Cards | 10 |

Topics | Diodes, Direct Current (DC), Fuses, Integrated Circuits, Magnetic Fields, Parallel Circuit, Resistance, Resistors, Series Circuit |

A diode allows current to pass easily in one direction and blocks current in the other direction. Diodes are commonly used for **rectification** which is the conversion of alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC). Because a diode only allows current flow in one direction, it will pass either the upper or lower half of AC waves (**half-wave rectification**) creating pulsating DC. Multiple diodes can be connected together to utilize both halves of the AC signal in **full-wave rectification**.

Direct current flows in only one direction in a circuit, from the negative terminal of the voltage source to the positive. A common source of direct current (DC) is a battery.

Fuses are thin wires that melt when the current in a circuit exceeds a preset amount. They help prevent **short circuits** from damaging circuit components when an unusually large current is applied to the circuit, either through component failure or spikes in applied voltage.

Circuits containing transistors are packaged into **integrated circuit** chips that allow encapsulating complex circuit designs (CPU, memory, I/O) for easier integration into electronic devices and machines.

A moving electric current produces a magnetic field proportional to the amount of current flow. This magnetic field can be made stronger by winding the wire into a coil and further enhanced if done around an iron containing (ferrous) core.

In a parallel circuit, each load occupies a separate parallel path in the circuit and the input voltage is fully applied to each path. Unlike a series circuit where current (I) is the same at all points in the circuit, in a parallel circuit, voltage (V) is the same across each parallel branch of the circuit but current differs in each branch depending on the load (resistance) present.

Resistance is opposition to the flow of current and is measured in **ohms** (Ω). One ohm is defined as the amount of resistance that will allow one ampere of current to flow if one volt of voltage is applied. As resistance increases, current decreases as resistance and current are inversely proportional.

Resistors are used to limit voltage and/or current in a circuit and can have a **fixed** or **variable** resistance. Variable resistors (often called potentiometers or rheostats) are used when dynamic control over the voltage/current in a circuit is needed, for example, in a light dimmer or volume control.

A series circuit has only one path for current to flow. In a series circuit, current (I) is the same throughout the circuit and is equal to the total voltage (V) applied to the circuit divided by the total resistance (R) of the loads in the circuit. The sum of the voltage drops across each resistor in the circuit will equal the total voltage applied to the circuit.