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Identify standard Circuit Symbols

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Ever wanted to become Lara Croft or Indiana Jones? Fighting your way through the deepest, darkest tombs to find the buried treasure, following the clues until you can work it all out? Well, you are in luck! That is what circuitry is – just following the clues laid out for you in a diagram (often it’s not quite so ancient though). In this activity, we will be looking at how to decipher some of the most common symbols used in circuits – you need to know these to be successful at electricity.

 

Here they are!

 

Symbols for circuit diagrams.

 

There are some important things to remember about each of these symbols though:

Ammeters measure current in amperes or amps (A). Ammeters are always connected in series (in line with the other equipment). Voltmeters measure voltage, which is the potential difference (difference in electrical energy between two points) and drives the current flow. Voltage is measured in volts (V). A voltmeter is always connected to a circuit in parallel to the component with the voltage to be measured. Electricity doesn’t flow through a voltmeter and so it will break the circuit if you put it in series.

 

Now you' ve got all those symbols sorted out, it's time to try a few questions.

Identify whether this circuit is in series or parallel:

 

A series circuit.

Series

Parallel

Identify whether this circuit is series or parallel:

 

Series

Parallel

What does this symbol represent?

Diode

Voltmeter

Bulb

Ammeter

What is this symbol? 

 

Fuse

Resistor

Voltmeter

What is this symbol? 

Voltmeter

Lamp

Resistor

What is this symbol? 

An open switch diagram.

Open switch

Closed switch

Cell

How is a voltmeter connected to a circuit?

In series

In parallel

What circuit component is shown in this diagram?

A battery made of several cells.

Battery

Cell

Motor

What is this symbol? 

Diode

Closed switch

Resistor

What is this symbol? 

Cell

Switch

Battery

  • Question 1

Identify whether this circuit is in series or parallel:

 

A series circuit.

CORRECT ANSWER
Series
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one right? It is very important that you know the difference between the two types of circuit so check them out in your revision guide, if you're at all unsure. This is a series circuit because the components are connected in one loop.
  • Question 2

Identify whether this circuit is series or parallel:

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Parallel
EDDIE SAYS
As in the previous question, if you're not sure about the different types of circuit, check them out in your revision guide. This circuit is parallel because there is more than one loop - in fact there are two.
  • Question 3

What does this symbol represent?

CORRECT ANSWER
Ammeter
EDDIE SAYS
The clue here is the A - it tells you what letter the name starts with! An ammeter measures the current flowing through a circuit.
  • Question 4

What is this symbol? 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Fuse
EDDIE SAYS
Did you fall for this trick question? Many others will have done too! A fuse looks very like a resistor but has a continuous line going through it. If you can't picture it, go back to the Introduction and check them both out in the chart so that you can compare them.
  • Question 5

What is this symbol? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Lamp
EDDIE SAYS
Lamps have an x in them - I don't know why. X marks the spot of the light, perhaps?!
  • Question 6

What is this symbol? 

An open switch diagram.

CORRECT ANSWER
Open switch
EDDIE SAYS
How about this one? Did you get that it was a switch but weren't sure if it showed an open or a closed one? When there is a break (bits don't touch) then it means that the circuit doesn't work. Circuits don't work when there is an open switch in them. Why don't you check out the difference between the two types of switch in the circuit chart in the Introduction?
  • Question 7

How is a voltmeter connected to a circuit?

CORRECT ANSWER
In parallel
EDDIE SAYS
Did you know this one? A voltmeter is always connected in parallel because electricity doesn't flow through it, which would mean the circuit would switch off it were in series.
  • Question 8

What circuit component is shown in this diagram?

A battery made of several cells.

CORRECT ANSWER
Battery
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get your cells and batteries muddled? A common problem! A battery is simply several cells put together so the image shows a battery.
  • Question 9

What is this symbol? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Resistor
EDDIE SAYS
Remember back to question 4 on the fuse? Compare this symbol to the one in that earlier question and you'll spot the difference! This is a resistor. It is just a square that current travels though - like the image!
  • Question 10

What is this symbol? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Cell
EDDIE SAYS
The final symbol question - did you get this one? It is a cell - a battery is made up of many of these all put together but only one is shown in the picture so .. just a cell ... You've completed this activity and hopefully, consolidated your knowledge of circuit diagrams. Terrific effort!
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