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BEAM From the Ground Up is a BEAM Reference Library site.

Basics of passive components
Resistors, capacitors, and batteries -- oh my!

A passive component is one that contributes no power gain (amplification) to a circuit or system. It has no control action and does not require any input other than a signal to perform its function.

For our purposes, this means resistors, capacitors, batteries and switches.

Resistors-- limit, or resist electrical current

Capacitors -- store charge (namely, electrons)

Batteries -- compact, chemical sources of voltage

Switches -- turn an electrical current on and off

Note that diodes are often treated as passive components -- but I discuss them elsewhere, along with other semiconductor-based components.

For more information...

I'm in the process of "beefing up" this material; in the meantime, I've found two good web sites that cover the basics -- John Adams' Basic Electronics, and Professor V's Basic Electronics mini-course.

If you're looking for a good book, and you live in North America, Radio Shack sells a book called "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims.

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