Transistors and Relays

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Nocturnicon, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Nocturnicon

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    5
    0
    Howdy everybody!

    About two weeks ago I decided to finally start in the world of electronics. Got all the gear I wanted and soldered one or two simple projects and loving it. :D I'm busy reading up on the different components and there are two concepts that I am struggling with. What is the real difference between a relay and a Transistor?

    I have found many examples of their applications and they are used in completely different ways but from what I can gather they are pretty much doing the same thing. Can somebody please explain to a noob what the difference really is? I'm sure that I'm over complicating it for myself.

    Thanks a lot in advance!
     
  2. eblc1388

    Senior Member

    Nov 28, 2008
    1,542
    102
    Simply put it is the electrical isolation and safety that a relay can offer. When one use a transistor, the load is somehow still connected to the circuit and there is no electrical isolation.

    This is obviously not good say when a load on AC120 or 240V is being switched.

    A relay is also a mechanical device and thus will take on more abuses than semiconductor regarding transient and surge.

    However, a relay cannot compete with the speed, life time and power consumption of semiconducting devices.
     
  3. Nocturnicon

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    5
    0
    Awesome, thanks for the quick response and clear answer.
     
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