Most of the fundamental electronic components – resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, and operational amplifiers – are all inherently analog. Circuits built with a combination of solely these components are usually analog.
Analog circuits can be very elegant designs with many components, or they can be very simple, like two resistors combining to make a voltage divider. In general, though, analog circuits are much more difficult to design than those which accomplish the same task digitally. It takes a special kind of analog circuit wizard to design an analog radio receiver, or an analog battery charger; digital components exist to make those designs much simpler.
Analog circuits are usually much more susceptible to noise (small, undesired variations in voltage). Small changes in the voltage level of an analog signal may produce significant errors when being processed.
Digital circuits operate using digital, discrete signals. These circuits are usually made of a combination of transistors and logic gates and, at higher levels, microcontrollers or other computing chips. Most processors, whether they’re big beefy processors in your computer, or tiny little microcontrollers, operate in the digital realm.
Digital circuits usually use a binary scheme for digital signaling. These systems assign two different voltages as two different logic levels – a high voltage (usually 5V, 3.3V, or 1.8V) represents one value and a low voltage (usually 0V) represents the other.
Although digital circuits are generally easier to design, they do tend to be a bit more expensive than an equally tasked analog circuit.
Tools and Equipment
- Frequency Generators
- Soldering Irons
- SMD Soldering Station
- Heat Guns
- Assorted Components