Difference between Analog and Digital Circuits

Electronics engineering is one of the popular domains of engineering. We can not imagine our modern society without electronics. Whether it is your television, smartwatch, or the device on which you are reading this article, are all electronic products. Some devices such as a lamp, fridge, air conditioner, music player, audio recorder, etc. have electronics controllers or sub-parts. In today’s world, we are surrounded by products or devices, or systems that are partly or entirely made of electronics.

We can divide electronic circuits into two categories that are – analog circuits and digital circuits. Though some theories and some components are common for both analog and digital circuits, there are many differences between them. In this article, we are going to discuss the difference between analog and digital circuits.

Difference between Analog and Digital Circuits in tabular form

In the following table, we have pointed out the differences between analog and digital circuits.

Analog Circuit Digital Circuit
Analog circuits are the electronic circuits that deal with the currents and voltages that can have any possible value. Digital circuits are the electronic circuits that deal with the currents and voltages that can have only a few discrete values.
Analog circuits deal with analog signals Digital circuits deal with digital data or signals.
The voltages and currents can have any possible values. So, analog circuits are more sensitive and less immune to noise as any small change in current or voltage will cause an error. The voltages and currents can only have some discrete values. hence, the digital circuit is more immune to noise as it is easier to correct the error.
Considering precision and efficiency, it is hard to design an analog circuit. It is easier to design digital circuits of high efficiency and precision.
Usually, it is easy to modify or correct some errors in analog circuits. Correcting errors or modifying digital circuits is hard and, in some cases, it is not possible.
As the natural signals are usually analog, analog circuits generally do not need any additional interfacing module. As the natural signals are usually analog, we need to convert them into digital signals. Hence, digital circuits need additional modules to interface with the physical world.
As there is no need to convert the signal for the circuit, ideally there is no loss of information. As we need to convert analog signals into digital signals in order to use them in the circuit, there appears a loss of information.

What are Analog Circuits?

To understand analog circuits, we first need to know what analog signal is. An Analog signal is a signal whose amplitude can have any possible value. Analog circuits are the electronic circuits that deal with analog signals or analog data, i.e., the amplitude of the input, output, and intermediate signals of analog circuits can have any values. The fundamental components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, OPAMPs, etc. are actually analog circuit components. They are capable of handling analog signals. Analog circuit designs can be easy and simple, such as voltage divider using resistors, passive RC filters, OPAMP circuits, etc. but it is hard to maintain precision and efficiency.

Advantages of Analog Circuits

  • Analog circuits have a comparatively easy design.
  • In the case of analog circuits, error correction or modification are easy.
  • We do not need any additional circuitry for interfacing the circuit with the physical world.
  • There is ideally no loss of information or data in analog circuits.

Disadvantages of Analog Circuits

  • It is hard to design analog circuits with high precision and efficiency.
  • Analog circuits are less immune to noise or error.
  • Analog circuits are comparably less reliable.

What are Digital circuits?

Digital signals are those signals whose amplitude can have only a few discrete values. digital circuits are the electronic circuits that deal with digital signals or data, i.e, the amplitude of the signals in the digital circuit can only have only a set of discrete values. Digital circuits are made using logic gates. They are the building blocks of digital circuits. Adder, subtractor, multiplexer, demultiplexer, encoder, decoder, flip-flops, memory, etc. are all examples of digital circuits and components.  The design of a digital circuit is more complicated than analog circuits but we can easily achieve high accuracy and efficiency.

Advantages of Digital Circuits

  • Digital circuits are more energy/power efficient.
  • In digital circuits, it is easier to achieve high precision and efficiency.
  • Digital circuits are more immune to noise and error.
  • Digital circuits are more reliable.

Disadvantages of Digital Circuits

  • Digital circuits are hard to design.
  • Digital circuits are hard to modify.
  • We need additional circuitry to interface digital circuits with the physical world.
  • There appears a loss of information in digital circuits due to signal conversion.

Conclusion

To summarize this article we can say analog circuits and digital circuits complement their advantages and disadvantages. Both of these circuits are even used together in many modern electronic devices.

Author
Subhrajyoti Choudhury

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