An important concept in electronic circuits is that of feedback. Feedback occurs when an output signal is fed around a device to contribute to the input of the device. Consequently, when positive feedback occurs, that is, when the output signal returns to reinforce itself upon being fed back, it can lead to the generation of signals which may or may not be wanted. Circuit designers need to be conscious of all possible feedback paths that are present in their circuits so that they can ensure that unwanted oscillations do not occur. In the case of negative feedback, that is, when the output signal returns to weaken itself, then a number of improvements in circuit performance often ensue; for example, the circuit can be made less sensitive to changes in the environment or element variations, and deleterious nonlinear effects can be minimized.
Schematic diagrams define the components of the article that constitute a complete set and the interconnections between components; they usually give a detailed representation of the working principle of the article and may serve as a basis for developing other design documents, such as electrical installation blueprints and specification sheets.
Electric circuit theory includes the study of all aspects of electric circuits, including analysis, design, and application. In electric circuit theory the fundamental quantities are the potential differences (voltages) in volts between various points, the electric currents in amperes flowing in the several paths, and the parameters in ohms or mhos which describe the passive elements. Other important circuit quantities such as power, energy, and time constants may be calculated from the fundamental variables. For a discussion of these parameters.
Because most signals in the real world are analog but digital computers work on discretizations, it is necessary to convert between digital and analog signals. As mentioned above, this is done through digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters. Most approaches to digital-to-analog conversion use summers, where the voltages representing the digital bits are applied to input resistors, either directly or indirectly through switches gated on by the digital bits which change the input resistance fed by a dc source.