a special bulb
made with a metal plate sealed into the glass envelope. Using this device, he
confirmed that an invisible current flowed from the glowing filament through
the vacuum to the metal plate, but only when the plate was connected to the
positive supply.

Edison devised a circuit where his modified light bulb effectively replaced the
resistor in a DC voltmeter. Edison was awarded a patent for this invention in
1884.[11] Since there was no apparent practical use for such a device at the
time, the patent application was most likely simply a precaution in case
someone else did find a use for the so-called Edison effect.
About 20 years later, John Ambrose Fleming (scientific adviser to the Marconi
Company and former Edison employee) realized that the Edison effect could be
used as a precision radio detector. Fleming patented the first true thermionic
diode, the Fleming valve, in Britain on November 16, 1904[12] (followed by
U.S. Patent 803,684 in November 1905).

Solid-state diodes

In 1874, German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun discovered the "unilateral

conduction" of crystals.[13][14] Braun patented the crystal rectifier in 1899.[15]
Copper oxide and selenium rectifiers were developed for power applications in
the 1930s.

Indian scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose was the first to use a crystal for
detecting radio waves in 1894.[16] The crystal detector was developed into a
practical device for wireless telegraphy by Greenleaf Whittier Pickard, who
invented a silicon crystal detector in 1903 and received a patent for it on
November 20, 1906.[17] Other experimenters tried a variety of other
substances, of which the most widely used was the mineral galena (lead
sulfide). Other substances offered slightly better performance, but galena was
most widely used because it had the advantage of being cheap and easy to
obtain. The crystal detector in these early crystal radio sets consisted of an
adjustable wire point-contact, often made of gold or platinum because of their
incorrodible nature (the so-called "cat's whisker"), which could be manually
moved over the face of the crystal in search of a portion of that mineral with
rectifying qualities. This troublesome device was superseded by thermionic
diodes (vacuum tubes) by the 1920s, but after high purity semiconductor
materials became available, the crystal detector returned to dominant use with
the advent, in the 1950s, of inexpensive fixed-germanium diodes. Bell Labs also
developed a germanium diode for microwave reception, and AT&T used these
in their microwave towers that criss-crossed the United States starting in the late
1940s, carrying telephone and network television signals. Bell Labs did not
develop a satisfactory thermionic diode for microwave reception.


At the time of their invention, such devices were known as rectifiers. In 1919,
the year tetrodes were invented, William Henry Eccles coined the term diode
from the Greek roots di (from δί), meaning 'two', and ode (from ὁδός), meaning
'path'. (However, the word diode itself, as well as triode, tetrode, pentode,
hexode, were already in use as terms of multiplex telegraph


Radio demodulation

A simple envelope demodulator circuit.

The first use for the diode was the demodulation of amplitude modulated (AM)
radio broadcasts. The history of this discovery is treated in depth in the radio
article. In summary, an AM signal consists of alternating positive and negative
peaks of a radio carrier wave, whose amplitude or envelope is proportional to
the original audio signal. The diode (originally a crystal diode) rectifies the AM
radio frequency signal, leaving only the positive peaks of the carrier wave. The
audio is then extracted from the rectified carrier wave using a simple filter and
fed into an audio amplifier or transducer, which generates sound waves.
Power conversion

Main article: Rectifier

Schematic of basic AC-to-DC power supply

Rectifiers are constructed from diodes, where they are used to convert
alternating current (AC) electricity into direct current (DC). Automotive
alternators are a common example, where the diode, which rectifies the AC into
DC, provides better performance than the commutator or earlier, dynamo.
Similarly, diodes are also used in Cockcroft–Walton voltage multipliers to
convert AC into higher DC voltages.

Over-voltage protection

Diodes are frequently used to conduct damaging high voltages away from
sensitive electronic devices. They are usually reverse-biased (non-conducting)
under normal circumstances. When the voltage rises above the normal range,
the diodes become forward-biased (conducting). For example, diodes are used
in (stepper motor and H-bridge) motor controller and relay circuits to de-
energize coils rapidly without the damaging voltage spikes that would otherwise
occur. (A diode used in such an application is called a flyback diode). Many
integrated circuits also incorporate diodes on the connection pins to prevent
external voltages from damaging their sensitive transistors. Specialized diodes
are used to protect from over-voltages at higher power (see Diode types above).

Logic gates
Diodes can be combined with other components to construct AND and OR logic
gates. This is referred to as diode logic.

Ionizing radiation detectors

In addition to light, mentioned above, semiconductor diodes are sensitive to

more energetic radiation. In electronics, cosmic rays and other sources of
ionizing radiation cause noise pulses and single and multiple bit errors. This
effect is sometimes exploited by particle detectors to detect radiation. A single
particle of radiation, with thousands or millions of electron volts of energy,
generates many charge carrier pairs, as its energy is deposited in the
semiconductor material. If the depletion layer is large enough to catch the whole
shower or to stop a heavy particle, a fairly accurate measurement of the
particle's energy can be made, simply by measuring the charge conducted and
without the complexity of a magnetic spectrometer, etc. These semiconductor
radiation detectors need efficient and uniform charge collection and low leakage
current. They are often cooled by liquid nitrogen. For longer-range (about a
centimetre) particles, they need a very large depletion depth and large area. For
short-range particles, they need any contact or un-depleted semiconductor on at
least one surface to be very thin. The back-bias voltages are near breakdown
(around a thousand volts per centimetre). Germanium and silicon are common
materials. Some of these detectors sense position as well as energy. They have a
finite life, especially when detecting heavy particles, because of radiation
damage. Silicon and germanium are quite different in their ability to convert
gamma rays to electron showers.
Semiconductor detectors for high-energy particles are used in large numbers.
Because of energy loss fluctuations, accurate measurement of the energy
deposited is of less use.

Temperature measurements

A diode can be used as a temperature measuring device, since the forward

voltage drop across the diode depends on temperature, as in a silicon bandgap
temperature sensor. From the Shockley ideal diode equation given above, it
might appear that the voltage has a positive temperature coefficient (at a
constant current), but usually the variation of the reverse saturation current term
is more significant than the variation in the thermal voltage term. Most diodes
therefore have a negative temperature coefficient, typically −2 mV/˚C for
silicon diodes. The temperature coefficient is approximately constant for
temperatures above about 20 kelvins. Some graphs are given for 1N400x
series,[35] and CY7 cryogenic temperature sensor.[36]

Current steering

Diodes will prevent currents in unintended directions. To supply power to an

electrical circuit during a power failure, the circuit can draw current from a
battery. An uninterruptible power supply may use diodes in this way to ensure
that current is only drawn from the battery when necessary. Likewise, small
boats typically have two circuits each with their own battery/batteries: one used
for engine starting; one used for domestics. Normally, both are charged from a
single alternator, and a heavy-duty split-charge diode is used to prevent the
higher-charge battery (typically the engine battery) from discharging through
the lower-charge battery when the alternator is not running.
Diodes are also used in electronic musical keyboards. To reduce the amount of
wiring needed in electronic musical keyboards, these instruments often use
keyboard matrix circuits. The keyboard controller scans the rows and columns
to determine which note the player has pressed. The problem with matrix
circuits is that, when several notes are pressed at once, the current can flow
backwards through the circuit and trigger "phantom keys" that cause "ghost"
notes to play. To avoid triggering unwanted notes, most keyboard matrix
circuits have diodes soldered with the switch under each key of the musical
keyboard. The same principle is also used for the switch matrix in solid-state
pinball machines.

Waveform Clipper

Main article: Clipper (electronics)

Diodes can be used to limit the positive or negative excursion of a signal to a

prescribed voltage.


Main article: Clamper (electronics)

This simple diode clamp will clamp the negative peaks of the incoming
waveform to the common rail voltage

A diode clamp circuit can take a periodic alternating current signal that
oscillates between positive and negative values, and vertically displace it such
that either the positive, or the negative peaks occur at a prescribed level. The
clamper does not restrict the peak-to-peak excursion of the signal, it moves the
whole signal up or down so as to place the peaks at the reference level.


The resistor is a passive electrical component to create resistance in the flow of

electric current. In almost all electrical networks and electronic circuits they can
be found. The resistance is measured in ohms. An ohm is the resistance that
occurs when a current of one ampere passes through a resistor with a one volt
drop across its terminals. The current is proportional to the voltage across the
terminal ends. This ratio is represented by Ohm’s law:

Resistors are used for many purposes. A few examples include delimit electric
current, voltage division, heat generation, matching and loading circuits, control
gain, and fix time constants. They are commercially available with resistance
values over a range of more than nine orders of magnitude. They can be used to
as electric brakes to dissipate kinetic energy from trains, or be smaller than a
square millimeter for electronics.
Resistor definition and symbol:

A resistor is a passive electrical component with the primary function to

limit the flow of electric current.

The international IEC symbol is a rectangular shape. In the USA the ANSI
standard is very common, this is a zigzag line (shown on the right).

Fixed resistor symbol

Overview of types and materials:

Resistors can be divided in construction type as well as resistance material. The

following breakdown for the type can be made:

• Fixed resistors
• Variable resistors, such as the:
• Potentiometer
• Rheostat
• Trimpot
• Resistance dependent on a physical quantity:
• Thermistors (NTC and PTC) as a result of temperature change
• Photo resistor (LDR) as a result of a changing light level
• Varistor (VDR) as a result of a changing voltage
• Magneto resistor (MDR) as a result of a changing magnetic field
• Strain Gauges as a result of mechanical load
For each of these types a standard symbol exists. Another breakdown based on
the material and manufacturing process can be made:
• Carbon composition
• Carbon film
• Metal film
• Metal oxide film
• Wirewound
• Foil
The choice of material technology is a specific to the purpose. Often it is a
trade-off between costs, precision and other requirements. For example, carbon
composition is a very old technique with a low precision, but is still used for
specific applications where high energy pulses occur. Carbon composition
resistors have a body of a mixture of fine carbon particles and a non-conductive
ceramic. The carbon film technique has a better tolerance. These are made of a
non-conductive rod with a thin carbon film layer around it. This layer is treated
with a spiral cut to increase and control the resistance value. Metal and metal
oxide film are widely used nowadays, and have better properties for stability
and tolerance. Furthermore, they are less influenced by temperature variations.
They are just as carbon film resistors constructed with a resistive film around a
cylindrical body. Metal oxide film is generally more durable. Wirewound
resistors are probably the oldest type and can be used for both high precision as
well as high power applications. They are constructed by winding a special
metal alloy wire, such as nickel chrome, around a non-conductive core. They
are durable, accurate and can have very low resistance value. A disadvantage is
that they suffer from parasitic reactance at high frequencies. For the highest
requirements on precision and stability, metal foil resistors are used. They are
constructed by cementing a special alloy cold rolled film onto a ceramic

Resister characteristics:

Dependent on the application, the electrical engineer specifies

different properties of the resistor. The primary purpose is to limit the flow of
electrical current; therefore the key parameter is the resistance value. The
manufacturing accuracy of this value is indicated with the resistor tolerance in
percentage. Many other parameters that affect the resistance value can be
specified, such as long term stability or the temperature coefficient. The
temperature coefficient, usually specified in high precision applications, is
determined by the resistive material as well as the mechanical design.
In high frequency circuits, such as in radio electronics, the capacitance and
inductance can lead to undesired effects. Foil resistors generally have a low
parasitic reactance, while wirewound resistors are amongst the worst. For
accurate applications such as audio amplifiers, the electric noise must be as low
as possible. This is often specified as microvolts noise per volt of applied
voltage, for a 1 MHz bandwidth. For high power applications the power
rating is important. This specifies the maximum operating power the component
can handle without altering the properties or damage. The power rating is
usually specified in free air at room temperature. Higher power ratings require a
larger size and may even require heat sinks. Many other characteristics can play
a role in the design specification. Examples are the maximum voltage, or the
pulse stability. In situations where high voltage surges could occur this is an
important characteristic.
Sometimes not only the electrical properties are important, but the designer also
has to consider the mechanical robustness in harsh environments. Military
standards sometimes offer guidance to define the mechanical strength or the
failure rate.

In the section characteristics a full overview is given of the main properties to

specify a resistor.
Resistor standards:
Many standards exist for resistors. The standards describe ways to measure and
quantify important properties. Other norms exist for the physical size and
resistance values. Probably, the most well known standard is the color code
marking for axial leaded resistors.
Resistor color code:

Resistor with a resistance of 5600 ohm with 2 % tolerance, according to the

marking code IEC 60062.

The resistance value and tolerance are indicated with several colored bands
around the component body. This marking technique of electronic components
was already developed in the 1920’s. Printing technology was still not far
developed, what made printed numerical codes too difficult on small
components. Nowadays, the color code is still used for most axial resistors up to
one watt. In the figure an example is shown with four color bands. In this
example the two first bands determine the significant digits of the resistance
value, the third band is the multiplying factor and the fourth band gives the
tolerance. Each color represents a different number and can be looked up in a
resistor color code chart.

Resistor color code calculator:

The color code can easily be decoded using this calculator. It not only provides
the resistance value, it also indicates when the value belongs to an E-series.
SMD resistors

For SMD (Surface Mount Device) resistors a numerical code is used, because
the components are too small for color coding. SMD resistors are -just as leaded
variants – mainly available in the preferred values. The size of the component
(length and width) is standardized as well, and is referred to as resistor package.
An example of an SMD resistor on a PCB is given in the picture below. The
marking “331” means that the resistance has a value of 33Ω x 10^1 = 330Ω.

Resistor Values (Preferred values)

In the 1950s the increased production of resistors created the need for
standardized resistance values. The range of resistance values is standardized
with so called preferred values. The preferred values are defined in E-series. In
an E-series, every value is a certain percentage higher than the previous.
Various E-series exist for different tolerances.

Resistor applications:
There is a huge variation in fields of applications for resistors; from precision
components in digital electronics, till measurement devices for physical
quantities. In this chapter several popular applications are listed.

Resistors in series and parallel:

In electronic circuits, resistors are very often connected in series or in parallel.

A circuit designer might for example combine several resistors with standard
values (E-series) to reach a specific resistance value. For series connection, the
current through each resistor is the same and the equivalent resistance is equal
to the sum of the individual resistors. For parallel connection, the voltage
through each resistor is the same, and the inverse of the equivalent resistance is
equal to the sum of the inverse values for all parallel resistors. In the
articles resistors in parallel and series a detailed description of calculation
examples is given. To solve even more complex networks, Kirchhoff’s circuit
laws may be used.

Measure electrical current (shunt resistor):

Electrical current can be calculated by measuring the voltage drop over a

precision resistor with a known resistance, which is connected in series with the
circuit. The current is calculated by using Ohm’s law. This is a called an
ammeter or shunt resistor. Usually this is a high precision manganin resistor
with a low resistance value.

Resistors for LEDs:

LED lights need a specific current to operate. A too low current will not light up
the LED, while a too high current might burn out the device. Therefore, they are
often connected in series with resistors. These are called ballast resistors and
passively regulate the current in the circuit.

Blower motor resistor:

In cars the air ventilation system is actuated by a fan that is driven by the blower
motor. A special resistor is used to control the fan speed. This is called the
blower motor resistor. Different designs are in use. One design is a series of
different size wirewound resistors for each fan speed. Another design
incorporates a fully integrated circuit on a printed circuit board.

Transistor pin diagram

Assorted discrete transistors. Packages in order from top to bottom: TO-3, TO-
126, TO-92, SOT-23.

A transistor is a semiconductor device used

to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed
of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to
an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's
terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the
controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a
transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged
individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

The transistor is the fundamental building block of modern electronic devices,

and is ubiquitous in modern electronic systems. Julius Edgar Lilienfeldpatented
a field-effect transistor in 1926[1] but it was not possible to actually construct a
working device at that time. The first practically implemented device was
a point-contact transistor invented in 1947 by American physicists John
Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley. The transistor revolutionized
the field of electronics, and paved the way for smaller and
cheaper radios, calculators, and computers, among other things. The transistor is
on the list of IEEE milestones in electronics,[2] and Bardeen, Brattain, and
Shockley shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their achievement.[3]
Most transistors are made from very pure silicon or germanium, but certain
other semiconductor materials can also be used. A transistor may have only one
kind of charge carrier, in a field effect transistor, or may have two kinds of
charge carriers in bipolar junction transistor devices. Compared with
the vacuum tube, transistors are generally smaller, and require less power to
operate. Certain vacuum tubes have advantages over transistors at very high
operating frequencies or high operating voltages. Many types of transistors are
made to standardized specifications by multiple manufacturers.

Transistor as a switch

BJT used as an electronic switch, in grounded-emitter configuration.

Transistors are commonly used in digital circuits as electronic switches which

can be either in an "on" or "off" state, both for high-power applications such as
switched-mode power supplies and for low-power applications such as logic
gates. Important parameters for this application include the current switched, the
voltage handled, and the switching speed, characterised by the rise and fall

In a grounded-emitter transistor circuit, such as the light-switch circuit shown,

as the base voltage rises, the emitter and collector currents rise exponentially.
The collector voltage drops because of reduced resistance from collector to
emitter. If the voltage difference between the collector and emitter were zero (or
near zero), the collector current would be limited only by the load resistance
(light bulb) and the supply voltage. This is called saturation because current is
flowing from collector to emitter freely. When saturated, the switch is said to be
Providing sufficient base drive current is a key problem in the use of bipolar
transistors as switches. The transistor provides current gain, allowing a
relatively large current in the collector to be switched by a much smaller current
into the base terminal. The ratio of these currents varies depending on the type
of transistor, and even for a particular type, varies depending on the collector
current. In the example light-switch circuit shown, the resistor is chosen to
provide enough base current to ensure the transistor will be saturated.

In a switching circuit, the idea is to simulate, as near as possible, the ideal

switch having the properties of open circuit when off, short circuit when on, and
an instantaneous transition between the two states. Parameters are chosen such
that the "off" output is limited to leakage currents too small to affect connected
circuitry; the resistance of the transistor in the "on" state is too small to affect
circuitry; and the transition between the two states is fast enough not to have a
detrimental effect.

Transistor as an amplifier

Amplifier circuit, common-emitter configuration with a voltage-divider bias


The common-emitter amplifier is designed so that a small change in voltage

(Vin) changes the small current through the base of the transistor; the
transistor's current amplification combined with the properties of the circuit
means that small swings in Vin produce large changes in Vout.
Various configurations of single transistor amplifier are possible, with some
providing current gain, some voltage gain, and some both.

From mobile phones to televisions, vast numbers of products include amplifiers

for sound reproduction, radio transmission, and signal processing. The first
discrete-transistor audio amplifiers barely supplied a few hundred milliwatts,
but power and audio fidelity gradually increased as better transistors became
available and amplifier architecture evolved.

Modern transistor audio amplifiers of up to a few hundred watts are common

and relatively inexpensive.

Comparison with vacuum tubes

Before transistors were developed, vacuum (electron) tubes (or in the UK

"thermionic valves" or just "valves") were the main active components in
electronic equipment.


The key advantages that have allowed transistors to replace vacuum tubes in
most applications are

no cathode heater (which produces the characteristic orange glow of tubes),

reducing power consumption, eliminating delay as tube heaters warm up, and
immune from cathode poisoning and depletion;

very small size and weight, reducing equipment size;

large numbers of extremely small transistors can be manufactured as a single
integrated circuit;

low operating voltages compatible with batteries of only a few cells;

circuits with greater energy efficiency are usually possible. For low-power
applications (e.g., voltage amplification) in particular, energy consumption can
be very much less than for tubes;

complementary devices available, providing design flexibility including

complementary-symmetry circuits, not possible with vacuum tubes;

very low sensitivity to mechanical shock and vibration, providing physical

ruggedness and virtually eliminating shock-induced spurious signals (e.g.,
microphonics in audio applications);

not susceptible to breakage of a glass envelope, leakage, outgassing, and other

physical damage.


Transistors have the following limitations:

silicon transistors can age and fail;[41]

high-power, high-frequency operation, such as that used in over-the-air

television broadcasting, is better achieved in vacuum tubes due to improved
electron mobility in a vacuum;

solid-state devices are susceptible to damage from very brief electrical and
thermal events, including electrostatic discharge in handling; vacuum tubes are
electrically much more rugged;

sensitivity to radiation and cosmic rays (special radiation-hardened chips are

used for spacecraft devices);
vacuum tubes in audio applications create significant lower-harmonic distortion,
the so-called tube sound, which some people prefer.


The TSOP 1738 is a member of IR remote control receiver series. This IR

sensor module consists of a PIN diode and a pre amplifier which are embedded
into a single package. The output of TSOP is active low and it gives +5V in off
state. When IR waves, from a source, with a centre frequency of 38 kHz
incident on it, its output goes low.

Lights coming from sunlight, fluorescent lamps etc. may cause disturbance to it
and result in undesirable output even when the source is not transmitting IR
signals. A bandpass filter, an integrator stage and an automatic gain control are
used to suppress such disturbances.

TSOP module has an inbuilt control circuit for amplifying the coded pulses
from the IR transmitter. A signal is generated when PIN photodiode receives the
signals. This input signal is received by an automatic gain control (AGC). For a
range of inputs, the output is fed back to AGC in order to adjust the gain to a
suitable level. The signal from AGC is passed to a band pass filter to filter
undesired frequencies. After this, the signal goes to a demodulator and this
demodulated output drives an npn transistor. The collector output of the
transistor is obtained at pin 3 of TSOP module.
Members of TSOP17xx series are sensitive to different centre frequencies of the
IR spectrum. For example TSOP1738 is sensitive to 38 kHz
whereas TSOP1740 to 40 kHz centre frequency.
Pin Diagram:

A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many relays use an electromagnet to
mechanically operate a switch, but other operating principles are also used, such
as solid-state relays. Relays are used where it is necessary to control a circuit by
a separate low-power signal, or where several circuits must be controlled by one
signal. The first relays were used in long distance telegraph circuits as
amplifiers: they repeated the signal coming in from one circuit and re-
transmitted it on another circuit. Relays were used extensively in telephone
exchanges and early computers to perform logical operations.

A type of relay that can handle the high power required to directly control an
electric motor or other loads is called a contactor. Solid-state relays control
power circuits with no moving parts, instead using a semiconductor device to
perform switching. Relays with calibrated operating characteristics and
sometimes multiple operating coils are used to protect electrical circuits from
overload or faults; in modern electric power systems these functions are
performed by digital instruments still called "protective relays".

Magnetic latching relays require one pulse of coil power to move their contacts
in one direction, and another, redirected pulse to move them back. Repeated
pulses from the same input have no effect. Magnetic latching relays are useful
in applications where interrupted power should not be able to transition the

Magnetic latching relays can have either single or dual coils. On a single coil
device, the relay will operate in one direction when power is applied with one
polarity, and will reset when the polarity is reversed. On a dual coil device,
when polarized voltage is applied to the reset coil the contacts will transition.
AC controlled magnetic latch relays have single coils that employ steering
diodes to differentiate between operate and reset commands


An Infrared light emitting diode (IR LED) is a special purpose LED

emitting infrared rays ranging 700 nm to 1 mm wavelength. Different IR LEDs
may produce infrared light of differing wavelengths, just like different LEDs
produce light of different colors. IR LEDs are usually made of gallium arsenide
or aluminum gallium arsenide. In complement with IR receivers, these are
commonly used as sensors.

The appearance of IR LED is same as a common LED. Since the human eye
cannot see the infrared radiations, it is not possible for a person to identify if
an IR LED is working. A camera on a cell phone camera solves this problem.
The IR rays from the IR LED in the circuit are shown in the camera.

Pin Diagram of IR LED

An IR LED is a type of diode or simple semiconductor. Electric current is
allowed to flow in only one direction in diodes. As the current flows, electrons
fall from one part of the diode into holes on another part. In order to fall into
these holes, the electrons must shed energy in the form of photons, which
produce light.

It is necessary to modulate the emission from IR diode to use it in electronic

application to prevent spurious triggering. Modulation makes the signal from IR
LED stand out above the noise. Infrared diodes have a package that is opaque to
visible light but transparent to infrared. The massive use of IR LEDs in remote
controls and safety alarm systems has drastically reduced the pricing of IR
diodes in the market.