How Do You Read an Electrical Schematic?


Quick Answer

Read an electric schematic by examining the accompanying key or chart that explains what each of the components drawn on the diagram represent. A schematic is drawn with symbols that show how the electric circuit is arranged.

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How Do You Read an Electrical Schematic?
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Full Answer

Schematics are diagrams that show electronic or electrical devices connected together with the use of conductors, which are made of metals. These conductors allow electrical current to flow when the circuit is complete and break when the circuit is incomplete. The symbols used on a schematic represent real-world objects.

A simple conductor is the most basic symbol found on a schematic. Connected conductors are typically represented with two wires connected at the intersection with a dot. A bridge formed by passing one wire over the other represents conductors that do not connect. Other important components often drawn on a schematic include switches, diodes, capacitors, resistors and operational amplifiers. The switch is used to break and complete the circuit, whereas a resistor, which is typically represented by a jagged line on the schematic, is used to resist the flow of charge. A diode is used to restrict the flow of charge in only one direction, and capacitors help in temporarily storing an electric charge.

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