Electronics Dictionary

Electronics Dictionary - Category C

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Cable Modem - A modem that receives data through cable television systems. Very fast. Click here for an in depth article about cable internet service.

Cache - This is a special area of memory that gives computer components quick access to data. Your motherboard and CPU usually have cache. Pay attention to this when buying a PC. As with RAM, the more the better. The cheaper CPU's usually make up for the cost by having less cache. Read here about how the CPU cache works.

Caching - Data stored in a temporary location to speed up access to the data.

CAD - Computer Aided Design. CAD software is used to design everything you can imagine. This expensive / high-end software took the place of a draftsman not so many years ago.

CAM - Content Addressable Memory.

Capacitance - The measure of the amount of electrical charge that is held by a capacitor. Measured in farads.

Capacitor - An electrical circuit that stores electricity. Capacitors in computer monitors can give a good shock, even with the equipment unplugged.

CAPTCHA - Completely Automated Public Turing Tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. Those twisted little letters and numbers used to ensure that real people and not automated programs are using a web site registration process. When two words are used, the first word is the actual computer test. The second word is a scanned word from an old book that a computer could not recognize. If you get the first one right, it is assumed that the second one is correct and your input is accepted and used to digitally archive old literature.

Caret - The ^ character on a keyboard.

Carrier Wave - A radio signal that can be modulated.

Cathode - The positive terminal of a battery.

C Band - Microwave frequency ranging form 4ghz to 8ghz.

CCITT - Consultative Committee for International Telephony and Telegraphy.

CCTV - Closed Circuit Television. Click here for an article all about CCTV.

CDDI - Copper Distributed Data Interface. A twisted pair network topology.

CDPD - Cellular Digital Packet Data. A technique by which data is transferred to your cell phone.

CD-R - Recordable compact disk.

CD-RW - Rewritable compact disk

CGA - Column Grid Array

Checksum value This number is calculated by added all the bytes in a file. If this number changes, it will cause an antivirus program to be alerted that the file has changed in size.

Chip - Slang term for an integrated circuit.

Circles - Google’s social network that has more focus on privacy and inner circles. You can share certain information in very targeted ways.

Circuit - The complete flow path of an electrical current.

Circuit Breaker - An electrical device that opens (or cuts off) an electrical circuit when overload occurs. Breakers can be reset whereas fuses cannot. Fuses must be replaced if overloaded.

Circuitry - All of the components of an electric circuit.

Circular Polarization - Transmission of a radio signal in a rotating spiraling pattern.

Cladding - The layer of glass that surrounds the optic fibers in fiber optic cables.

Clarke Belt - The orbit path for satellites above the earth.

Cloaking - A black hat SEO technique where the internet user sees a different web page than the web bot. Using such techniques will get a web site banned from a search engine index.

CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. This is the chip, in conjunction with the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), on a motherboard that starts a computer. Its retains configuration settings by a battery on the motherboard. It contains the instructions a computer needs to get going before it even thinks about loading software. Flashing CMOS (or BIOS) refers to upgrading the chips with software revisions. Beware that this must be done only by persons who have the knowledge to do so. Improper flashing will cause complete failure of a system. You will not be able to boot and can only be repaired by getting new chips or motherboard (usually the later). The biggest concern would be a power failure during the flashing process.

CNE - Carbon Nanotube Electrodes. A form of ultra-low-power digital memory that could extend battery life by up to 100 times, by replacing metal wires in the devices' memory with nanotubes -- carbon tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.

Coax Cable - Cable that has a copper center core and is shielded by insulation and braiding. Be careful to the fact that there are several different types and each one has a specific use. For example, regular cable system wiring will not work for home satellite TV systems.

COBOL - Common Business Oriented Language. A programming language for business applications.

Code - In computer programming terms, it is a set of lines that instructs a computer what to do.

CODEC - Abbreviation for Coder - Decoder. A codec is a device or software that converts one signal into a different format.

Coil - A winding of wires that create an electrical field such as the coil of a motor. A mush coil is made from round wire. A form coil is made from  square or rectangular wire.

Collision - Refers to what happens when two workstations, on a network, try to send data at the exact same moment.

Compiler - A software program that converts computer programming language into machine language that the computer can interpret.

Compiling - The process of converting computer programming language into machine language.

COM port - Communications port. Ports can be software or actual hardware. Mainly used for modems. Some older devices (mouse, keyboard) use serial ports (com1 and com2).

Conductivity -  The measured ability of a conductor to carry electricity. 

Conductor - any object (metal, wires, cables, water, etc.) that will carry electricity.

Conduit - Plastic or metal pipe that is used to protect wiring. Good for prevention of wire cutting on home security systems that rely on telephone service to relay alarms.

Continuity - A complete electrical circuit with no interruptions.

Cookie - Message from a Web server sent and stored on your PC. Collects info such as email address, name, pages visited.

Core Processor - Processor speed improvements have stalled because of the extreme heat build up. The solution, stack processors, meaning cpu's are now being put together in one unit and programs are being designed to tack advantage of this multiple processor capability. Developers have already began designing 1000 core processors - that is 1000 cpu's in a single core processor.

Core 2 Processor - A new type of Intel CPU with low power and cooling requirements at blazing speeds. Click here to learn more about the new "Conroe" processors.

CPS - Characters Per Second. A measurement of printer output speed.

CPU - Central Processing Unit. The brain of a computer. Cooling is so very important due to the intense heat buildup. It is not uncommon for the fans to fail. Dust is the number one reason why they fail. Most newer systems monitor fan speed.

Crash - The really nasty word that refers to your computer locking up or shutting down. A crash is often caused by 'bugs' in software programs but can also be related to hardware failures.

CRIMM - Continuity Rambus Inline Memory Module. A memory blank for use in RIMM slots.

CROM - Control Read Only Memory.

Crosstalk - This occurs when signals "bleed" over into wires laid out parallel together. Insuring that wiring has excellent shielding is an important factor in any type of electronics, namely computer networks.

Crowdsourcing - Using information and articles provided free of charge by users.

CRT - Cathode Ray Tube. Here is more information on vintage computer monitors. Feeling tech savvy? Click here to learn how to repair a dim monitor.

Cryptography - Term refers to data security.

CSMA / CD - Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection. A method of avoiding network data collisions.

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets. A type of web programming that makes HTML flow much easier with less programming. CSS sets things like font, color and text for all pages within a site.

Current - The rate of electrical current flow.

Cyberbullying - When a person is tormentated, threatened or unnecessarily exposed because of things such as race, appearance or sexual status via the internet.

Cylinders - The quantity of tracks on a hard drive that can be accessed without repositioning the drive heads.


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