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My technical background isn't very strong, and I often hear about one circuit "driving" another, or "feeding" it. Although, intuitively, I believe I understand the concept, I am not sure I would be able to put it into words with enough rigor, hence, I'd like to understand it better.

Since these terms are used almost everywhere in electronics, be it digital or analog, I am sure this post could prove to be a nice place to learn about these concepts for other beginners, too.

Also, how much are these hardware concepts related to their software counterparts, e.g. device software driver vs its hardware driver?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Driver has low impedance (ideally zero ohms), receiver input has high impedance (ideally infinite ohms / zero Siemens). Energy flows from driver to receiver. So we use the driver to carry meaningful signal information to a receiver. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jul 10 '14 at 7:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Device software driver is a collection of software code related to a piece of hardware. Different meaning of the word 'driver'. A device driver typically sends and receives information from its hardware. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jul 10 '14 at 7:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ An electrical output drives or feeds an electrical input. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jul 10 '14 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkU: if a driver had (almost) zero impedance and a receiver (almost) infinite impedance it would be (almost) impossible to have energy flow because driver and receiver are (almost) maximally mismatched. \$\endgroup\$ – Curd Jul 10 '14 at 9:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Curd Good catch, that's true, especially for controlled impedance systems, where both driver and receiver should match (complex conjugate) characteristic impedance of the transmission line. So the receiver has to have some finite input impedance, otherwise it doesn't sample any of the energy. But usually the receiver should take as little as it needs. Anyway I think the issue in the original question was about terminology, didn't mean to get sidetracked... \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jul 11 '14 at 2:45

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