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What’s the Difference Between Electronics and Electrical Engineering?

Electronics and electrical engineering are not the same thing!

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This is to set things straight – electronics engineering and electrical engineering are two different fields that cannot be used interchangeably. Others get so confused what the differences are between the two so here’s a piece to put a dot to them all. Both are not entirely different though, as there is a common theme: both involve moving electricity around a circuit.

A Day in the Life of an Electronics Engineer.

What is an Electrical Engineer?

Mechatronic engineer Michael Chandler explains the main difference between electronics and electrical circuits. The former has a decision making or processing capability; while the latter does not have. Electronic circuits interpret a signal or an instruction to perform a task; while electric circuits simply power machines with electricity.

There is a difference in scale as well. Majority of electronic components are quite small and requires small direct current (DC) voltages; on the other hand, electrical components tend to be larger, and needs alternating current (AC) voltages.

Source: Bradford UK

Both electronics and electrical circuits can work together by providing relays or transistors. These are switches in essence but do not need to be pushed manually but operated by a small current from an electronic circuit instead. This small circuit can be expanded with many tiny components which can be used to operate much larger electrical equipment.

Understanding the core of electrical engineering and electronics engineering provides the distinction between the two.

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