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Science > Electric Current and Its Effect > Symbols of Electric Components
Electric Current and Its Effect

Symbols of Electric Components

Have you ever imagined how energy is delivered to the light bulb? From the exterior we can only see electric boards and switches, but what is present inside? For the transfer of electric current, there is a need for different components. Since our childhood, we have been made familiar to the fact that ‘wires’ are the prime source of transferring current. But, now you will learn how other prominent elements such as resistors, capacitors etc., play a vital role in transferring current. These components are denoted as specific electric symbols which are used for theoretical representations. Let us study more about the symbols of the electric components below. We hope by the end of it, you’ll have better clarity on the same.

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Introduction to Electric Symbols

Whenever we read or study about electric current, it is important to stay familiar about the various associated components. At present, there are many electric symbols which are used to identify or represent a basic electrical device.

What is the purpose of these symbols? They are generally used to create a circuit diagram. In addition, these are internationally standardized by the IEEE standard (IEEE Std. 315) and the British Standard (BS 3939). Do remember that, literally NO changes can be made by the user concerning any electronic symbol. However, the user has the liberty to bring modifications in the architectural drawings such as lighting and power source.

Electric Symbols

You can check out the symbols for various electronic devices as shown below. Not only the circuit symbols, but each device also has a designated short name. Do not confuse these names with the approved standard notations, since these are commonly used by most people.


A wire is used to connect an individual component to another.

Wires Joined 

A single device can be linked to another through wires. It is a representation by sketching “blobs” where they are touched or shorted.

Unjoined Wires 

It should be known that whenever circuits are sketched some wires may not touch others. Hence, this can be represented by drawing them with no blobs.

Power Supply

The presence of power supply in an electronic circuit is basically to convert high voltage AC electricity to an appropriate low voltage supply. A power supply is capable of breaking down into several blocks, where each can perform a specific function.


A cell is used to offer electric supply to the circuit.


A battery is more than a cell and performs the same purpose. Moreover, the smaller terminal acts as the negative, whereas the larger end is positive.

DC Supply  

Considering a DC power supply, the current would always move in a single direction.

AC Supply

Among electric symbols, with an AC power supply, the current would move in alternating directions.


It is used as an AC power supply that comprises of two coils. One is the primary and the other acts as the secondary. Both of these are associated on an iron core. However, there is no physical connection among the two coils. In a transformer, the mutual inductance is the prime principle which is utilized to obtain power.


A resistor in an electric circuit behaves as a passive two-terminal component which produces electrical resistance. Further, resistors can be used to decrease current flow, manage signal levels and divide voltages.

It is to curb the amount of current which is flowing through the device.


The function of the rheostat is focused on controlling the flow of current with two contacts. This electric component is applicable for controlling capacitor charge rate, lamp brightness etc.


You can call a capacitor a component that holds the ability to store energy as electrical charge. This function is produced by the potential difference across its plates.

It is a device which is used to pile up electrical energy. A capacitor consists of two metals plates which are separated with a dielectric. Further, it is used as a filter to restrict DC signals and permit AC signals.

Variable Capacitor  

A variable capacitor is used to vary capacitance using the knob. A popular type of variable capacitor can be seen in the form of trimmer capacitor, which is quite small in size.

Question For You

Q. Explain the formation and application of the batteries?

Ans. A battery is basically the merger of two or more cells. The purpose of a battery is to feed electric current. For this, you need to connect the positive terminal of cell 1 to the negative terminal of cell 2. In order to identify the positive & negative terminals, do look for + and – symbols respectively. Batteries are utilized in a number of devices such as torch lights, calculators, watches, mobile phones, video games and even automobiles. Almost every electronic device that we use today runs on batteries, thereby adding to their usability.


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