Getting to grips with electrical components

25 08 2011

Electrical components are a stable part of any circuit or device, but what items are there and what do they do? Here we look at a few of the most common electrical components to help you on your way to understanding circuitry and electronics.

Alligator Clips

Everyone is familiar with alligator, or crocodile, clips having probably used them during a school experiment of some sort. Alligator clips use serrated ‘jaws’ at either end of a wire in order to connect electrical components and carry electrical charge. The ‘jaws’ are opened by springs in order to clamp down firmly and provide a non-permanent but stable connection.

You will be familiar with the larger sibling of alligator clips: battery clamps, or ‘jump leads’. These operate under the same system as alligator clips, just at a larger size.


These are electronic switches which are operated by very little force. Microswitches are incredibly popular within circuitry and electronics because they feature low costs and are incredibly durable. The selling point of microswitches is that small force is needed to generate large movement – a desire for anyone looking to start using electronics.


Electronic terminals refer to the point on circuits where a component ends. This can then be connected to other external areas and circuits, providing a point of contact. There are a number of different types of terminals, including blade connectors, ring terminals and spade terminals.


Connectors are used to link terminals to other areas of electronic circuitry and are therefore closely related to the above. Low-voltage connectors are designed to operate under lower voltage powers and are great components for electronics.

For further information on electrical components, including connectors, from leading manufacturers such as Amphenol, visit




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