A capacitor is a two-terminal device that can store electric energy in the form of charged particles. You can think of a capacitor as a reservoir of charge that takes time to fill or empty. The voltage across a capacitor is proportional to the amount of charge it is storing – the more charge added to a capacitor of a given size, the larger the voltage across the capacitor. It is not possible to instantaneously move charge to or from a capacitor, so it is not possible to instantaneously change the voltage across a capacitor. It is this property that makes capacitors useful on Digilent boards and in many other applications.
Circuits often require output devices to communicate their state to an user. Examples of electronic output devices include computer monitors, LCD alphanumeric panels (as on a calculator), small lamps or light-emitting diodes (LED), etc. Digilent boards include different output devices, but all of them include some number of individual LED, and seven-segment LED displays that can display the digits 0-9 in each digit position (each segment in the seven-segment display contains a single LED). LED are two-terminal semiconductor devices that conduct current in only one direction (from the anode to the cathode). The small LED chips are secured inside a plastic housing, and they emit light at a givenfrequency (RED, YELLOW, etc.) when a small electric current (typically 10mA to 25mA) flows through them.
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