Computers and electronics

Background

Although computers are generally considered a modern invention of electronics, computing takes precedence over the use of electrical devices. The old abacus was perhaps the first digital computer. Analogous computing dates back several millennia since primitive computer devices were already used in the ancient Greeks and Romans, the best known of which is the Antikythera mechanism. Subsequent devices, such as the castle clock (1206), the slide rule (ca. 1624) and Babbage’s Difference Engine (1822), are other examples of early mechanical analog computers.

The introduction of electricity in the 1800s led to the proliferation of electric and hybrid electromechanical devices to perform both digital (Hollerith impact card machine) and analog (Bush differential analyzer) calculations. Telephone switching was based on this technology, which led to the development of machines that we recognize as early computers.

The introduction of the Edison phenomenon in 1885 provided a theoretical background for electronic devices. Initially in the form of vacuum tubes, electronic components were quickly integrated into electrical equipment, which revolutionized radio and later television. However, the full power of electronics was felt on computers. The analog computers used to calculate ballistics were crucial to the outcome of World War II, and Colossus and ENIAC, the first two digital electronic computers, were developed during the war.

With the invention of semiconductor electronics, a transistor, and finally an integrated circuit, computers became much smaller and eventually affordable for the average consumer. Today, “computers” are present in almost everyday life, from watches to cars.

The purpose of electronics is to convert data into electrical signals and to use the fast processing capabilities of electronics to perform tasks reliably, repeatedly and quickly. Electronic components and circuit boards (PCBs) are basic components of an electronic system.

Electronic components

Although electronic components process data in the form of electronic signals, a circuit board is a skeletal structure in which electronic components are mounted and glued to hold them together and provide pathways for information to pass between components through circuit board slots.

PCB tracks are metal wires that are connected between components. These grooves are usually copper strips and sometimes aluminum or silver. The PCB material on which the components and grooves are placed is made of an insulating material (dielectric), usually made of resin-impregnated fiberglass. This dielectric material may differ depending on the use of the circuit board.

In recent decades, electronic technology and product development have grown and become increasingly complex. Knowledge of electronic components is essential for building successful electronic products.

This article provides an overview of the different types of electronic components. The article focuses on the parameters to be taken into account when choosing an electronic component and provides information on the standard dimensions and shapes of the components. These are important in the design and production of an electronic product.