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Glossary / Dictionary of Electronics Terms -  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 inversely 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-film resistor - Device made by depositing a thin carbon film on a ceramic form.

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.

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 dielectric 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 mid-band 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-anode display - A multi-segment light emitting diode (LED) with a single positive voltage input connection. Separate cathode connections are provided for each individual segment.

common cathode display - A multi-segment light emitting diode (LED) with a single negative voltage input connection. Separate anode connections are provided for each individual segment.

common base amplifier - A BJT circuit in which the base connection is common to both input and output.

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-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.

comparator - 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 complementary transistors. Does not require a phase inverter for push-pull output.

complementary transistors - Two transistors, one NPN and one PNP having near identical characteristics. N-channel and P-channel FETs can also be complementary.

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 1018 electrons.

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 source 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-limiting resistor - Resistor in the path of current flow to control the amount of current drawn by a device.

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.

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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