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What is a Digital Circuit?

By Christy Bieber
Updated May 17, 2024
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A digital circuit is a circuit that functions on a number of different logic gates. The logic gates differentiate power signals. The power signals are then transferred to different parts of the digital circuit through other gates to create an output signal directly pertinent to the energy level at the moment of signal input.

Most digital circuits are comprised mainly of smaller analog components that, because of the logic gate occurrence, only operate within a certain frame of voltages. Usually these operate at extremely low voltage signals. Digital circuits also require that the analog components located throughout the circuit not be placed in a manner that will allow them to perform analog functions. This usually means there is a logic gate both before and after the analog component.

Digital circuits are becoming more and more popular as technology requires the electronic devices used every day to become smaller and smaller, making the items more readily accessible regardless of location or circumstance. A digital circuit reacts quickly as power or signal is delivered to them, as long as the signal it receives is within the correct frame of voltage or energy. Digital circuits usually work best with low voltage signals, as they are more capable of handling these signals than higher voltages. Analog circuits typically require much more voltage behind the input signal to perform with the speed that digital circuits provide.

Digital circuits have become the first option in supplying power signals to a number of devices large or small in function, purpose, or size, because of the speed and accuracy they are able to provide. Digital circuits are also capable of greatly reducing the amount of electrical noise generated by many circuits as voltage or power signal is applied to them. This makes digital circuits a first choice when the stability of the signal is essential to the accuracy or function of the device.

As digital circuits are a bit more complex in most cases than analog circuitry, the use of a trained engineer or electrician is necessary whenever maintenance of a digital circuit is required. Another of the drawbacks of a digital circuit is that digital circuits require more energy to be supplied from the low voltage power or signal input in order to create the same results as an analog circuit. As a result, many digital circuit layouts have problems related to the temperature they generate during their functioning.

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Discussion Comments
By Mammmood — On Oct 04, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - I agree. I took a basic electronics course once where we were given the assignment to work with a digital circuit simulator.

Building the circuits was straightforward. You positioned the “gates” (for you’re on and off signals) and then drew lines between the gates to simulate the electrical wiring.

When you’re done you just run the program, and it will simulate the flow of current through your circuit. It’s kind of like working in preview mode before you actually build the circuit.

By SkyWhisperer — On Oct 03, 2011

Everything is going digital these days, as the article points out.

Which is better, digital or analog? I guess you could say it depends, but in my opinion, digital is the best for everything.

In digital circuit design everything is reduced to “on” or “off” values, or ones and zeros if you’re talking about computer circuits. This is the essence of simplicity.

As a result, I think that you can pack more information into a smaller amount of space when you’ve reduced your logical circuits to these binary values.

In the eyes of the general public, too, digital circuitry is viewed as more reliable and delivering higher quality. Most people may not understand the technical explanation for why that is, but they know the quality when they see it, whether it’s in digital television, or digital telephone or anything else like that.

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