Testing Guidelines

What Do All Those Components Do?

People who design, build, and test cables and harnesses know they are far more complicated than people might think. (Particularly screenwriters who have characters build entire spaceships or robots without a single failure.) Cables and harnesses are full of parts to control voltage, current, and more. It takes a lot of parts to make a cable work properly.


If someone asked you what all those different components were for, could you answer them? What does a capacitor do? What is a diode? (If you already know all this, send this article to your screenwriter friend. Maybe they can get it right in their next movie.)

Resistors: This component controls the flow of the electrical current. Every wire has some amount of resistance limiting the current. Adding your own resistor to a cable lets you decide how much you want to restrict the current.Components.png

Diodes: This component ensures the current flows in only one direction. This not only keeps current moving the right way, but protects circuits that could be damaged if a charge got through to the other side.

Capacitors: This component acts similar to a battery. It holds a charge (like a battery) but can release the charge all at once (unlike a battery). Capacitors are used in devices like cameras that have a flash.


By this point wire processing should either sound complicated, or start to make sense. Either way, hopefully you’ve gained a new appreciation for the complexity of cables and harnesses. Next time you see an engineer flawlessly build a submarine or a laser in your favorite movie, you can laugh a little harder.

Click the link for information on testing components.

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Further Reading:

Resistance Is NOT Futile

3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Wiring Errors



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