Circuit diagrams

Circuit diagrams

We don't draw circuit diagrams with colourful pictures of bulbs and buzzers because not everyone can draw well and so, it would start to get difficult working out what's what. Instead, we draw circuit diagrams.

Circuit diagrams use symbols to represent the components in a circuit.

circuit components table

So, instead of drawing a circuit for a torch like this:

Battery correctly connected switch on

…we draw a circuit diagram like this:

Simple series circuit

Short circuits

A short circuit happens when electric currentElectric current is a flow of electric charges (electrons). can flow round a circuit from one terminal of the batteryA battery is two or more electric cells joined together that can produce an electric current when connected to an electric circuit. to the other without passing through any components. In a short circuit, the wire heats up and the battery will go flat.

Short circuit

Circuit challenges

Use Circuit Builder to try:

  • making the torch circuit
  • changing the single 1.5 volt cell to a 3 volt battery
  • adding more bulbs to the circuit

Circuit builder thumbnail


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