Circuit Symbols

Circuit symbols are used in circuit diagrams, which show how a circuit is connected together. The actual layout of the components is usually quite different from the circuit diagram. To build a circuit you need a different diagram showing the layout of the parts on the printed circuit board. However understanding electronics circuit give you a better understanding of how to find faults in an electronic circuit

Wires and connections Component
Wire

Circuit Symbol

Function of Component
To conduct or pass current from one part of a circuit to another. A 'blob' should be drawn where wires are connected (joined), but it is sometimes omitted. Wires connected to another wire should be staggered slightly to form two Tjunctions, as shown. Such help to transmitted current to other paths In diagrams it is often necessary to draw wires crossing even though they are not connected. It is preferred to have the 'hump' symbol as shown because the simple crossing of the wire may be misread as a join where you have forgotten to add a 'blob'!

Wires joined

Wires not joined

Power Supplies Component Circuit Symbol Function of Component
Supplies electrical energy. The larger terminal indicates the positive (+). Cell A single cell is often interpreted and called a battery, but a battery is two or more cell joined together.

And the small terminal is called the negative (-) + DC supply - Supplies electrical energy. always flowing in one direction. Motor. A safety device. Used as a protection for electrical circuits. A transducer. AC = Alternating Current. which converts electrical energy to light. Motor Bell . etc. DC = Direct Current. For many electronic circuits this is the 0V (zero volts) of the power supply. It is also known as ground.Battery Supplies electrical energy. Heater. Two coils of wire linked by an iron core. Component Lamp (lighting) Circuit Symbol Function of Component A transducer. The larger terminal is the positive (+). which will 'blow' or melt if the current flowing through it exceeds a specified value. A connection to earth. Supplies electrical energy. A transducer. which converts electrical energy to sound. Transformers are used to step up (increase) and step down (decrease) AC voltages. A battery is more than one cell. There is no electrical connection between the coils. Energy is transferred between the coils by the magnetic field in the core. This symbol is used for a lamp providing illumination. which converts electrical energy to kinetic energy (motion). but for mains electricity and some radio circuits it really means the earth. for example a car headlamp. continually changing direction of it currents it is negative and then Positive which alternates again. AC supply Fuse Transformer Earth (Ground) Output Devices: Lamps.

which converts electrical energy to sound. which is often used to switch mains electricity because it can isolate both the live and neutral connections. SPST = Single Pole. This type of push switch is normally closed abbreviated NC for normally closed (on). Single Throw. DPST = Double Pole. This switch can be wired up as a reversing switch for a motor. Single Throw. Inductor (Coil. A dual on-off switch. It may have an iron core inside the coil. passes through it. An on-off switch allows current to flow only when it is in the closed (on) position. Double Throw. A 2-way changeover switch directs the flow of current to one of two routes according to its position. Some SPDT switches have a central off position and are described as 'on-off-on'. Push-to-Break Switch On-Off Switch (SPST) 2-way Switch (SPDT) Dual On-Off Switch (DPST) Reversing Switch (DPDT) . SPDT = Single Pole. DPDT = Double Pole. Double Throw.Buzzer A transducer. It can be used as a transducer converting electrical energy to mechanical energy by pulling on something. This is the switch used to operate a doorbell. Some DPDT switches have a central off position. it is open (off) only when the button is pressed. Solenoid) Switches Component Push Switch (push-to-make) Circuit Symbol Function of Component A push switch allows current to flow only when the button is pressed. which creates a magnetic field when current. It is a abbreviated NO for normally open . A coil of wire.

A capacitor stores electric charge. This type must be connected the correct way round.Relay An electrically operated switch. Capacitor Capacitor. It can be used like this as a transducer converting position (angle of the control spindle) to an electrical signal. It can also be used as a filter. A capacitor is used with a resistor in a timing circuit. This type of variable resistor with 2 contacts (a rheostat) is usually used to control current. for example to limit the current passing through an LED. A capacitor is used with a resistor in a timing circuit. A resistor is used with a capacitor in a timing circuit. This type of variable resistor with 3 contacts (a potentiometer) is usually used to control voltage. Examples include: adjusting lamp brightness. COM = Common. NO = Normally Open. to block DC signals but pass AC signals. Variable Resistor (Rheostat) Variable Resistor (Potentiometer) Capacitors Component Circuit Symbol Function of Component A capacitor stores electric charge. polarized . It can also be used as a filter. NC = Normally Closed. Resistors Component Resistor Circuit Symbol Function of Component A resistor restricts the flow of current. for example a 9V battery circuit connected to the coil can switch a 230V AC mains circuit. and adjusting the rate of flow of charge into a capacitor in a timing circuit. adjusting motor speed. to block DC signals but pass AC signals.

. A transducer. A light-sensitive diode. It can be used with other components to make an amplifier or switching circuit. Diodes Component Diode LED Light Emitting Diode Circuit Symbol Function of Component A device.Variable Capacitor A variable capacitor is used in a radio tuner. It can be used with other components to make an amplifier or switching circuit. A special diode. which converts electrical energy to light. Which react when light is shine direct on it may increase or decrease it resistance Zener Diode Photodiode Transistors Component Circuit Symbol Function of Component A transistor amplifies current. Transistor NPN Transistor PNP A transistor amplifies current. which only allows current to flow in one direction. which is used to maintain a fixed voltage in a power supply.

which is designed to receive or transmit radio signals. It is also known as an antenna. but most people prefer to say voltage! . Audio and Radio Devices Component Microphone Circuit Symbol Function of Component A transducer. A device. which converts electrical energy to sound. Really it is a block diagram symbol because it represents a circuit rather than just one component. Piezo Transducer A transducer. An amplifier circuit with one input. which converts sound to electrical energy. A transducer. The proper name for voltage is 'potential difference'. which converts electrical energy to sound. Earphone Loudspeaker A transducer. Amplifier (general symbol) Aerial (Antenna) Meters and Oscilloscope Component Voltmeter Circuit Symbol Function of Component A voltmeter is used to measure voltage. which converts electrical energy to sound.Phototransistor A light-sensitive transistor.

Logic Gates Logic gates process signals. As known as amps An ohmmeter is used to measure resistance. A NAND gate can have two or more inputs. low. NOT AND NAND . on) or false (0. The output of a NOT gate is the inverse (opposite) of its input. The output of an AND gate is true when all its inputs are true. The 'o' on the output means 'not' showing that it is a Not AND gate. 0V. A NOT gate is also called an inverter. which represent true (1. The 'o' on the output means 'not'. The output of a NAND gate is true unless all its inputs are true. so the output is true when the input is false. Gate Type Traditional Symbol IEC Symbol Function of Gate A NOT gate can only have one input. high. +Vs. Most Multimeter have an ohmmeter setting.Amp-meter An amp-meter is used to measure current. An AND gate can have two or more inputs. off). Ohmmeter Sensors (input devices) Component Thermistor Circuit Symbol Function of Component A transducer which converts temperature (heat) to resistance (an electrical property).

The 'o' on the output means 'not' showing that it is a Not EX-OR gate. An EX-NOR gate can only have two inputs. An EX-OR gate can only have two inputs. The output of a NOR gate is true when none of its inputs are true. The output of an OR gate is true when at least one of its inputs is true. The output of an EX-OR gate is true when its inputs are different (one true. The 'o' on the output means 'not' showing that it is a Not OR gate.OR An OR gate can have two or more inputs. The output of an EX-NOR gate is true when its inputs are the same (both true or both false). one false). A NOR gate can have two or more inputs. NOR EX-OR EXNOR .

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