I am a beginner in Electronics. What i read now a days in my text book is about diodes,transistors etc. They are used for some rectification and amplification etc ? I wonder why do we need to give different shapes to voltage and current. For what these different wave forms of current and voltage are used ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're using one of those reasons right now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 21:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is too broad for here. YouTube and Google are your friends. Look for "introduction to electronics" or "basic electronics". \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Before you can create DC from AC power you must rectify it. Then you smooth it with a filter (usually a capacitor). Then it has characteristics like a battery supply thus making it usable for electronics. Without amplification of small signals (like those received from an antenna) you don't have anything that is useful as radio. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 21:22

2 Answers 2


A power company wants to generate electricity, but they don't want to waste it on power transmission.

Power loss in a wire is given by $$P = I^2R$$

but you can also calculate power as $$ P = IV$$

where I is current, V is voltage, and R is resistance.

So power companies use very high voltages, as this lets them use very low currents, which means (relatively) little power loss in the transmission lines.

You don't want to use very thick insulation on your electrical cables in your house, though, which is what's required to prevent you from getting shocked by the 100,000 volts the power company produces. You would like to get the voltage down to, maybe, 120V or 220V.

So the power company makes alternating current, or AC power, because this creates a time-varying magnetic field around the wire. If you get a bunch of this wire together, then you can use that magnetic field to induce electricity in another bunch of wire.

The neat thing is that the voltage output of that cluster of wire, called a "transformer", is related to the ratio of input to output turns. This means you can now step down from 100,000 volts to 120 volts.

But, your computer is a digital device. It likes things to be "ON", at a constant voltage, or "OFF". If the voltage is time-varying, you don't get to have nice things like logical TRUE or "ON". So you would like to rectify the AC power into DC power.

You do that with an arrangement of diodes called a bridge, which technically creates ripple DC, which you can smooth with capacitors to approximate a steady DC supply.

Then your computer works.

Also, you might want to shape electricity to make interesting shapes with it, like the PAL signal to make images on TV, or to reproduce audio, or any number of other amazing things that you can do with analog electricity.


If you know what voltage and current are, then it should be obvious why you might want to amplify them sometimes.

A public address system is a common (and should have been obvious) example. A microphone puts out millivolt level signals. These are way too small to drive a speaker. Amplifying the tiny microphone signal to volts or 10s of volts allows driving a loudspeaker.


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