A general term referring to a system or part of a system of conducting parts and their interconnections through which an electric current is intended to flow. A circuit is made up of active and passive elements or parts and their interconnecting conducting paths.
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.
The path taken by an electric current in flowing through a conductor through one complete run of a set of wires from a power source, such as a panelboard, to various electrical devices and back to the same power source. The wires used for various circuits are prescribed by codes, such as the National Electrical Code.
The devices in an electronic circuit are classified as being either passive or active. The passive devices change signal energy, as is done dynamically by capacitors and statically by transformers, or absorb signal energy, as occurs in resistors, which also act to convert voltages to currents and vice versa. The active devices, such as batteries, transistors, operational amplifiers, and vacuum tubes, can supply signal energy to the circuit and in many cases amplify signal energy by transforming power supply energy into signal energy.