This is the place to find out what an Anode does all the way to what a Wavelength means to your AC cycle! We’ve listed some of the most popular electronic-related terms. As well as a few slightly more obscure ones!


AC VOLTAGE: An electric current that reverses its direction regularly and continually, thus it is Alternating Current.

ALGORITHM: A computer code that tells the computer what to do.

AMPERAGE: The strength of an electric current measured in amperes. One ampere is the amount of current that flows through one ohm of resistance with one volt applied.

AMPLIFICATION: A process that makes electronic signals louder.

AMPLIFIER: A product used to increase a signal by using a lower signal.

AMPLITUDE: The maximum instantaneous value of an alternating wave of voltage or current measured from a reference line to either a maximum positive value or maximum negative value.

ANALOG: A variable that remains similar to another variable in proportional relationships over a specified range.

ANODE: The positive electrode in an electrochemical device. In a magnetron tube, the anode is usually the outer casting and is at ground potential.

ANODIZE:  A process that electrolytically produces an insulating oxide film on a conducting surface.

BANDWIDTH:  A measurement of frequencies.

BATTERY:  Cells that connect to provide voltage.

BINARY: A series of 1 and 0 numbers that cause a computer to function.

BIT:  A 1 or 0 used in binary code.

BUS:  A path used between two different machines that allows them to work together.

BYTE:  Eight bits of binary code.

BIAS: A DC voltage applied to the control electrode of an electronic device to establish the desired operating point.

CABLE: A  type of wire that serves to transmit data.

CELL: A portion of a battery.

COAXIAL CABLE: A type of cable where the inner portion is protected against electromagnetic radiation.

COLOR CODE: A system used to identify different types of capacitors and resistors in one wire.

CUTOFF FREQUENCY: The frequency where an item stops working due to overload.

CAPACITANCE: The property of a capacitor that determines how much charge can be stored in it for a given potential difference across its terminals. The basic unit is the farad. However, the small microfarad unit is more commonly used: abbreviated MFD.

CATHODE: The general name for any negative electrode. In a magnetron tube, the cathode is centered within the anode and at high negative voltage potential.

CAVITY RESONATOR: A space totally enclosed by a metallic conductor and supplied with energy in such a way that it becomes a source of electromagnetic oscillations. In a microwave oven, the food compartment is a resonant cavity

CHOKE: (1) An inductance (usually a coil) used in a circuit to impede the flow of pulsed  DC or AC without appreciably affecting the flow of DC. (2) A groove, channel, or other discontinuity that is dimensioned so as to reflect guided electromagnetic waves of a certain frequency range.

CONVECTION: The transmission of heat by the mass movement of the heated air.

CORE: A magnetic material that affords an easy path for magnetic lines of flux.

CUMULATIVE EFFECT: Many exposures to small doses add up to a large dose.

CURRENT LIMITER: A protective device, used in some two-fold applications as a fuse, that is designed to limit current flow in high-amperage circuits.

CYCLE: One complete positive and one complete negative alternation of a current or voltage.

DATA RECOVERY: A system of recovering lost data from a computer.

DECIBEL: A unit of measurement relating to loudness; listed as dB.

DIRECT CURRENT/DC: Consistent current that moves in one direction.

DISTORTION: An interruption of a signal that causes the sound to fluctuate.

DC VOLTAGE: An electric current that flows in one direction only, thus it is Direct Current.

DIELECTRIC: A material of poor conductivity that serves as an insulator, usually in reference to the insulating material between the plates of a capacitor. The dielectric separates the metal plates electrically, stores an electric charge, and undergoes polarization when subjected to an electric field.

DIFFERENCE OF POTENTIAL: The voltage existing between two points. If a circuit is established between the two points, a flow of electrons will result.

DIRECTLY HEATED CATHODE: A wire or filament that is designed to emit electrons when an electric current flows through it. The current heats the filament to the point where electrons are emitted.

DUMMY LOAD: A device used at the end of a waveguide to convert transmitted energy into heat so no energy is radiated outward or reflected back.

DUTY CYCLE: In a magnetron tube: The ratio of oscillating time to total time.

ELECTRONIC: Any product that uses a power source and types of electronic components to function.

ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE: A signal that breaks up the current.

ELECTRODE: The terminal at which electricity passes from one medium into another, such as in a humidity sensor unit where the current leaves or returns to the semi-conducting ceramic compound.

ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION: The process in which waves of electromagnetic energy are sent out into space.

ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE: A wave of energy propagated by the combined interaction of electric and magnetic fields that are traveling at right angles to each other, and to the direction of travel.

ELECTRON: A high-speed, negatively-charged particle that revolves around the nucleus, and forms a part, of all atoms.

ELECTROSTATIC: Pertaining to electricity at rest or to stationary electricity (static electricity), such as a static charge on an object.

FERRITE: A ferric oxide material that has both magnetic properties and a high resistance to current flow. The high electrical resistivity makes any current losses extremely low at high frequencies.

FARAD: A unit of measurement used with capacitance.

FILTER: A circuit that depends on a frequency to function.

FILTERING: A system that eliminates or increases a certain frequency.

FREQUENCY: A cycle that runs from positive to negative and then to positive.

FET: Field-effect transistor.

FILAMENT: A resistance wire or ribbon that, in a magnetron tube, is also the cathode. When an electric current flows through it, the filament heats up to a temperature by which electrons are liberated, thus the filament produces free (or floating) electrons.

FLUX: In electrical or electromagnetic devices, a general term used to designate collectively all the electric or magnetic lines of force in a given region.

FREQUENCY: The number of times a wave makes one full cycle in one second of time. Usually expressed in hertz (Hz).

FULL- WAVE RECTIFIER: A circuit that uses both positive and negative alternations of an alternating current to produce a direct current.

GROUND: Zero potential with respect to the ground or earth. A metallic connection with the earth is used to establish ground potential, and to provide a common return to a point of zero potential. When connected to a properly grounded and polarized circuit, the chassis of a microwave oven is at ground potential.

HALF- WAVE RECTIFIER: A circuit that uses only ½ of each cycle to change AC to pulsating DC.

HARMONIC FREQUENCIES: Integral multiples of a primary frequency.

HEATSINK: A metal device that is clamped onto a heat-sensitive component for the purpose of diverting and dissipating soldering iron heat.

HENRY: The basic unit of inductance.

HERTZ: Cycles per second.

IC: Integrated Circuit. An interconnected network of electrochemical elements integrated into a tiny electronic circuit that performs at least one, and usually more, logic functions.

IMPEDANCE: A combination of resistance and reactance that offers opposition to the flow of current in a circuit. Impedance is usually expressed in ohms.

INDUCTANCE: The property of a circuit that causes a magnetic field to be produced which tends to oppose any change in the existing current flow. The basic unit of inductance is the henry.

INDUCTION: The act or process by which a voltage is produced by the relative motion of a magnetic field across a conductor. Or, the process by which a magnetic field is produced by the variance of an electric current through a conductor.

INFINITE OHMS: An incalculably high amount of electrical resistance—essentially an open circuit.

INSULATOR: An implement having high electrical resistance, used for supporting, surrounding, or separating conductors so as to prevent undesired current flow between the conductors or to other objects.

INTERFACE CIRCUITRY: Serves to link the otherwise incompatible high-impedance circuits of the microprocessor and the high-potential circuits of external components.

INTERMODULATION DISTORTION: A process that mixes two types of frequencies.

IONIZING: The dislodging of orbital electrons from atoms, creating electrically charged, highly unstable, and chemically reactive atoms, called ions, which are damaging to living cells.

LAYER SHORT: A condition in a transformer in which two adjacent windings come into abnormal contact with each other through the insulating layer.

LC CIRCUIT: A circuit containing inductive reactance and capacitive reactance.

LCD: Liquid Crystal Display. A digital display which utilizes a liquid crystal material to form digits and characters without generating any light. The liquid crystal material separates and is sealed-in by two sheets of glass, one of which has character-forming segments etched into it and serves as the viewing side. When voltage is applied to the electrodes that extend from each of the etched segments, the liquid adjacent to the segments changes tone (usually darkens), thus forming visible characters.

LED: Light-Emitting Diode. A semi-conductor diode that efficiently converts electric signals into light, and thus glows when current passes through it. In microwave ovens, LEDs are generally used for control panel displays and indicators.

LOAD: An object or device that consumes electrical energy, and thus changes the energy into another form. Food products change microwave energy into heat energy.

MEG OHM: One million ohms.

MICRO: A prefix meaning one-millionth.

MICROFARAD: One millionth of a farad; abbreviated MFD.

MICROPROCESSOR: A microprocessor incorporates various computer functions such as memory, calculation, data processing, and control into a tiny silicone chip. The microprocessor receives input and generates output signals in a sequence of logic, which is either externally programmed or internally preprogrammed.

MILLI: A prefix meaning 1/1000.

MILLIWATT: 1/1000 of a watt of electricity.

MODULATION/DEMODULATION: Modulation is the ability to impress intelligence upon a transmission medium. A transmission medium may be described as radio waves, light or infrared beams, wire lines, sound, or other communication systems. The characteristics (intelligence) of one waveform are impressed onto a second waveform by varying the frequency, amplitude, phase, or other characteristics of the second waveform. Demodulation is the removal or recovery of the intelligence from the medium. MOSFET: Metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor.

MOSFET: Metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor.

NEGATIVE CHARGE: An electrical medium which has an excess of electrons, thus having the ability to repel electrons.

NEGATIVE TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT: A factor that expresses the amount of reduction in the value of a quantity relative to ambient temperature. For example, a given decrease in a resistance for each degree of increase in temperature.

OCTAVE: A process that increases or decreases the frequency of sound in music.

OHM: The basic unit of resistance. One volt will cause one ampere of current to flow through one ohm of resistance.

OPEN CIRCUIT: A circuit that does not provide a complete path for the flow of current.

PASSIVE: An  electronic that doesn’t have a power source.

POWER AMP: Amplifies a low frequency sound.

PARALLEL CIRCUIT: Two or more electrical devices connected to the same pair of terminals so more than one current path is available. Current flows through each device in the parallel circuit.

PHASE: The relationship in time and polarity between two waves. A phase difference results when one wave leads or lags another.

PHOTO-COUPLER: An isolated coupling device which, when energized by an input, sends a signal to a semiconductor switching device, such as an SCR.

POLARITY: The relative condition of being positive or negative with respect to a given potential.

POLARIZED RECEPTACLE: A receptacle designed to ensure that the neutral side of an AC line is always connected to the neutral side of an appliance, such as a microwave oven.

POSITIVE CHARGE: An electrical medium that has become deficient in electrons, thus having the ability to attract electrons.

POTENTIAL: The amount of charge held by a body as compared to another point or body. A difference in voltage potential between two connected points results in current flow between the two points. The difference in potential is measured in volts.

PROTONS: One of the fundamental particles of the nucleus of an atom and carries a unitary positive charge.

QUIESCENT: An electronic that’s inactive or resting.

RADIATION: The process of emitting radiant energy in the form of waves or particles.

RC CIRCUIT: A circuit having a resistance and a capacitance in series.

RESISTOR: A device that stops the transformation flow.

RMS: An acronym meaning Root Mean Squared.

RESONANCE: The condition produced when the frequency of vibrations is the same as the natural frequency of a cavity. The cavity is sympathetic to the frequency; thus, the vibrations reinforce each other.

RESONANT CIRCUIT: (explained in detail in part 3) A coil and capacitor connected in parallel form a capacitive-inductive resonant circuit. Energy supplied to the circuit will charge up the capacitor. When the energy supply is removed, the capacitor discharges through the coil. Current flow through the coil causes a magnetic field to develop around coil. The magnetic field then collapses around the coil, selfinducing a current flow in the opposite direction, which then charges the capacitor in the opposite polarity. Consequently, the capacitor discharges again, starting the process all over.

SCR: A semiconductor device that is controlled by a gate signal. Normally the SCR acts as an open switch, but upon application of an appropriate gate signal to its gate terminal, the SCR instantly switches to a conducting state, becoming as a closed switch

SERIES CIRCUIT: An arrangement of electrical devices that are connected so that the total current must flow through all the devices in order to complete the circuit.

SHORT CIRCUIT: A low resistance (usually zero ohms) connection across a voltage source or between two points in a circuit that are of different electrical potential. A short circuit usually results in excessive and possibly damaging current flow.

SOLENOID: An electromagnetic coil that contains a movable plunger.

STANDING WAVE: The distribution of waves in a reflective enclosure in which the waves coincide at maximum and minimum points on a resultant wave that appears to stand still.

SUBSONIC: Sound waves beyond the lower limits of human audibility.

TERMINAL: (1) A point to which electrical connections can be made. (2) The electrical input or output of a circuit or component.

THERMAL RESISTANCE: The ability of different materials to resist heat.

TRIGGER: A short pulse, either positive or negative, which can be used to cause an electrical function to occur.

TUNING STUB: A rod, screw, or post of conductive material that projects into a waveguide for one or more of the following purposes: impedance matching, producing desired phase relationships, or to minimize reflected energy.

ULTRASONIC: Pertaining to sound waves having a frequency that is generally above the limits of human audibility.

VELOCITY: Speed at which information or data moves.

VOLT: The unit of electrical potential (electromotive force or electrical pressure). One volt is the pressure required to send one ampere of current through one ohm of resistance.

VOLTAGE: Voltage is the force (or pressure) that causes current to flow through a conductor. The voltage of a circuit is the greatest effective difference of potential between any two conductors of a circuit.

VOLTAGE DROP: Ratio of voltage (or electrical pressure) lost (or dropped) across a specified load as a result of forcing current flow through that load.

WATT: The practical unit of electric power. In a DC circuit, one watt of power is used when one ampere of current flows through a resistance of one ohm.

WAVEGUIDE: A rectangular, circular, or elliptical hollow metal tube designed to transport electromagnetic energy through its interior from one point to another.

WAVELENGTH: Measures the length of an AC cycle.