Comparators are specialised integrated circuits that accept two different voltages or currents and compare them to determine the bigger one through its output. They find the difference between the two supply voltages and define the digital signal as high or low. Comparators function much like operational amplifiers and are found in components, for example in analogue to digital converters or ADCs. Thus, a comparator is primarily used to convert analogue to digital.
How does a comparator work?
Comparators utilise two input pins and switches on the output while determining if there’s a similarity or a difference between the two voltages. For example, when you have a minus voltage on one input pin and a plus voltage on another, one pin turns on to match the second one. In this way, the comparator is activated.
Types of comparators
Comparators are available in different types, but primarily have two types of mounts. These are surface mounts and through-hole mounts. Similarly, they are available in two types of power supply types: single power supply and dual power supply.
The availability of such an extensive configuration further enhances the flexibility of the usability of comparators across a wide variety of applications.
Depending on these configurations and application purposes, comparators can be: