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Difference Between Active and Passive Components

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Active Components

Electrical Components which need an external source to initiate the operation are known as active components such as Silicon-Controlled Rectifier (SCR), Transistors, and Diodes.

Example

Since a Diode is an active element so it needs an external source (either voltage or current) in order to initiate the operation. When the diode is linked with an electric circuit, it does not start conducting the current unless the source potential approaches to 0.5 V (for Germanium) or 0.7 V (for Silicon).

Passive Components

Electrical Components which do not need an external source to initiate the operation are known as passive components such as Inductor, Resistor, and Capacitor.

Example

Since a Resistor is a passive element so it does not need an external source (either voltage or current) in order to initiate the operation. When the resistor is linked with an electric circuit with the supply voltage, it starts working without utilizing any particular voltage.

The key differences between Active Component and Passive Component are explained in this article on the basis of power consumption, operational requirements, gain, storage, power factor, linearity, and energy behavior.The following table explains the key Differences between Active Components and Passive Components in an electric circuit.

Difference between Active and Passive Components

CharacteristicsActive ComponentPassive Component
PowerDelivers power to the circuitEmploys power in the circuit
Elements Includes diodes, transistors, SCR, batteries, and cellsIncludes resistor, capacitor, inductor, transformer, transducer
Operational RequirementsRequires external source to their operationDoes not require any external source to their operation
Power gainCapable of providing power gain (just like an amplifier)Cannot provide any power gain
Energy StorageCannot store the energy Can store the energy (in case of inductor and capacitor)
Energy behavior can be called as Energy DonorCan be called as Energy Acceptor
Current FlowCapable to control the current flow in the circuitCannot control the current flow in the circut
LinearityNormally non-linearFall under linear category mostly
Amplification They can amplify the signal because of having gain more than oneThey are not able to amplify the signal because of having gain less than one
 

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About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.