Common Terms and Abbreviations

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Some Common Abbreviations and Terms:

active = a class of components, often solid-state, that include diodes, transistors, and operational amplifiers

ADC = Analog-to-Digital Converter

bipolar supply voltage = a power supply like two batteries in series with the junction between them grounded

BOM = Bill Of Materials, a list of all the components used in a project.

by-pass capacitor = a capacitor that provides a path of low impedance (often as a decoupling capacitor)

cap = capacitor

coupling vs. decoupling capacitor

CC = Carbon Comp(osition), a type of resistor

CCW = Counter Clock-Wise, the opposite of clock-wise

CW = Clock-Wise (the direction of the hands of a clock), usually refers to direction of rotation of a potentiometer as the wiper (lug 2) goes from lug 1 around to lug 3

CCS = Constant Current Source (there's a nice Wikipedia introduction to simple transistor CCS circuits)

DAC = digital-to-analog converter

DIP = Dual Inline Package, as for many integrated circuits and sockets

discrete = a simple component like a transistor or a capacitor, contrasted with an integrated circuit like an operational amplifier

DMM = Digital MultiMeter

FET = Field-effect transistor

ground fill = see "ground pour"

ground plane board = a 4 layer pcb on which one of the layers is continuous copper--the changing current in a trace is accompanied by an equal and opposite image current in the ground plane so that there is less induced voltage on neighboring traces than without the ground plane

ground pour = grounded areas of copper on a pcb layer of traces. Note: this is not the same as a "ground plane"

HPF = High Pass Filter

IC = integrated circuit, e.g., an operational amplifier

LFO = Low Frequency Oscillator

LPF = Low Pass Filter

meter = multimeter

MF = Metal Film, a type of resistor often preferred for its low-noise qualities

Miller cap

opamp = operational amplifier

OTA = Operational Transconductance Amplifier passive = a category of components that includes resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, and switches

PCB = Printed Circuit Board. Typically, a thin sheet that has "traces" of conducting material (usually copper) that link the various components and provide a point for soldering.

perf = perfboard. Typically, a thin plastic sheet with pre-drilled small holes for component leads, wires, etc.

pot = potentiometer. Most commonly used to vary the resistance in a circuit. A volume control is nearly always a knob mounted to a potentiometer

PS = Power Supply, generally referring to a source of power other than a battery.

PWB = Printed Wiring Board (same as PCB -- used to differentiate from Polychlorinated Biphenyls)

PWM = Pulse Width Modulation -- describes an LFO or the output of an op amp comparator

RTS = Ready To Solder (commonly used as ready to solder board)

single supply voltage = a power supply like a battery with one terminal grounded

SIP = Single Inline Package, as for some transistors and sockets

SMD = Surface Mount Devices, which are often smaller versions of many familiar components

Ticking = An audible click produced by your circuits LFO. Can be heard through the amplifier.

trim, trimmer = a small potentiometer, often 1/4" or 3/8" square, often used as a variable resistor

TRS = Tip-Ring-Sleeve, refers to a type of 1/4" jack, often called "stereo" and commonly used to manage the power supply in a stompbox with the input plug. In most cases, a stereo jack will have 3 solder points or "lugs," whereas a mono jack will have only 2.

vero = veroboard also known as stripboard, a thin plastic sheet with regularly spaced grid of holes connected by parallel copper strips.

xfr, xfmr = transformer

xtl = crystal

Check out this thread from DougH