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Difference Between Active Components and Passive Components

Main Difference

The main difference between Active Components and Passive Components is that Active Components are those that need an external source to operate, whereas Passive Components are those components that do not need any external source to operate.

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Active Components vs. Passive Components

Active components are the electronic components that used to deliver power to the circuit, whereas passive components are those that utilize power in the circuit.

Active components play their role in the production of energy in the form of current or voltage. On the flip side, passive components are the components that play their role in the storage of energy in the form of current and voltage. The active components need an external source to operate, while the passive components do not need any external source to operate.

Active components are capable of controlling the flow of current. On the other hand, passive components are incapable of controlling the flow of current. The active components are known as energy donors. Conversely, passive components are known as an energy acceptor. Moreover, the active components normally fall under the non-linear category. On the flip side, the passive components come under the linear category.

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Active components can also amplify the signals because they have gained more than one. On the other hand, passive components have gained less than one so, they cannot amplify the signals. Examples of active components are Diodes, Integrated circuits, Transistors, and SCR, etc. On the flip side, the examples of passive components are Capacitor, Resistor, memristor, and Inductor, etc.

Comparison Chart

Active ComponentsPassive Components
The electronic component that has an analog electronic filter and used to deliver power to the circuit is known as an active component.The electronic component that is a module and utilizes power in the circuit is known as a passive component.
Role
They play their role in the production of energy in the form of current or voltage.These components play their role in the storage of energy in the form of current and voltage.
The Need for External Source
They need an external source to operate.They do not demand.
Power Gain
Active components are able to provide power gain.They cannot provide power gain.
Flow of Current
They are capable of controlling the flow of current.These components are incapable of controlling the flow of current.
Known As
The active components are known as energy donors.They are known as an energy acceptor.
Category
These components normally fall under the nonlinear category.The passive components come under the linear category.
Amplification
Active components can amplify the signals because they have gained more than one.The passive components have gained less than one so, they cannot amplify the signals.
Examples
Examples of active components are Diodes, Integrated circuits, Transistors, and SCR, etc.The examples of passive components are Resistor, memristor, Inductor, and Capacitor, etc.
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What are Active Components?

Active components are the electronic component that has an analog electronic filter and is used to deliver power to the circuit. These are the electrical devices that play their role in the production of energy in the form of current or voltage, but they need an external source to operate.

Active components are able to provide power gain and are capable of controlling the flow of current. These components normally fall under the non-linear category. Active components have gain more than one so, they can amplify the signals. An active component is made up of a transistor, oscillator, or an integrated circuit.

Such components work as the alternating current circuit in devices. They help the device to expand power and voltage. The active components may perform their operations because it is run by a source of electricity. These components need some source of energy, which is extracted through a DC circuit.

Examples

  • Diode: It is a tremendous little active component that is used to direct the flow of current in a circuit; It prevents other components from damage in case of energy flow in the wrong way. As it is an active component, so it needs an external source, i.e., voltage or current, in order to operate.
  • Transistor: It is also a tiny active component that can be used to amplify current. Its input is a small value of current that is converted into a larger current value. It is used in different circuit designs. Some popular transistors are 2N2222, BC547, and BC557. They can be utilized individually or in combination, depending on the planning of the device. They play many important roles like amplification, regulation of voltage and adjusting signals, etc.
  • Silicon Controlled Rectifiers: The silicon controlled rectifiers or SCRs are power electronics switch. They have three terminals known as Cathode, Anode, and Gate. If its switch is open, there is no current flow between its terminals, i.e., the Anode and Cathode. But, after the application of a small amount of current to the gate pin, the switch gets closed and allows a large amount of current to flow between the Anode and Cathode terminals.

What are Passive Components?

The passive component is the electronic component that is a module and utilizes power in the circuit. These components play their role in the storage of energy in the form of current and voltage and do not need any external source to operate.

The passive components cannot provide power gain and are incapable of controlling the flow of current. They come in the linear category. They have gained less than one so, and they cannot amplify the signals. These components consist of two-terminal components, for example, capacitors, resistors, inductors, and transformers.

There are two main types of passive components, i.e., lossy or dissipative and lossless. Lossy is one which does not absorb power from the external circuit, e.g., resistors. On the other side, lossless is that which is without any input or output net level flow, e.g., inductors, transformers, and gyrators, etc.

Examples

  • Capacitors: Capacitors have two or more conductive plates that are separated by a dielectric sheet. It stores energy in the form of an electrostatic charge in the electric field located between these plates. They are used for storage in circuits and may also be applied in filter circuits to differentiate between low and high-frequency signals. They are divided into Ceramic Capacitors, Mylar capacitors, Electrolytic Capacitor, and X-rated Capacitors.
  • Resistors: It resists the movement of current. They can control the flow of current in the circuit by decreasing the voltage in the device automatically. As it is a passive component so, it does not require any outside source or cause to start the process. When it is linked to an electric circuit with the supply voltage, it begins work without using any specific power or voltage.
  • Inductors: It can also be utilized to deliver a charge and store energy. In a circuit, it has a very high impedance on AC or alternating current and very little impedance on DC or direct current. They are used in SMPS circuits, and Power supply circuits like AC/DC converters, etc.

Key Differences

  1. The electronic component that has an analog electronic filter and used to deliver power to the circuit is known as an active component whereas, the electronic component that is a module and utilizes power in the circuit is known as a passive component.
  2. The active components play their role in the production of energy in the form of current or voltage. On the other hand, the passive components play their role in the storage of energy in the form of current and voltage.
  3. The active components need an external source to operate. Conversely, passive components do not need any external source to operate.
  4. Active components may provide power gain. On the flip side, the passive components cannot provide power gain.
  5. The active components are capable of controlling the movement of the current. On the other side, the passive components are incapable of controlling the flow of current.
  6. The active components are known as energy donors, while the passive components are known as an energy acceptor.
  7. The active components normally fall under the non-linear category. On the other hand, the passive components come under the linear category.
  8. Active components can amplify the signals because they have gained more than one, whereas the passive components have gained less than one so, they cannot amplify the signals.
  9. Examples of active components are Diodes, SCR, Transistors, and Integrated circuits, etc. on the flip side, the examples of passive components are Inductor, memristor, Capacitor, and Resistor, etc.

Comparison Video

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Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that active components are the electronic components that are used to deliver power to the circuit and need an external source to operate, e.g., diodes. On the other side, passive components are those that utilize power in the circuit and do not need any external source to operate, e.g., capacitors.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss