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Published on February 21st, 2013 | by toptech


What sorts of products do electronic parts suppliers sell?

You probably recognise that many of the everyday technologies we rely on are made up of many different electronic parts, but do you actually know what these parts are? Do you even know what sorts of electronic parts are on sale at well-known parts suppliers? If not, read on to find out.

Electronic parts suppliers sell a very wide range of products. They offer components as well as actual pieces of equipment; those the emphasis (as the name would imply) is on parts. Here’s a taster of the kinds of products these much-needed suppliers offer the world…


Small in size but great in power, capacitors are two-terminal components that are passive in nature. They usually help to store energy in electric fields and form part of many everyday electrical devices. They can also be used to help alternate currents pass whilst blocking direct currents. This can help make the power output smoother. Parts suppliers usually sell a range of capacitors, including trimmers, tantalums, plastic film, electrolytics, ceramics and generic film.


Otherwise known as a switch, relays are operated electrically and use electromagnets when operating. Those that are relied upon to handle high-power circuits, powering things like motors or large loads, are called contractors. They are typically applied within telegraph relays, high-voltage circuits and logic functions. Time delay functions and vehicle battery insulation can also benefit from relays. Usually, electronic components suppliers would stock solid state relays, electromechanical ones and reed models.


Used to help enhance conductivity between two materials, semiconductors’ conductivity levels increase as their surrounding temperature rises. Often, they are used to make two differing materials conduct – particularly where one is not a natural conductor. This means it could be used to help glass and copper conduct electricity, for example. Labelled the ‘foundation’ of today’s electronics, semiconductors come in many forms. Suppliers will usually sell everything from transistors, linears and analogue ICs to digital ICs, OP converters, microprocessors and microcontrollers.

Rectifiers and diodes

Diodes boast two terminals and help materials to conduct electricity. They can even help a current go in one direction, whilst blocking it via the other; a.k.a the reverse direction. It’s basically like a check valve, but electronic. Recitifers meanwhile covert alternating currents into direct currents, through a process that’s commonly referred to as rectification. Typically, the range of diodes and rectifiers on sale at a parts supplier will include zeners, bridges, references, small signals and the Schottky.


Last but not least, we come to the resistor – the mighty two-terminal, passive component that acts as an electrical resistor within circuits. They are commonly found in electronic equipment. Such is their popularity that they must be made to very strict industry standards, such as BS1852, MIL-PRF-914, MIL-PRF-26, EIA-RS-279 and MIL-R-39017. Usually, electronic parts suppliers would sell resistors like metal oxide, wire-wound models, networks, thermistors and carbon film.

This is just a taster of the sorts of components electronic parts suppliers would offer, but at least it gives you a basic understanding.

About the Author: Justin Leary is a computing blogger who regularly upgrades his machine; so he knows a thing or two about the complex parts involved. Justin writes this article on behalf of electronic components supplier Ashlea Components.

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