Electrical Systems

This class provides a fundamental overview of common electrical prints and symbols. The most common prints are pictorial, one-line, schematic, and wiring diagrams. Pictorial diagrams use illustrations to represent circuit components, but the other common types of diagrams use symbols. There are many different symbols, and some symbols have different variations. Diagrams include symbol keys to indicate what symbols represent, and sometimes symbols are labeled to make them easier to understand.

This class introduces users to the types of prints and symbols that they are most likely to see, which will prepare them for reading and writing their own electrical prints. These are integral skills for working with electrical systems, since almost all electrical projects, from designing a circuit to troubleshooting one, involve electrical prints.

• Difficulty Intermediate

• Format Online

• Number of Lessons 15

• Language English

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Course Outline
• Electrical Prints
• Types of Electrical Prints
• Pictorial Diagrams
• One-Line Diagrams
• Schematic Diagrams
• Wiring Diagrams
• Other Types of Prints
• Electrical Prints Review
• Symbols and Labels
• Common Electrical Symbols
• Power Control Device Symbols
• Symbols Review
• Symbol Keys
• Troubleshooting with Prints
• Final Review
Objectives
• Describe electrical prints.
• Distinguish between common electrical prints.
• Describe pictorial diagrams.
• Describe one-line diagrams.
• Describe schematic diagrams.
• Describe wiring diagrams.
• Distinguish between other common types of electrical prints.
• Describe symbol labels on electrical prints.
• Identify common electrical symbols.
• Identify common power control device symbols.
• Describe the importance of the symbol key for reading electrical prints.
• Describe how electrical prints assist with troubleshooting.
Glossary
Vocabulary Term
Definition

3D diagram

An electrical print that shows detailed three-dimensional representations of the components in a circuit. 3D diagrams are common in construction.

AC

Alternating current. Electricity that reverses direction at regularly recurring intervals of time. AC switches direction 60 times per second, or 60 hertz, in the U.S.

alternating current

AC. Electricity that reverses direction at regularly recurring intervals of time. Alternating current switches direction 60 times per second, or 60 hertz, in the U.S.

battery

A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries are a source of direct current.

blueprint

A document containing all the necessary information to create a product, such as a part, machine, or system. Blueprints are also called prints.

capacitor

A device that stores electrical energy. Capacitors release stored electricity when it is needed.

cell

A single battery unit that generates electrical current. A cell contains two different metals in an electrolyte solution.

coils

A conducting wire bent into multiple loops that create a magnetic field when current passes through them. Coils are used to energize devices.

combination diagram

An electrical print that combines elements of two or more types of electrical prints in one. Combination diagrams are often used to show more detail of one specific part of a circuit.

conductor

A material or element that allows free movement of electrons and therefore allows electricity to flow easily. Conductors are represented in electrical prints as solid, straight lines.

DC

Direct current. Electricity that travels in one direction. DC does not reverse the direction of flow.

diode

A type of rectifier with two terminals that allows electric current to flow in just one direction. Diodes use polarity to control current flow.

direct current

DC. Electricity that travels in one direction. Direct current does not reverse the direction of flow.

electrical floor plan

A very detailed electrical print that shows the locations and types of all electrical devices in a circuit. Electrical floor plans are widely used for construction projects.

electrical print

A document containing all the information needed for an electrical project. Electrical prints are useful for designing, constructing, and troubleshooting circuits.

enclosure

A closed-off area or container that surrounds electrical devices and circuits. An enclosure may be mounted on the wall, the floor, or the device to which the circuit connects.

fixed resistor

A device that opposes only a specific amount of current flow. A fixed resistor can be used to prevent overheating.

generators

A device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Generators operate on the principle of magnetic induction.

inductor

A coil of conducting wire that creates a magnetic field when current passes through it. Inductors are used to energize devices.

An electrical print that depicts a circuit in vertical planes similar to the rungs of a ladder. Ladder diagrams are similar to schematics and often used for complex wiring projects.

A component in a circuit that converts electricity into light, heat, or mechanical motion. Loads include light bulbs, appliances, and machines.

meters

A device that measures electricity. Meters measure many different variables, including voltage, amperage, and wattage.

motor

A machine that converts one form of energy, such as electricity, into mechanical energy or motion. Electric motors operate on the principle of magnetic induction.

motor starter

An electrically operated switch that starts a motor when triggered. A motor starter uses magnetic induction to provide the startup current for a motor.

one-line diagram

An electrical print that uses single lines to show the electrical relationships of circuit components or multiple circuits. One-line diagrams are often used as the basis for more detailed prints.

parallel

Two lines or axes that are equidistant from one another at all points. Parallel lines do not intersect.

pictorial diagram

An electrical print that shows the external appearance of each component in a circuit. A pictorial diagram is much like a photograph of the circuit.

polarity

Having two oppositely charged poles, one positive and one negative. Polarity determines the direction in which current flows.

potentiometer

A variable resistor with three terminals. A potentiometer is similar to a rheostat but more efficient.

print

A document containing all the necessary information to create a product, such as a part, machine, or system. Prints are sometimes called blueprints.

rectifier

A device that converts AC power to DC power. Rectifiers allow current to flow in one direction only.

resistance

The opposition to current flow. The resistance symbol is a jagged line.

rheostat

A variable resistor with two terminals. A rheostat is often used for high-energy devices.

schematic

An electrical print that uses symbols to represent all electrical components in a circuit. Schematics, also known as schematic diagrams, show the electrical relationships of all components but not their physical locations.

schematic diagram

An electrical print that uses symbols to represent all electrical components in a circuit. Schematic diagrams, also known as schematics, show the electrical relationships of all components but not their physical locations.

solenoid

A coil of wire that generates an electromagnetic force when a current is applied. Solenoids convert electrical energy into linear mechanical motion.

switch

A device that opens or closes a circuit. Switches control when a circuit is energized.

symbol key

A guide to the various symbols used in a particular electrical print. A symbol key may be a separate document or part of the print.

symbols

A sign or mark that represents something else. Symbols are often used in electrical prints.

terminal

A conductive device within a circuit to which other components can be attached. Terminals have a negative or positive charge.

three-dimensional

3D. Having or appearing to have length, width, and depth. Three-dimensional drawings show an object's shape better than flat drawings.

transformer

A device used to adjust voltage. Transformers typically reduce the voltage of incoming electrical power.

transistor

A device used to amplify a signal or open and close a circuit. Transistor symbols are labeled with the letter 'Q.'

troubleshooting

The systematic elimination of the various parts of a system, circuit, or process to locate a malfunctioning part. Troubleshooting a circuit often involves using electrical prints as a guide to find the problem area.

variable resistor

A device that can be adjusted to allow different amounts of current flow. Variable resistors include rheostats and potentiometers.

voltmeter

A device used to measure voltage. Voltmeter symbols are labeled with the letter 'V.'

wiring diagram

An electrical print that shows the physical locations and electrical relationships of all electrical components in a circuit. Wiring diagrams use symbols, like schematic diagrams, but they are much less common.