Extremely Simple Transistor Questions

I like to think I’m a pretty smart guy, but Transistors have got me beat.

I have no clue how Transistors work (to boost power, or to use as a switch), and I can’t seem to find a tutorial that’s written in Layman’s terms. I’m talking about something pointed towards beginners. I see lots of fancy looking diagrams, complicated mentions of Diodes, Bases, Emitters, and Collectors without any real mention of what exactly these are.

If anyone could guide me towards a simple tutorial/introduction to transistors, or simply explain it here, I would be eternally grateful! :smiley:

Here is a very brief and basic page on transistors in switching applications


Thanks for the help with that one! I also seemed to have found the solution. I think I just needed a good example. Here it is:


On radioshack, they have the transistor used in that circuit (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062617), but it is rated for the following:

Use this transistor for your electronic needs. Power dissipation of 80W. Case type: TO-220.

  • V(CE):2.0
  • V(BE): 2.8
  • I(C) Max: 8.0A

Can anyone explain the significance of those numbers ? :stuck_out_tongue:

well when you look at the datasheet its totally different numbers, so either the shack is retarded (im mad at them atm anyways) or those are minimum values


Vce = voltage across the collector and out the emitter
Vbe = voltage across the base and the emitter
Ic = the current that the the collector can deal with (which if you look at the datasheet is only 5 amps constant)

look at the datasheet for more info :stuck_out_tongue: