Experiment 1

Electronic Familiarity

Identification of Electronic Components

Objective: The object of this lab is to examine and identify several electronic devices.


Many individuals work with a variety of electronic components during a typical work day. Scientists, engineers and repair technicians all must be able to recognize a variety of components by sight in order to accomplish their jobs.

Time: One half hour


Electronic devices and components of modern electrical circuits take many appearances. Looking into a radio or calculator to see the working parts will baffle most people. For you to have a better understanding of electronic devices and components, you need to be able to recognize some of the more common parts. Because of their great variety of colors, shape and sizes it is possible to include only a few diagrams in this lab. Catalogues from Radio Shack, Mouser, or Newark are good references for pictures.

Materials and Supplies:

microscope and/or stereoscope

hand held magnifier

electrical meters (voltmeters, ammeters, ohmmeters, or multimeters) AC/DC power source

samples of electronic components from old radios, T.V.'s, calculators including:

samples of wire (10 cm)

coaxial cable


choke coils



integrated circuits

flashlight bulbs

light emitting diodes (LED)




semiconductor rectifiers

zener diodes






vacuum tube


General Safety Guidelines:

* Students should be careful of sharp edges while handling the small electronic devices.


1. Spread some of the electronic devices on a piece of paper on your table or desk.

2. With the naked eye observe the appearance and shape of the devices.

3. Examine each device with a hand lens magnifier.

4. Use a microscope or stereoscope to look for details, especially on the transparent


5. In your notebook make a rough sketch of the devices and label each diagram.


1. Which devices can be identified as metal/nonmetal conductors?

2. Which devices include semiconductor materials?

3. Which devices will resist the flow of electrons?

4. Which devices will allow the electron flow in one direction only?

5. Identify the uses for five of the examined devices.

6. Identify five devices used in microelectronics applications.

Teacher Notes:

* Teacher preparation time is about 10 minutes.

* The lab time depends on the number of devices being observed.

* A "junk box" may contain many of these items. Check with a local electronic repair shop for discarded devices or have students bring old broken or discarded parts.

* To help students identify the devices make electronic catalogs available. (Radio Shack, Mouser Electronics, etc.)

* The teacher may want to break open some of the devices with pliers or a hammer to help students see what is inside.

Answers to Questions:

1. Wire, cable, choke coils, solder, flashlight bulbs

2. Diodes, IC chips, LED's, photocells, transistors, thermistors

3. All materials resist the electron flow to some degree. Semiconductors and insulators

have more resistance than metals.

4. Diodes, LED's, rectifiers

5. All solid state radios, TV's, printed circuits, calculators, computers (see glossary for

more help)

6. Integrated circuit (IC chip), diodes, transistors, photocells, LED's

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