Symbols of Components

Symbols of Components

  • Each component in an electric circuit has a unique symbol for identification. These symbols are standard across international physics curriculums.

  • A straight line represents a wire connecting other components or parts of a circuit.

  • A cell, or battery, is symbolised by two lines. A longer line represents the positive terminal whilst the shorter line represents the negative terminal.

  • More than one cell connected together is depicted as several juxtaposed pairs of short and long lines.

  • A lamp (bulb) is displayed as a circle with an ‘X’ inside. This represents the filament within the bulb.

  • For resistors, a zig-zag or rectangular box is used. Resistors are components that resist the flow of electric current and reduce voltage.

  • A capacitor, which stores electric charge, is represented by two parallel lines with a gap between them. One line is often curved.

  • A fuse, a device designed to break a circuit if the current flowing through it is too high, is symbolised by a rectangular shape with a line going through it.

  • Switches are indicated by a break in the line. If the switch is closed, the break is paired with an adjacent line.

  • Diodes, which permit current flow in one direction only, are shown as a triangle facing a line.

  • The symbol for a voltmeter, a device that measures voltage, is a circle with a “V” in the middle.

  • The symbol for an ammeter, which measures current, is a circle with an “A”.

Remember, whilst understanding these symbols is paramount, so too is understanding how these components function within a circuit. This will help you to efficiently design, analyse and predict outcomes in different electric circuit setups.