Chapter 7

What Little Gizmos Are Made of: Components

Although there are hundreds of types of electronic components and thousands of subtypes (transistors with different characteristics, for example), a small set of parts constitutes the core of most electronic products. Let’s look at the most common components and how to recognize and test them. In this chapter, we’ll cover out-of-circuit tests, the kind you perform after removing the part from the board. We’ll get to in-circuit testing in Chapter 11, when we explore signal tracing and diagnosis.


Capacitors consist of two plates separated by an insulator, or dielectric layer. A charge builds up on the plates when voltage is applied, which can then be discharged back into the circuit. ...

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