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What is your favourite type of component?

What is your favourite type of component?


  • Total voters
    27

It'snorocketscience

Feb 20, 2015
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I felt like posting this here, and I apologize if I look like some forum-newbie, but I just wanted to know.

My favorite component is a relay.
 

KrisBlueNZ

Sadly passed away in 2015
Nov 28, 2011
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My favourite component is the 555 timer!

Just kidding. I just said that to p*ss Adam off!

I agree with Steve on the 40106 or the 4093. Very versatile devices. Also I think modern MOSFETs are pretty amazing with their ON-resistance into the low milliohms, and I think microcontrollers are extremely cool. I've alway liked AVRs and I'm reluctantly starting to hate PICs less too.
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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I like new, high-tech, components that I can get as free samples by visiting the manufacturer's web site. Sometimes these are only available as itsy bitsy teeny weenie SMDs, so it is problematical whether or not I can actually "play" with them.

For example, I received an assortment of high-performance analog amplifiers (op-amps mostly) from Analog Devices a few years ago and each one was packaged in a plastic box with conducting "foam" inside. The individual device was almost invisible, it was so small! I know I can purchase "adapter boards" to solder these little packages onto, and the adapter board will spread out and extend the device terminals to more accessible solder pads, but I haven't done this yet. The parts remain in their original packaging, getting obsolete by the minute, while I procrastinate. I love analog design, but most of my time of late has been digital. My new Arduino Uno adventure (just starting) offers the opportunity to get involved in mixed-signal (analog and digital) design. And one of these days, I will fire up that Raspberry Pi that has been sitting in my office for two years, gain some familiarity with Linux, and proceed down that road too.

I also like the "almost free" but reasonably priced and fully populated and assembled circuit boards called "reference designs" that most semiconductor manufacturers offer. I have several Texas Instruments MSP430 based reference designs that have built-in USB interfaces for programming. These are more than fun to play with. I might eventually design one into an application eventually, but this will also require a custom PCB and all that entails. Everything is a prototype design for now.

So, bottom line: my favorite component is ALL of them!
 

KrisBlueNZ

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Well, It's like asking what is your favorite instrument in a symphony. The magic is when they are all brought together.
True that. The resistor is a pretty boring component, but we'd all be in big trouble if they didn't exist! And they are actually pretty impressive technology - a little metal film resistor that costs a fraction of a cent is impressively close to a perfect or ideal component. But still, I think MOSFETs and MCUs are a lot more interesting.
 

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
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Jan 21, 2010
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What is that?

It's a logic gate. 6 of them come in a package. Essentially the output has the opposite logic state to the input, but the input has a Schmitt trigger which means that the output switches very rapidly as the input crosses one of two voltage levels.

It doesn't sound too fancy, but it can do many things that a 555 timer can do, and a whole lot else besides.

Here is an example of a switch mode regulator which uses these gates at its heart.

AN-140 is an application note that barely scratches the surface of what you can do with this chip (or what you can do up to six times, because the standard package contains 6 of these devices).

edit: AN140 has moved! This link takes you directly there. This application note has become harder and harder to find!
 
Last edited:

hevans1944

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Jun 21, 2012
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My favorite component is the CMOS inverting Schmitt trigger.
I like these, too. An almost essential component when interfacing to "real world" analog signals for subsequent digital processing. Works well as a digital inverter if you don't need the Schmitt trigger functionality, often saving board space and obviating the need for another package.

Note that many of the old TTL and CMOS logics that contained multiple devices in one package are now available in SMD packages with just one device per package. That really saves board space and improves PCB layout if you don't mind working with such tiny parts.
 

KrisBlueNZ

Sadly passed away in 2015
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A while ago I did a survey of CD40106 and CD4093 devices available from various manufacturers and found quite a wide variation in the threshold voltage ranges. The survey isn't complete but I'll post it here in case it's of interest.

CMOS Schmitt trigger thresholds survey.png

Interesting that the frequency formula for the Schmitt trigger RC oscillator varies a lot from one manufacturer to another. For the Fairchild 40106 (which has nice symmetrical threshold voltages), it's t = 1.7 RC, but for the NXP 4093 it's t = 0.44 RC. That's a ratio of nearly 4:1! (That's an exclamation mark, not a factorial symbol!)
 

shumifan50

Jan 16, 2014
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The component that suits what I am currently doing, so it varies by requirement.

Having said that most solutions can be achieved with an MCU and I am a PIC fan. It is the flexibility that attracts me: changes don't need re-etching (most of the time).
 

BobK

Jan 5, 2010
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I got back into electronics after a long hiatus when I built a new charger for my drill/driver batteries. I used a PIC and made a current regulated buck converter and the deltaV termination criterion. When this actually worked, I was hooked on PICs.

Edit: I did not know about hardware PWM at the time, so I used software PWM. I had a jump table that jumped into a series of NOPs in order to get 1 instruction cycle resolution for the duty cycle.

Bob
 

hevans1944

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Jun 21, 2012
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Small signal BJT. Incredibly versatile.
Indeed! Especially if you integrate a few hundred of them onto a single integrated circuit substrate! This revolutionized analog circuit design somewhere around the middle of the 20th Century. NMOS and PMOS (and later, CMOS) played catch-up for only a few years before soaring ahead to become THE technology of choice for most things digital or analog. And of course the BJT was (and still is) an integral part of high-speed emitter coupled logic (ECL), although very few new designs use ECL today, AFAIK. Nice choice, @mofy.
 

cjdelphi

Oct 26, 2011
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for me it's the transistor, you'd have nothing worth owning if not for that little guy!
 
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