this instructable will show you exactly how to read all those confusing circuit diagrams and then how to assemble the circuits on a breadboard!

for all the electronics hobbyist wannabes this is a MUST-READ instructable.

knowing how to read circuits is a very useful skill that will help you out all the time. especially if you start messing around with building little electronics projects.

In addition to reading this instructable it may be a good idea for you to read my other instructable "electronics components and what they do" to get a good understanding of what you are doing when building a project. (woops not done with this yet, i got caught up with other stuff, check back in a week or so)

Step 1: So What Are All Those Symbols???

Picture of So What Are All Those Symbols???
finished 2.jpg
here is a little guide that shows you the basic symbols for all sorts of components. its handy to keep a little guide like this around in case you forgot some. Plus, while you're beginning you might have to refer to it pretty frequently. I have boxed the most common symbols in red, these are the ones you should get to know by heart. the others you can always refer back to the guide for.

dont be overwhelmed its simpler than you think, just stay with me
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STEMsheets7 days ago

Here is an interactive simulation you can use to practice reading basic circuit diagrams. It allows you to assemble and test simple circuits.

Electric Circuit Game

PKTraceur6 years ago
I still don't understand how microchips, like 555 timers and those other blac rectangles with like, 20 leads work. Nor do I get caps. For that matter, how the heck does electricity flow? Oh well, camera tasers are still awesome. -PKT

Atoms are a nucleus with electrons around them, also known as electricity. Metals do something weird when they are together: they have a sea of electrons, thus giving them highly conductive properties. Gold and silver are known as super conductors, because their resistance is basically zero.

======= T H E I M P O R T A N T S T U F F =======

Electricity is negatively charged, and since same charges repel each other, electrons want to get away from other electrons as fast as possible. A battery works by having electrons all in one spot, trying to get away from each other, but they can't. Once a path is made or circuit is closed, then there is a way for the electrons to get away from each other. The less resistance, the faster they leave, which is why short circuiting is so bad.

I hope I helped.

incorrect. yes electrons flow, and yes electrons are negatively charged, but electricity is always treated as a flow of positive charge, opposite in fact to the direction of electron flow. this is known as conventional current

aplauche (author)  PKTraceur6 years ago
micro chips are very complicated small circuits. they are built out of the same things as most circuits: resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc.... just shrunk way down. hence micro. so really a micro chip is just a very tiny circuit board pre-made for your use
Your the first one in 3 years to make microchips actually make sense. Thank you. -PKT
spirit x1 year ago

whats the symbol for a transformer

Here it is





Symbol for transformer is:

NakshN3 months ago

Good work!

Help me a lot.


R&D Engineer


hi! i am a grade school student and one of our project is to pickup invention in instructable site. i have chosen your laser trip wire as my project but i am having a difficulty in finding the circuit board. The store just gave me project board to use as circuit board but i don't have any idea on how to use it. can you help me,please?

nicklovesgod5 months ago

Great instructable ! I read because I am creating a computer and I'll need help!

Acn8s.6 months ago

Small questions being answered TY.

PhiM17 months ago

very easy to follow so far

mabearden7 months ago

Great!!! Thank You

I'm it trying to be a cynic, but I think that the diode was improperly labeled in the schematic. By all means, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't LED's supposed to have two little lightning bolts along side of them?

i thought the same thing, lightning bolts are unfamiliar to me, but i've seen 2 arrows pointing away from the triangle showing light is being emitted from it

JimC28 months ago

Will someone please explain the correct way to wire a switch to this from the #14 12vdc switch input?

In step#9 it says " customer supplied switch" , just not the correct way to wire the switch, I contacted the mfg, but did not hear back from them


Thanks in advance

HarishB11 year ago

very helpful sir.i am an electronics and communication student.thank u.

STEMsheets1 year ago

You may find these customizable flash cards useful for learning circuit symbols: Circuit Symbol Flashcard Maker

VERY helpful...One question though...If when reading a diagram if the wires are connected on the diagram BEFORE a switch post but go right into a switch post after the connection when you are wiring do you solder mid wire or at the switch post thing?

This is helpful, especially for those who want to learn more about circuitry, and for us engineers to further enhance our ability and familiarization on symbols and types, Great!

i like it

jkleyn1 year ago

Thanks! Pure simple and Clear.

spirit x1 year ago

can some one tell me how to use a 8 pin mini transformer

spirit x1 year ago

whats the symbol fora transformer.

K Nyarko1 year ago

helpful intro

shallowman1 year ago
Great intro, however I would really like to see you explain a more advanced circuit schematic.
okhajutt1 year ago
GeoEg2 years ago
Excellent Intro!
ndav2 years ago
excellent introduction to circuits, thank you
very nice Thanks to giving me ausefull information
ash3032 years ago
good stuff. Thanks and keep it up!
sbroom92 years ago
great site easy to understand glad i found it
spikec2 years ago
Nicely done. Your series of 'ables is awesome, thanks!
bvillamor2 years ago
thank you for the information
bvillamor2 years ago
thank you for your information
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