Functional diagrams showing the processes that occur within an article and within individual components are used in studying the functional capabilities of the article, as well as in installation, adjustment, control, and repair work.
Electronic circuits are also classified as analog or digital. Analog circuits work with signals that span a full range of values of voltages and currents, while digital circuits work with signals that are at prescribed levels to represent numerical digits. Analog signals generally are used for continuous-time processes, while digital ones most frequently occur where transistions are synchronized via a clock. However, there are situations where it is desirable to transfer between these two classes of signals, that is, where analog signals are needed to excite a digital circuit or where a digital signal is needed to excite an analog circuit. For example, it may be desired to feed a biomedically recorded signal, such as an electrocardiogram into a digital computer, or it may be desired to feed a digital computer output into an analog circuit, such as a temperature controller. For such cases, there are special electronic circuits, called analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters.
Electric circuits are used to transmit power as in high-voltage power lines and transformers or in low-voltage distribution circuits in factories and homes; to convert energy from or to its electrical form as in motors, generators, microphones, loudspeakers, and lamps; to communicate information as in telephone, telegraph, radio, and television systems; to process and store data and make logical decisions as in computers; and to form systems for automatic control of equipment.
In basic diagrams, the standard symbols for the circuit components are arranged in correspondence with the operational principle of the device, as well as to facilitate the reading of the diagram. In design diagrams, all or some of the components are represented as equivalent circuits; in such diagrams, sources of electromotive force, current, resistance, inductance, capacitance, and so on are assumed to be components with lumped parameters.