Brought to you by the students of P. A. Wiedorn at Wilde Lake High School

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Conductors are materials (usually metals) that are employed to carry electrical current. Most common wire is aluminum or copper. Computers often use silver or gold connections. Many other materials also conduct electricity.


Electrical insulators are materials used to stop the flow of electricity for personal protection and to avoid short circuits. Rubber, paper, and plastic are used around wires. Wood is used for utility poles. Stand-off insulators are made of ceramics.


Semi-conductors are electrical components specially designed so that sometime they conduct and sometimes they insulate, depending on conditions. Semi-conductor components are made from silicon (a common material that is what beach sand is mostly made of) or from germanium (a rare earth metal).

The simplest semi-conductor component is the diode. A diode will pass current in one direction but not in the other direction. One form of diode is the Light Emitting Diode or LED. Placed one way in a circuit and an LED will light. Placed the other way in a circuit it will not light.

A very useful semi-conductor is the transistor. Most electronic equipment uses many transistors in their circuits.

Many transistors made together form a micro-chip. One type of micro-chip is the operational amplifier or OP-AMP

Micro-chips containing many more transistors are called micro-processors. These micro-processors control a wide variety of devices (IPOD, cell phone, etc.) using a preset program.

Micro-chips designed to be reprogrammed frequently are called Central Processing Units (CPU), the heart of your computer.

IC Chip Data

Data Sheets for Common IC Chips

74LS04 Hex Inverter Gates

74LS08 Quad 2-Input AND Gates

74LS32 Quad 2-Input OR Gates

74LS74 Dual Positive-Edge-Triggered D Flip-Flops with Preset & Clear

LM555 Timer

More Information

74LS TTL Components

TLA for IC Package Styles

DIP: Dual In-Line Package

SOIC: Small Outline IC

QFP: Quad Flat PackThis one is actually a Thin Qual Flat Pack

PLCC: Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier

BGA: Ball Grid Array

Last updated on 21 July 2010 by P. A. Wiedorn


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