An electronic circuit is a path for transmitting electric current supplied by an electric source. In order for a path to be a circuit, it must start and end at the source.

The very name “circuit” implies that the structure is closed and oftentimes we represent these circuits as loops. However, when using elements like switches, the circuit is then called “open” since the connection is incomplete.

A closed-circuit is a loop that allows the flow of electricity, while an open circuit stops the flow with a break in the circuit, such as a room’s light switch.

There are many different types of components that can be involved in circuits, however, all circuits are made up of three basic elements:

  • Electric source: A source of electricity, which can come from a two-terminal device such as a battery. The source can be any component that provides a potential difference (voltage) between two points in the circuit.

  • Load: A circuit element, or elements, that consume power and use electricity in order to perform a function. A light bulb is a common example, but loads can come in many forms such as LEDs, motors, or circuit components we call resisters.

  • Conductive Path: This is the path through which the energy is able to flow, usually made of a metal like copper or aluminum. It begins from the voltage source, travels through the load, and finally returns to the voltage source


On the right you’ll notice a diagram with a few symbols, this is called a circuit diagram and we’ll explore how all the components work together to conduct electricity.

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