Basic Electrical Symbols and Their Meanings (2023)

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Electrical symbols play a vital role in circuit diagrams. There are many standard symbols to represent specific components in a circuit diagram. EdrawMax will help you learn the usually used symbols for drawing circuits. Some electrical and electronic schematic symbols are used to signify electrical and electronic devices. When creating circuit diagrams, we primarily use these.

Here is the contents of this article, and you can click to learn what you want.

  • Part 1: Basic Electrical Symbols
  • Part 2: Switches and Relays Symbols
  • Part 3: Transmission Path Symbols
  • Part 4: Semiconductor Devices
  • Part 5: How to Create a Circuit Diagram with Electrical Symbols

(Video) Electrical Symbols THE BASICS

Part 1: Basic Electrical Symbols

Basic electrical symbols contain earth electrode, cell, battery, resistor, etc. Whether you are a novice or a professional engineer, these basic symbols can help create accurate electrical and circuit diagrams in minutes.

You can depict a complex electrical circuit with the standard and simplified electrical symbols. Therefore, anyone who knows of electrical and electronic circuits can read, understand, and build electrical diagrams quickly. The symbols image are below.

  • Earth electrode is a metal plate or other conducting elements of electricity partially buried in the earth to constitute and provide a reliable conductive path for the fault current to the ground.
  • Cell is a device containing electrodes immersed in an electrolyte, used for generating current or for electrolysis.
  • Battery is a container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.
  • Source is a part of a field-effect transistor from which carriers flow into the inter-electrode channel.
  • Ideal source includes an ideal voltage source and ideal current source. An ideal source is a theoretical concept of an electrical current or voltage supply (such as a battery) with no losses and a perfect voltage or current supply. Ideal sources are used for analytical purposes because they cannot occur in nature.
  • Resistor is a device that has resistance to the passage of an electric current.
  • Capacitor is a device used to store an electric charge, consisting of one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator.
  • Antenna is an electrical device which converts electric power into radio waves and vice versa.

Basic Electrical Symbols and Their Meanings (1)

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Symbols can be found in EdrawMax Symbol Library

Basic Electrical Symbols and Their Meanings (2)

Some most commonly-used basic electrical symbols in schematic diagrams are shown below:

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Example one: There are three D-cells placed in a battery pack to power a circuit containing three light bulbs. The resistor symbol represents each light bulb. The connecting lines are used to connect the symbols. At the same time, don't forget to put the switch in the circuit to control the current flow. The final sketch is shown in the following picture.

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Part 2: Switches and Relays Symbols

The picture below shows switches symbols. Switch 1P, isolator 1P, circuit breaker 1P, SPST, SPDT, DPST, DPDT, and more symbols are available in EdrawMax.

  • Switch is a device for making and breaking the connection in an electric circuit.
  • Isolator is a mechanical switch that isolates a part of a circuit from the system as when required. Electrical isolators separate a part of the system from rest for safe maintenance works.
  • SPST is a single-pole, single-throw (SPST) switch.
  • SPDT is single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) switch.
  • DPST is double-pole, single-throw (DPDT) switch.
  • DPDT is a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch.

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Symbols can be found in EdrawMax Symbol Library

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As you can see from the above pictures, using electrical symbols to draw an electrical circuit diagram is quite easy. To illustrate the method, we will give you another example of using the basic electrical symbols.

Example two: Three D-cells are placed in a battery pack to power a circuit containing three light bulbs. Firstly, quickly figure out which electrical symbol shall be used in the diagram. Then, think about the layout of these symbols. Last but not least, use a connector tool to connect all the electrical symbols.

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Using the basic electrical symbols to draw a circuit diagram can show the manners in which the circuit components are placed. With the complete electrical schematic, you can read the picture to know the physical connections and layout of an electric circuit.

Part 3: Transmission Path Symbols

The basic electrical symbols are used to simplify the drafting and to help people understand the electrical drawing. Electrical symbols are standardized throughout the industry, so it is easy to achieve the ability to interpret the meaning of the symbols. With the standard electrical symbols in Edraw, you can create a circuit diagram that shows the actual layout of the components simply and quickly. The symbols image are below.

  • Wire is used to connect the components in a circuit.
  • Test point is a location within an electronic circuit used to either monitor the state of the circuitry or inject test signals.
  • Outward flow means flowing outwardly.
  • Inward flow means flowing inwardly.

Basic Electrical Symbols and Their Meanings (10)

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The picture below shows the transmission path symbols like wire, multi-line bus, straight bus, junction, terminal, test point, label, outward flow, inward flow, etc.

Symbols can be found in EdrawMax Symbol Library

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(Video) Circuit symbols (SP10a)

Part 4: Semiconductor Devices

The image below is about the semiconductor devices.

  • Transistor PNP is a semiconductor device provided with three terminals called base, emitter, and collector, which allows current flow when the low potential at the base (middle).
  • Transistor NPN allows current flow when high potential at base (middle).
  • Diode is a semiconductor device that allows the current to flow in one direction only.
  • The electrical properties of a Tube are not substantially modified by the ionization of residual gas or vapor when there applies a high pressure.

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Symbols can be found in EdrawMax Symbol Library

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Part 5: How to Create a Circuit Diagram with Electrical Symbols

It is easy for you to create an electrical diagram when you know where to find thousands of electrical symbols. You can watch the video below and learn how to create an electrical circuit diagram. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions of words and pictures step by step.

Step 1: Launch EdrawMax on your cpmputer. An extensive collection of electrical diagram templates can be found in the Electrical Engineering category. Click the icon of Basic Electrical to open the library that includes all symbols for making electrical diagrams.

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Step 2.1: As you are into the workspace of EdrawMax, drag the symbol that you need directly onto the canvas. You can resize the selected symbol by dragging the selection handles. A double-sided arrow shows the direction to which you can move the mouse, and you can only move the symbol when a four-direction arrow appears.

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Step 2.2: You can also change the shape of the symbol via the floating menu/action button. It shows when the symbol is selected or when the pointer is over the symbol. For example, the resistor can have 12 kinds of variations.

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Step 3: When your electrical diagram is complete, you can export it to JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, HTML with just a single click. So you can share your drawings with people who don't use EdrawMax with no need to looking for ways of converting file formats.

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What are the basic symbols of electrical? ›

What are Some Basic Electrical Symbols? There are five commonly used symbols in Electrical – Switch, Wire, Contactor, Motor, Transformer. These symbols can be used in any electrical drawings. Switches are used for ON/OFF any control circuit.

What do electrical symbols represent? ›

Electrical symbols are a graphical representation of basic electrical and electronic devices or components. These Symbols are used in circuit and electrical diagrams to recognize a component. It is also called a schematic symbol. Each component has typical functionality according to its operational characteristics.

What are the 6 most common symbols used for an electrical schematic diagram? ›

The Most Common Schematic Symbols Used in Electronics
  • Battery. The symbol for a battery is shown below. ...
  • Resistor. The schematic symbol of the resistor are drawn in two different ways. ...
  • Potentiometer. ...
  • Schematic Symbols of a Transistor. ...
  • Schematic Symbol for an Integrated Circuit. ...
  • Logic Gates. ...
  • Inductor. ...
  • Transformer.
Oct 8, 2020

What do the symbols on a wiring diagram mean? ›

Electrical circuit diagram symbols

Electrical symbols are the most commonly used symbols in circuit diagramming. Amplifiers (denoted by triangle shapes) increase the output signal in your circuit. Capacitors (parallel lines) store energy in your system, while resistors (zigzag lines) reduce current flow.

What is the AC power symbol? ›

Like voltage, current can be AC or DC. Because the unit for current is ampères, or amps, the symbol for it is A. “A” with a wavy line over it = AC current. “A” with two lines, one dotted and one solid, over it = DC current.

What are the symbols for voltage and current? ›

Voltage measured in volts, symbolized by the letters "E" or "V". Current measured in amps, symbolized by the letter "I".

What are the 5 types of wiring diagram? ›

6.2: Types of Electrical Diagrams
  • Schematic Diagrams.
  • Wiring diagrams.
  • Block diagrams.
  • Pictorial diagrams.
Sep 11, 2021

What is the symbol for electrical voltage? ›

The volt (symbol: V) is the unit of electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force in the International System of Units (SI).

How do you read basic electrical schematics? ›

The electrical schematics are read from left to right or from top to bottom. This is important to get right, as the signal direction indicates the flow of current in the circuit. It is then easy for a user to understand when there is a change in the course of the circuit.

How many electric circuit symbols are there? ›

The database includes around 1750 circuit symbols overall. ANSI standard Y32: This standard for electronic component symbols is the American one and is also known as IEEE Std 315. This IEEE standard for circuit symbols has various release dates.

What does Z mean on a circuit board? ›

Impedance (Z), in electrical devices, refers to the amount of opposition faced by direct or alternating current when it passes through a conductor component, circuit or system.

What are the different schematic symbols? ›

Schematic Symbols
  • Wires (Connected) This symbol represents a shared electrical connection between two components. ...
  • Wires (Not Connected) ...
  • DC Supply Voltage. ...
  • Ground. ...
  • No Connection (nc) ...
  • Resistor. ...
  • Capacitor, Polarized (Electrolytic) ...
  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

What does a circle with line mean in electrical? ›

Alternatively, under IEEE 1621, this symbol simply means "power". IEC 60417-5010, the power on-off symbol (line within a circle), is used on buttons that switch a device between on and fully off states.

What is the symbol for amps? ›

The ampere, symbol A, is the SI unit of electric current.

What is the symbol for DC voltage? ›

One “V” symbol is for AC voltage. The other “V” symbol is for DC voltage. The AC voltage symbol will be a “V” with a “∿” over the V. The DC voltage symbol will be a “V” with a solid and dashed line over the V.

What is this symbol Ø? ›

Ø (or minuscule: ø) is a letter used in the Danish, Norwegian, Faroese, and Southern Sámi languages. It is mostly used as a representation of mid front rounded vowels, such as [ø] ( listen) and [œ] ( listen), except for Southern Sámi where it is used as an [oe] diphthong.

Do houses run on AC or DC? ›

When you plug things into the outlet in your house, you don't get DC. Household outlets are AC - Alternating Current. This current has a frequency of 60 Hz and would look something like this (if you plotted current as a function of time).

What are the 4 basic units of electricity? ›

Volts, amps, ohms, and watts are therefore the four fundamental units of electricity.

What's AC and DC voltage? ›

In direct current, the voltage is always constant, and the electricity flows in a certain direction. In contrast, in alternating current, the voltage periodically changes from positive to negative and from negative to positive, and the direction of the current also periodically changes accordingly.

What are the three basic electrical wires in a wiring? ›

The answer becomes clearer when we look at the three roles wiring must fulfill: hot, neutral, and ground. These three components work in tandem to distribute power throughout your home, as well as help maintain electrical safety.

What are the three 3 types of wires? ›

Three types of wire used are :
  • live wire ( Red colour)
  • neutral wire(Black colour)
  • earth wire (Green colour)

What are 3 types of wire connections? ›

The three types of wires used in household circuits are Earth wire, Live wire, and Neutral wire.

What are the basic electrical safety? ›

Electrical safety basics

Don't work with exposed conductors carrying 50 volts or more. Make sure electrical equipment is properly connected, grounded and in good working order. Extension cords may not be used as permanent wiring and should be removed after temporary use for an activity or event.

What is OSHA electrical safety signage? ›

OSHA 1910.303 requires employers to mark electrical equipment with descriptive markings, including the equipment's voltage, current, wattage, or other ratings as necessary. This information, along with training requirements will protect workers from injuries, even death.

What is the symbol for charge? ›

The symbol for charge is q or Q. The MKS unit of charge is the coulomb (C).

Is a battery AC or DC? ›

Batteries and electronic devices like TVs, computers and DVD players use DC electricity - once an AC current enters a device, it's converted to DC. A typical battery supplies around 1.5 volts of DC.

What is the circuit symbol for a battery? ›

A single cell or other power source is represented by a long and a short parallel line. A collection of cells or battery is represented by a collection of long and short parallel lines.

What are the three 3 types of schematic diagram? ›

They are wiring, schematic, and pictorial diagrams.

When troubleshooting a circuit what should be the first step? ›

The first step in troubleshooting is to find the source of the problem. The hopscotch method is a great way to find the component that is malfunctioning. With the hopscotch method, you follow the flow of electricity in a circuit. At each component, you will take a voltage measurement with your multimeter.

What does a capacitor do? ›

Unlike the battery, a capacitor is a circuit component that temporarily stores electrical energy through distributing charged particles on (generally two) plates to create a potential difference. A capacitor can take a shorter time than a battery to charge up and it can release all the energy very quickly.

What are the 5 main circuits? ›

There are 5 Main Types of Electric Circuit – Close Circuit, Open Circuit, Short Circuit, Series Circuit and Parallel Circuit.

What is the symbol for DC wiring? ›

DC Voltage Symbol

The Unicode character-U+2393 “⎓” is used for the DC applications. Sometimes, it is also symbolled as a straight line.

What are the 4 parts of an electric circuit? ›

In general, a circuit has the following components:
  • A cell or battery: source of electricity.
  • Connecting wires: Act as conductor to flow electric current.
  • Key or switch to control the circuit.
  • Bulb or electric device act as a load to the circuit.

What does R mean on a circuit board? ›

For example, the letter R is a reference prefix for the resistors of an assembly, C for capacitors, K for relays.

What is F on a circuit board? ›

F: fuse. GDT: gas discharge tube. IC: integrated circuit. J: wire link.

What does Q mean in electronics? ›

The quality factor Q for the circuit is the electric energy stored in the circuit divided by the energy dissipated in one period. The Q of a circuit is an important quantity in certain applications, as in the case of electromagnetic waveguides and radio-frequency cavities where…

How do you read a breaker switch? ›

The numbers on your breaker are there to tell you much power they let through the circuit before it trips. Electricians measure that power in amps. So, a breaker labeled with a 15 will let 15 amps through but will shut the circuit off if it senses 16 amps. Your breakers work like this as a safety measure.

What does the M symbol mean in a circuit? ›

Motor. A motor, shown as a circle with the letter M inside it, changes electricity into movement.

What is the symbol of resistors? ›

The value of a resistor is measured in ohms and represented by the Greek letter capital omega (Ω). The resistance value is specified in ohms, the standard symbol is “R” or Ω.

What are the 4 types of symbols? ›

  • pictogram.
  • ideogram.
  • icon.
  • rebus.
  • phonogram.
  • typogram.
  • logo (trade mark)

What is the symbol for 3 phase? ›

Three-phase electric power (abbreviated ) is a common type of alternating current used in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution.

What is the diamond symbol in circuit? ›

A diamond-shaped symbol is used for dependent sources, just as a reminder that it's a dependent source. Circuit analysis is performed just as with independent sources. Here, the voltage V provided by the dependent source (right) is proportional to the voltage drop over Element X.

What is A zero with A line through it electrical? ›

The word is often abbreviated using the Greek letter "phi" and is written as a zero with a slash mark through it. The most important class of load is the electric motor. An induction motor has a simple design, inherently high starting torque, and high efficiency.

What are the four basic units of electricity symbols? ›

Terms in this set (4)
  • Voltage/Volts (V) ▪ This is a measure of work required to move a charge from one location to another. ...
  • Current (I) / Amps (A) ▪ This is a measure of the amount of electrons moving through a circuit per second. ...
  • Resistance (R) / Ohms (O) ▪ ...
  • Power (P) / Watts (W) ▪

What is the name of electrical symbols? ›

An electronic symbol is a pictogram used to represent various electrical and electronic devices or functions, such as wires, batteries, resistors, and transistors, in a schematic diagram of an electrical or electronic circuit.

What is basic electrical? ›

Electricity is the flow of electrons from one place to another. Electrons can flow through any material, but does so more easily in some than in others. How easily it flows is called resistance. The resistance of a material is measured in Ohms.

What are the 7 base units What do they measure and what are their symbols? ›

The SI comprises a coherent system of units of measurement starting with seven base units, which are the second (symbol s, the unit of time), metre (m, length), kilogram (kg, mass), ampere (A, electric current), kelvin (K, thermodynamic temperature), mole (mol, amount of substance), and candela (cd, luminous intensity) ...

What is the symbol for volts? ›

The volt (symbol: V) is the unit of electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force in the International System of Units (SI). It is named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827).

What are the 5 electrical symbols? ›

There are five commonly used symbols in Electrical – Switch, Wire, Contactor, Motor, Transformer. These symbols can be used in any electrical drawings.

How can I learn basic electricity? ›

12 Basic Electrical Training Courses
  1. Electrical Safety. ...
  2. Controlling Hazardous Energy: Electricity. ...
  3. Introduction to Electronics. ...
  4. Basic Electricity. ...
  5. Circuits and Electronics 1: Basic Circuit Analysis. ...
  6. Electrical Safety Training. ...
  7. OSHA Electrical Certificate Course. ...
  8. Basic Electronics and Electricity Course.
Oct 27, 2022

What is voltage vs current? ›

Voltage, also called electromotive force, is simply the energy per unit charge. In other words, voltage is the difference in electric potential between two points. Current is just the rate of flow of electric charge.

What are basic circuit rules? ›

We've organized these principles into three basic rules: Rule 1 – Electricity will always want to flow from a higher voltage to a lower voltage. Rule 2 – Electricity always has work that needs to be done. Rule 3 – Electricity always needs a path to travel.


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