Transistors are basic to the operation of electronic circuits. Bipolar transistors have three terminals, designated as the base B, the collector C, and the emitter E. These terminals connect to two diode junctions, B-C and B-E, these forming back-to-back diodes. The B-E junction is often forward-biased, in which case its voltage is about 0.7 V, while the B-C junction is reverse-biased for linear operation.
The active elements are the sources of electric energy for the circuit; they may be batteries, direct-current generators, or alternating-current generators. The passive elements are resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The electric circuit is described by a circuit diagram or map showing the active and passive elements and their connecting conducting paths.