A discussion I had with a friend of mine made him ask me a very good question. This discussion began when I had told him about my project. I told him it included building an electrical circuit with some code running through it. He then asked me is it the same type of circuit as one used in a computer. To which I replied, I actually do not know. Thus began my research on Christmas Eve on a mission to find the answer to the question that was asked.
What is an electronic circuit?
A chip is a tiny piece of silicon. A chip may be a single transistor or an integrated circuit made up of interconnected transistors. Chips are encapsulated in an airtight plastic or ceramic enclosure called a package.
There are 2 types of integrated circuits or ICs: Monolithic and Hybrid. Monolithic ICs contain the entire circuit on one single chip. The amount of transistors they have can range from a few to millions. Hybrid ICs have a circuit with several chips inside the package. The chips in a hybrid IC may have transistors, capacitors and Monolithic IC chips.
Printed Circuit Boards/ PCBs
A PCB holds an electronic circuit together. The completed PCB with components attached is called a printed circuit boardassembly or PCBA for short.
Most important part of an electronic circuit are the transistors. Diodes act as valves to allow current flow in only one direction. Other passive components that we are familiar with already are the capacitor and resistor. An inductor is one that we have yet to encounter. Its commonly found in electronic circuits and its purpose is to store up energy in the form of a magnetic field. They are uncommon and found usually more in larger powered circuits.
Most PCBs are created using CAD (computer aided design). Many of the circuits we see in computers today are extremely complex and use millions of transistors, therefore requiring CAD.
The Answer to the Question
Well after all that research I have come to the conclusion. The Answer is yes and no. While it may be similar is it’s use of same components, the PCBs are much more powerful and require more technical skill and knowledge to produce or manufacture. However that’s not to say that the circuits used in electrical engineering aren’t as complex. Quite the contrary, I appreciate both branches of engineering and how they apply in the real world it different situations. Furthermore it has made me notice the difference between electronic and electrical engineering.