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.
The active elements are the sources of electric energy for the circuit; they may be batteries, direct-current generators, or alternating-current generators. The passive elements are resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The electric circuit is described by a circuit diagram or map showing the active and passive elements and their connecting conducting paths.
Circuit diagrams can be classified into four types: schematic diagrams, wiring diagrams, basic diagrams, and design diagrams. Schematic diagrams depict the functional components of an electric circuit and their interconnections. Wiring diagrams (for connections and junctions) show the arrangement of circuit components and of connecting wires.
One means of doing analog-to-digital conversion is to use a clocked counter that feeds a digital-to-analog converter, whose output is compared with the analog signal to stop the count when the digital-to-analog output exceeds the analog signal. The counter output is then the analog-to-digital output. The comparator for such an analog-to-digital converter is similar to an open-loop operational amplifier (which changes saturation level when one of the differential input levels crosses the other). Other types of analog-to-digital converters, called flash converters, can do the conversion in a shorter time by use of parallel operations, but they are more expensive.