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How to Read and Understand Basic Electronic / Electric Circuit Diagrams

Updated: May 10

Lets understand the topic word by word first, so most basic question is What is circuit? Circuit is a roughly circular line, route, or movement that starts and finishes at the same place.

In this article, we will explore the basics of electronic circuit diagrams, their symbols, and the key steps to interpret and analyze them. By developing the skill to read and understand circuit diagrams, you will gain the ability to navigate complex circuits with ease. After this article, you would be able to analyze the components of various electric circuit project and read the simple circuit, and be able to draw basic electric circuit design yourself easily.

Before reading article, knowing about basic Electronic / Electric component is recommended, if you don't know about these, You can read it by clicking here.

Simple electrical circuit
Simple electrical circuit

Table of content:

1. What is an Electric circuit (or Electric circuit definition)?

Electronic / Electric circuit is the connection of various electrical components or electronic components or electronic devices and circuits  in an arranged fashion to get some valuable output from it which starts and stop at same point.

2. What is Electrical circuit diagram?

Electronic / Electric circuit diagrams are visual representations of electronic circuits, showcasing the connections between various components and the flow of electrical signals. Being able to read and understand these diagrams is crucial for anyone involved in electronics, as they provide a blueprint for designing, troubleshooting, and repairing electronic systems.

3. Symbols Used in Electronic / Electric Circuit Diagrams:

Electronic / Electric circuit diagrams utilize standardized symbols to represent various components of electric circuit, connections, and functions. Here are some commonly used symbols:

3.1 Passive Components:

  • Resistors: Represented by a zigzag line.

  • Capacitors: Indicated by two parallel lines.

  • Inductors: Represented by a series of loops or coils.

  • Diodes: Shown as a triangle pointing in one direction.

  • Transformer: Two parallel (coupled) Inductors connected to different circuits.

various electical components
Various Electrical components

3.2 Active Components:

  • Transistors: Indicated by specific symbols for different types (e.g., NPN, PNP).

  • Integrated circuits (ICs): Represented by various shapes, depending on the specific IC type.

3.3 Power Supply and Ground Symbols:

  • Power supply: Represented by a positive (+) and negative (-) sign.

  • Ground: Indicated by a horizontal line intersecting a vertical line.

4. Reading Electronic / Electric Circuit Diagrams:

Understanding electronic circuit ( or circuit electric) diagrams involves a systematic approach to interpreting the symbols, connections, and components presented. Here are the key steps to follow:

4.1 Identify the Components:

Begin by identifying the components represented in the diagram. Look for symbols and labels that indicate resistors, capacitors, transistors, and other active and passive components.

4.2 Trace the Connections:

Follow the lines or wires in the diagram to trace the connections between components. Note the direction of the lines, as they indicate the flow of electrical signals.

4.3 Analyze the Circuit Functionality:

Based on the components and connections, analyze the functionality of the circuit. Determine how the components work together to achieve a specific purpose, such as amplification, signal processing, or control.

4.4 Consider Voltage and Current Paths:

Pay attention to the voltage and current paths within the circuit. Identify the power supply connections, ground connections, and the flow of current through various components.

5. Circuit Analysis Techniques:

Once you understand the basics of reading electronic circuit diagrams, you can apply circuit analysis techniques to gain further insights into circuit behavior. These techniques include:

5.1 Ohm's Law:

Use Ohm's Law to calculate voltage, current, and resistance values in the circuit. Ohm's Law states that voltage (V) is equal to the product of current (I) and resistance (R): V = I * R.

5.2 Kirchhoff's Laws:

Apply Kirchhoff's Voltage Law (KVL) and Kirchhoff's Current Law (KCL) to analyze complex circuits. KVL states that the sum of voltage drops around a closed loop in a circuit is equal to the applied voltage. KCL states that the sum of currents entering a node is equal to the sum of currents leaving the node.

6. Troubleshooting Using Circuit Diagrams:

Electronic circuit diagrams are invaluable tools for troubleshooting faulty circuits. By comparing the actual circuit with the diagram, you can identify faulty components, incorrect connections, or open circuits.


Reading and understanding basic electronic circuit diagrams is an essential skill for anyone working with electronics. By familiarizing yourself with the symbols, following a systematic approach, and applying circuit analysis techniques, you can decipher circuit diagrams and gain insights into the functionality and behavior of electronic circuits.

2 comentarios

LearnElectronics India simplifies complex concepts beautifully. Thank you!

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Anushka Gupta
Anushka Gupta
18 jul 2023

I can't thank Learn Electronics India enough for this incredible blog post. It has been an excellent reference for me in my electronics journey. The detailed explanations, accompanied by well-organized diagrams, have significantly enhanced my comprehension of circuit diagrams. Hats off to the author for their expertise and effort.

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