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Electronics. Dan Simon Cleveland State University ESC 120. Voltage. Voltage is the amount of work needed to move an electric charge High voltage in an electrical system is like high pressure in a hydraulic system

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Dan SimonCleveland State UniversityESC 120

Revised August 28, 2010


  • Voltage is the amount of work needed to move an electric charge

  • High voltage in an electrical system is like high pressure in a hydraulic system

  • Common outlets in the United States: 120 Volts, 60 Hertz, alternating current (AC)


  • Electric current: The flow of electric charge (electrons), measured in Amperes

  • One amp of current means a flow of one Coulomb (6.241 × 1018 electrons) per second

    • Amps = Coulombs / second

  • High current in an electrical system is like high rate of flow in a hydraulic system


  • Power: The rate at which current flows, measured in Watts

  • Power is the product of voltage and current

    • Watts = Volts × Amps

  • Typical power consumption

    • Air conditioner: 2000 W

    • Clock: 2 W

    • Television: 200 W

    • Light bulb: 100 W

Ohio’s average electricity cost:

12 cents per kW-hr


A resistor reduces the rate of flow of electric current, measured in Ohms: V = IR

Example: If R1 > R2, then the current through R1 will be less than the current through R2

Resistor Combinations


R = R1 + R2


R = 1 / (1/R1 + 1/R2)


Trimpot Adjuster


Capacitors store electrical energy


Transistors can be used as electrically-controlled switches. The current through the transistor is proportional to the voltage applied to the base.


Diodes allow current to flow only in one direction.Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) emit light.The long lead connects to the positive voltage.

Current flow

Solderless Breadboard


Internal connections in orange

Wire and Wire Strippers


Measures voltage, current, and resistance.

If you get unpredictable readings, check the battery!

Power Supply

Regulated 5 Volt power supply: “wall wart”

You need to cut off the connector so that you can connect the bare wires to your breadboard


Breadboard with connector posts, ready for power supply connections

LED Experiment

Resistor value should be at least 400 ohms

Potentiometer Experiment

Motor Experiment

Motor Experiment

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