Chapter 2

Clarifying Basic Circuit Concepts and Diagrams

In This Chapter

Sorting out current-voltage relationships

Mapping out circuits with schematics

Understanding a circuit’s loops and nodes

Before you can begin working with circuits, you need to have a basic understanding of how current and voltage behave in some of the devices most commonly found in circuits. You also need to be able to read basic circuit diagrams, or schematics. This chapter is all about helping you get comfortable with these basics so you can dive confidently into the world of circuit analysis.

Looking at Current-Voltage Relationships

Given that power is a rate of energy transfer, electrical power p(t) is defined as the product of the voltage v(t) and current i(t) as a function of time:

To remember the formula p = iv, I tell students to remember the phrase poison ivy. It may be corny, but it works.

An electrical device absorbs power when p(t) is positive, implying that the current and voltage have the same ...

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