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Suppose I have a circuit with two ports. One port is considered the input, and the second port is considered the output.

Assume it's described via

$$V_{out} = \frac{V_{in}}{2}$$

Now assume there's no voltage applied to the input terminals.

Supply the output port with 5 V. If I measure the terminals of the input port, will I see 10 V?

In general, the answer is no, of course, as a voltage divider will show.

What do you call circuits that do satisfy the behavior where you measure 10 V at the input port given a supplied 5 V source at the output port? I'm asking for a general term, but using an example to illustrate what I mean.

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    \$\begingroup\$ which behavior? .... you talked about two \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Jan 11 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm... Reversable? Bidirectional? Ambivalent? I move that we all use "Ambivalent voltage converter" from now on. Seriously though probably bidirectional. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Jan 11 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KH I like that term. It's intuitive, and simple. If you answer with this same comment, I'll accept it. \$\endgroup\$ – Metric Jan 11 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ We'll wait a while to see if one of the engineers pops in, as they could comment with greater certainty than I and there may be an existing accepted term. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Jan 11 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ You got it! I'm just trying to avoid one of those cases where a question has a good answer in the comments but never becomes an actual "answer" for years and years. \$\endgroup\$ – Metric Jan 11 at 2:46
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  • In the specific case where \$V_\text{out}\$ and \$V_\text{in}\$ take on only two possible levels, the device is known as a bidirectional (logic) level translator/converter/shifter.

  • In the specific case where \$V_\text{out} = V_\text{in}\$, it is of course a wire or transmission line.

  • In the specific case where the device can be switched between \$V_\text{out} = V_\text{in}\$ and no connection, it is a switch — or, if implemented in semiconductors rather than mechanically, specifically an analog switch or transmission gate.

I do not expect there is a formal term for the general case of this behavior because it's not a realistic "found" behavior in a circuit except in special cases that are best considered on their own. That said, “bidirectional” would be a reasonable word to use — just don't expect it to automatically imply everything you've described here.

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Hmmm... Reversible? Invertible? Bidirectional? Ambivalent? I move that we all use "Ambivalent voltage converter" from now on. Seriously though probably bidirectional.

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