2. Understanding electrical drawings

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What are electrical diagrams?

Electrical diagrams are drawings that map out electrical systems and circuits through a variety of symbols, lines and numbers. This includes all the different components, the wiring between them, and relative positioning. These diagrams are used by electrical engineers in the development phase of electrical projects and by electricians and electrical technicians in the installation and implementation phase. They are also critical for when things go wrong, as they help effectively locate and troubleshoot issues with the circuit.

Electrical design documents can consist of hundreds of pages of electrical diagrams. Reading them is an art and skill in itself. It can be a bit like learning a new language altogether, and it takes time to get confident – but once you do, it's second nature.

Watch the video below for an introduction to reading complex electrical diagrams.

Next week, we'll be looking at an electrical diagram of a real level crossing loop and more specifically, the DC track circuits that fit into it. Before we do, though, let's have a go at drafting up our own basic diagram.

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