Inductors store energy in coil-generated magnetic fields. A capacitor performs a similar task in that it stores energy, but it stores electrostatic energy between two plates. Inductors and capacitors often combine to either amplify or dampen signal frequencies.
Inductors and capacitors have many uses, from reducing the hum of DC outputs, to preventing radio waves from interfering with sensitive electronic devices. Alone, a power inductor controls voltage levels, and the tiny chip inductor has a role on many electronics boards. Two inductors can also combine as elements of transformers, which step voltage or current up and down and also affect frequencies.
Besides the radius of the coil, the two factors that most affect inductor properties are the composition of the inductor core that the coil winds around and the shape of the inductor. Here are basic tips on these inductor properties:
1. The center of an air core inductor does not increase inductive properties. Neither do glass, plastic or wood cores.
2. Ferrous cores increase the inductance of an inductor coil.
3. A toroidal inductor looks like a donut and has greater inductance than a solenoid (cylindrical) inductor.
Determine the electrical specifications you need in inductors and buy the right parts
Inductors have many variables. You should mainly concern yourself with inductor current, as well as inductance range and tolerance. Maximum DC resistance is also a factor.
Find inductors that have the right physical characteristics to suit your applications
Radius and core material are primary options, but also look for surface (including PCB) or through-hole mount inductors. Also, some inductors have variable inductance.
Shop for inductors at sources that also have a wide selection of capacitors
If you are shopping for inductors, maybe you're shopping for capacitors as well, since the two often combine in an inductor circuit. You'll want to look for the best one-stop electronics sources.
- Even the best inductor coils give off some heat due to resistance. Take this into account when mounting an inductor.