Definition of Engineering Terms and Phrases
"A" "B", "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I", "J", "K", "L", "M",
"N", "O", "P", "Q", "R", "S", "T", "U", "V", "W", "X", "Y", "Z"

"B" to "Bas", "Bat" to "Bim", "Bin" to "Bn",
"Bo" to "Bq", "Br" to "Buq", "Bur" to "Bz"

Binary. A number system that uses a base, or radix, of 2. Refer to this page for terms related to Binary Definitions.

Binary Coded Decimal. [BCD] A four bit binary code that only counts from 0 to 9, because decimal only counts from 0 to 9, while only using one it position.

Binary Counter. A counter that increments or decrements in binary, as in a 7493 counter [in contrast to a decimal counter].

Binary Weighted Ladder. A resistor ladder that uses the progression of [MSB] R, 2R, 4R, 8R and so on, down to the LSB. There is no intervening 'R' resistor between each tap. So the 'input' is applied to one side of each of the resistors, and the output taken from the other side of the resistors.

Mechanical drawing of a Bolt mounted Binding Post with plastic binding cap
R Network

Binding Post. A component used to secure a wire or a component lead. A terminal used for temporary electrical connections. A metallic post-like terminal, insulated or uninsulated, which is mounted on a board, chassis, panel, or other similar supporting surface. It is designed for frequent manual connections and disconnections of at least one electrical conductor, such as a wire, alligator clip, or spade lug. A binding post may have additional tip jack features for the acceptance of banana plugs, phone tips, and the like. It may also have provisions for permanently attaching an electrical conductors.

Mechanical drawing of a Bolt mounted Binding Post with plastic binding cap
Binding Post

BIOS. [Basic Input/Output system], firmware that is permanently stored in the memory on the computer. The BIOS ROM first performs test routines when a system is switched on. The BIOS then searches for and loads the operating system from a hard disk, floppy disk, CD ROM or some other peripheral device.

Bipolar. Having two polarities. An active solid-state device in which both positive and negative current carriers are used to support current flow.

Bipolar Signal. A signal that is symmetrical around a reference point, normally ground. A signal that transitions between a positive and negative voltage [logic 1] and a reference point [logic 0]. While a Polar signal might do the same but use the positive voltage as a logic 1 [high] and a negative voltage as a logic 0 [low].

Bipolar Junction Transistor. A transistor operating by using both the flow of electrons and the flow of holes [or lack of electrons]. Called a Bipolar Junction Transistor [BJT] because the device is made by joining PN junctions [dissimilar semiconductor materials, P and N type] together.

Bipolar Transistor. See Bipolar Junction Transistor.

Bistable. A device that is capable of assuming either one of two stable states. A Flip Flop has two stable output states. However the term is normally used with the term Latch.

Bistable Latch. A latch that is capable of assuming either one of two stable states. A Latch that stays in the last state it was forced into and does not toggle back to another state or a previous state. Examples of 4-bit TTL Bistable Latches include; 7475, 7477, 74116 [or 5475, 5477, 54116 military ICs].

Bistable Multivibrator. A multivibrator that has two stable states. It remains in one of the states until a trigger is applied. It then flips to the other stable state and remains there until another trigger is applied. Also referred to as a Flip-Flop. A Transistor Bistable Multivibrator Circuit is shown to the right..

Bit. [b] A single binary digit.

Bit Error. A bit error occurs when the expected bit value is not present; a 0 occurs when a 1 is expected, or a 1 occurs when a 0 is expected.

Bit Error Probability. [BEP] The ratio of the number of bits in error to the number of bits transmitted, over a given time.

Bit Error Rate. [BER] The number of erroneous bits [bits received in error] divided by the total number of bits transmitted, received or processed over some stipulated period. Also found as Bit Error Ratio. The number of bits in error over a given time interval.

Bit Rate. In a bit stream, the number of bits occurring per unit time, usually expressed in bits per second. The number of bits transmitted per second. The speed at which bits are transmitted.

Bit Slip. In digital transmission, the loss of a bit or bits, caused by variations in the respective clock rates of the transmitting and receiving devices. The increase or decrease in the detected bit rate by one or more bits with respect to the actual bit rate.

Bits Per Second. [bps] The number of data bits transmitted in one second. Read more detail on bps, in the Communications dictionary.

Bit Synchronous Operation: Operation in which data circuit terminating equipment (DCE), data terminal equipment (DTE), and transmitting circuits are all operated in bit synchronism with a clock.

Black. The reference color of equipment that passes unclassified information. It normally refers to patch panels or sections of a circuit that work only on unclassified information. The standard color used to represent circuit ground, or in some cases the more negative voltage in a power supply system.

Black Box. A self contained unit which is treated as a single package.

Blade Fuse. A style of fuse that attach to the fuse holder using flat metal blades. Blade fuses are widely used in automotive applications. An example is shown to the right. The fusible link is held within the plastic housing between the two blade terminals. The color of the plastic case determines the current capability. Fuse Vendors and Data.

Blade Server. Any server that conforms to the BladeCenter form factor [physical size].

Bleeder Current. The current through a bleeder resistor. The current continuously drawn from a power supply. In a voltage divider, bleeder current is usually determined by the 10 percent rule of thumb.

Bleeder Resistor. A resistor used to draw a fixed current. Also refer to the dictionary of Resistor Terms.

Block. A block of data moved over a bus as a unit in one transfer, using one address cycle. A group of data transferred in a group to reduce bus over-head. A Block Transfer. Read more detail on Block Transfer, in the Communications dictionary. A cluster or group of sectors of data on a hard drive.

Block Diagram. A diagram in which the major components of an equipment or a system are represented by squares, rectangles, or other geometric figures, and the normal order of progression of a signal or current flow is represented by lines. [Block Diagram example].

Blocked-Grid Keying. A method of keying in which the bias is varied to turn plate current on and off on a vacuum tube.

Blocking. A condition in an amplifier, caused by over driving one or more stages, in which the amplifier is insensitive to small signals immediately after reception of a large signal. A term describing the state of a semiconductor device or junction which eventually prevents the flow of current.

Blocking Capacitor. A capacitor installed to block the flow of DC current. A capacitor that blocks low frequency AC or DC components while allowing higher frequency AC signals to pass.

Blocking Diode. A diode used to restrict or block reverse current from flowing backward through a circuit or module.

Blocking Oscillator. A type of waveform generator used to produce a narrow pulse, or trigger. A type of oscillator that blocks the output after completion of a cycle(s) for some predetermined amount of time. A Blocking Osc. is a form of Relaxation Oscillator. Also refer to a description of a Transistor Blocking Oscillator Circuit.

Block Transfer. The process, initiated by a single action, of transferring one or more blocks of data. Many electrical interfaces use Block Transfers, the VME interface being just one.

BNC Connector. A style of coaxial connector. Refer to the BNC Connector Definition [in a different dictionary].

BNC Barrel. A Female-to-Female BNC connector. Also refer to the BNC Connector Definition [in a different dictionary].

BNC Termination. A resistive termination used with BNC connectors, normally 50 ohms. Also refer to Dummy Load.

50 Ohm BNC Termination, Metal Case
BNC Termination
PC motherboard

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