Difference between Analog Electronics and Digital Electronics


Electronics is the branch of engineering which deals with the study of devices that function due to the movement of electrons. Based on types of signals used and voltage or current or power ratings, the electronics can be broadly classified into following categories viz.

  • Analog Electronics

  • Digital Electronics

  • Power Electronics

In this post, we will take a close look at analog electronics and digital electronics and the major differences between them by considering various parameters like definition, type of signal used, current voltage rating, applications, etc.

What is Analog Electronics?

Analog electronics is the branch of electronics that deals with the electronic systems and devices with the continuous time signals. The term ‘analog or analogue’ describes a proportional relationship between a signal and an electrical quantity (voltage or current) that represents the signal.

Basically, the term ‘analogue’ is a Greek word whose meaning is ‘proportional’. The analog electronics is extensively used in many electronic applications where the signals are derived from analog sensors such as in FM radios, TVs, telephones, etc. However, the analog electronics is more susceptible for noise and distortion.

In analog electronics, two types of components are used to design the systems which are: the active elements such as diode, transistors, etc. and the passive elements such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc.

What is Digital Electronics?

The field of electronics engineering which involves the study of electronic systems that uses digital signals or discrete time signals is called digital electronics.

Digital electronics systems are usually made from a combination of logic gates, often packaged in an integrated circuit (IC). The digital electronics uses binary logic function to perform operations, the basic mean of binary logic function is that it has only two states ‘active high’ and ‘active low’.

Digital electronics uses active components only. One of the most common application of digital electronics is in computers.

Difference between Analog Electronics and Digital Electronics

Since both analog and digital electronics are the field of electronics. Although, there are many differences between analog electronics and digital electronics, which are highlighted in the following table-

Basis of Difference
Analog Electronics
Digital Electronics
Definition
Analog electronics is the branch of electronics which deals with the study of systems with analog signals.Digital electronics is the branch of electronics that deals with the study of systems with digital signals.
Type of signal used
Analog electronics involves the use of continuous time (analog) signals.Digital electronics uses discrete time signals or two state signals.
Components used
Analog electronics mostly uses passive circuit components like resistors, capacitors, etc. But sometimes, active components like transistors are also used.Digital electronics uses active elements only.
Power consumption
Analog electronic systems consumes more power.Digital electronic systems consumes comparatively less power.
Power loss
Analog electronics have some (however low) power loss.There is no power loss in case of digital electronics.
Voltage & current
Analog electronics use relatively high voltage and high current as compared to digital electronics.The voltage and current used in digital electronics are extremely low.
Noise & distortion
In analog electronics, high noise and distortion of signals is there.In digital electronics, there is very low noise and distortion of signals.
Safety
In analog electronics, electrical safety hazards are present, however they are very low.In digital electronics, there is no electrical safety hazards.
Processes involved
Analog electronics mainly deals with amplification, wireless transmission, rectification, etc. of the continuous time signals.Digital electronics mainly deal with multiplexing, encoding, decoding, analyzing, switching, mixing, etc. of the discrete time signals.
Used for
The analog electronics mainly help in capturing data from a system.Digital electronics help in analyzing the data of a system.
Applications
Analog electronics is widely used in radio and audio devices such as FM radios, TVs, telephones, etc.Digital electronics is extensively used in computers, data processing and storage, automation, digital watches and many other digital devices.

Conclusion

The most significant difference between analog and digital electronics is that analog electronics deals with continuously varying signals while the digital electronics deals with two state (binary) signals. In today’s technologies, both analog and digital electronics are equally used to implement most efficient and fast processing systems such as robotics, quantum computing, telecommunication, etc.

Updated on: 21-Jul-2022

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