An often used and sometimes confusing term in electronic circuits is the word ground. The ground is a circuit node to which all voltages in a circuit are referenced. In a constant voltage supply circuit, one terminal from each voltage supply is typically connected to ground, or is grounded. For example, the negative terminal of a positive power supply is usually connected to ground so that any current drawn out of the positive terminal can be put back into the negative terminal via ground.
Many different types of components and devices can be found in modern circuits, including resistors, capacitors, and inductors, semiconductor devices like diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits, transducers like microphones, light sensors and motions sensors, actuators like motors and solenoids, and various other devices like heating and lighting elements. Devices in a circuit are connected to one another by means of electrical conductors, or wires. These wires can move electric currents between various points in a circuit. Once a wire connects two or more devices, the wire and all attached device connectors are said to form a single circuit node or net. Any electrical activity on a given net is communicated to all devices attached to the net. Certain nets provide electric power to devices, and other nets carry information between devices. Nets that carry information are called signals, and signals transport information encoded as voltage levels around a circuit. Signal nets typically use smaller conductors, and transport very small currents. Nets that carry power are called supply rails (or just supplies) and supply rails transport electric power around a circuit. Power nets typically use much larger conductors that signal nets, because they must transport larger currents.
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