Electronics 101


1. Introduction

The field of power electronics is vast and complex. It covers applications that go from “down-hole” motor drives to pump oil 1000m below the earth surface (at ambient temperatures of 150°C) to power supplies for space stations, where a failure implies the end of the mission.

The best we can do in this brief write-up is to cover the basics, with particular emphasis on power semiconductors.

The good news for the individuals who want to dig deeper into this topic is that there are several on-line courses. We will just mention two:

  •  From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 


  • From the University of Colorado:


General terms, like voltage, current, inductance, capacitance, etc., are used without definition. More specific terms will be defined as needed.

We also assume that the reader is familiar with the fundamental equations that tie voltage, current and power.