Basic electronics – short guide to the circuit diagram or electronic schematic diagram.
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This is an introductory video to basic electronics. The diagram shown is known as a circuit diagram or an electronic schematic diagram. It’s used to show the electrical connections in clear and simple form, usually easier to follow than seeing the actual wires which may be obscured as they coil around components. Schematic diagrams are particularly important as the circuits get more complex.
For more details about electronics see my website:
or you can buy a copy of my book “Learn Electronics with Raspberry Pi”, by Stewart Watkiss:
The book is in a second edition, which now includes a chapter on understanding digital logic
The circuit diagram is normally static, but I’ve used a simple animation to show how current flows around the circuit when the switch is activated. This shows conventional current, which means that it shows the electrical current flowing from the positive end of the battery and returning to the negative end. We now know that the actual flow of electrons is in the opposite direction, but most circuits are designed based on the concept of conventional current.
To understand a circuit diagram then you need to know what the symbols mean. This diagram is of a simple light circuit which was commonly used before the LED became so popular. The symbol on the left represents a battery. The symbol on the top is a switch. This kind of switch is normally drawn in the open position (although there are other types of symbols for different switches). In the animation I show it closing to show how the circuit is completed. The symbol on the right is a light, often used for incandescent lights. This is normally just drawn in black on a white background, but I’ve shown it as yellow when it’s lit to better explain the circuit.
As you can see when the switch is in the open circuit, there is a break in the circuit and the light is off. When the switch is closed the circuit is complete, current can flow and the light turns on. The switch could be in any part of the circuit as long as it breaks the circuit when open and completes the circuit when it’s closed.