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Basic Electronics Overview

A technician needs to know a few basic electronic terms and concepts when testing components. The best place to start is with electricity. There are two types of electricity: AC and DC. The electricity provided by a wall outlet is AC (alternating current), and the type of electricity used by computer components is DC (direct current). Devices such as radios, TVs, and toasters use AC power. Low-voltage DC power is used for a computer’s internal components and anything powered by batteries. A computer’s power supply converts AC electricity from the wall outlet to DC for the internal components. Electricity involves electrons flowing through a conductor, similar to the way that water runs through a pipe. With AC, the electrons flow alternately in both directions. With DC, the electrons flow in one direction only.

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