Wiring Diagram - Read and Draw Wiring Diagrams
What's Wiring Diagram
A wiring diagram is a type of schematic that uses abstract pictorial symbols to show all the interconnections of components in a system. Wiring diagrams are made up of two things: symbols that represent the components in the circuit, and lines that represent the connections between them. Therefore, from wiring diagrams, you know the relative location of the components and how they are connected. It's a language engineers need to learn when they work on electronics projects.
Wiring Diagram VS. Schematics
It's easy to get confused about wiring diagrams and schematics. Wiring diagrams mainly shows the physical position of components and connections in the built circuit, but not necessarily in logic order. It emphasizes on the layout of the wires. Schematics emphasize on how circuits work logically. It reduces integrated circuits into sub-components to make the system's functional logic easier to understand. It's most useful for learning the overall operation of a system.
How to Read Wiring Diagram
Recognize Wiring Diagram Symbols
To read a wiring diagram, first, you have to know what fundamental elements are included in a wiring diagram, and which pictorial symbols are used to represent them. The common elements in a wiring diagram are ground, power supply, wire and connection, output devices, switches, resistors, logic gate, lights, etc. A list of electrical symbols and descriptions can be found on the "electrical symbol" page.
A line represents a wire. Wires are used to connect the components. All points along the wire are identical and connected. Wires on some places need to cross each other, but that does not necessarily mean that they connect. A black dot is used to indicate the injunction of two lines. The main lines are represented by L1, L2, and so on. Usually, different colors are used to distinguish the wires. There should be a legend on the wiring diagram to tell you what each color means.
Types of Connections
Usually, circuits with more than two components have two basic types of connections: series and parallel. A series circuit is a circuit in which components are connected along a single path, so the current flows through one component to get to the next one. In a series circuit, voltages add up for all components connected in the circuit, and currents are the same through all components. In a parallel circuit, each device is directly connected to the power source, so each device receives the same voltage. The current in a parallel circuit flows along each parallel branch and re-combines when the branches meet again.
Tips to Draw Good-looking Wiring Diagrams
- A good wiring diagram needs to be technically correct and clear to read. Take care of every detail. For example, the diagram should show the correct direction of the positive and negative terminals of each component.
- Use the right symbols. Learn the meanings of the basic circuit symbols and choose the correct ones to use. Some of the symbols have a close look. You need to be able to tell the differences before applying them.
- Draw connecting wires as straight lines. Use a dot to indicate line junction, or use line jumps to indicate cross lines that are not connected.
- Label components such as resistors and capacitors with their values. Make sure the text placement looks clean.
- In general, it is good to put the positive (+) supply at the top, and the negative (-) supply at the bottom, and the logical flow from left to right.
- Try to arrange the placement, reducing wire crossings.
Start with a Wiring Diagram Software
Professional wiring diagram software can produce high-quality wiring diagrams with less time. Edraw wiring diagram software is a particularly-designed application automating the creation of wiring diagrams with built-in symbols. It's easy to use and compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. With a comprehensive list of electronic symbols and components, it has been used as one of the most completed, simple, and useful wiring diagram drawing program. You can get accustomed to it soon because the interface is quite familiar to MS programs. Easy to label the components, customize the colors of lines and symbols, and export the whole drawing into another format such as PDF, PNG, SVG, Visio, etc.
Edraw Max - an All-in-One Diagram Software
- Effortlessly create over 260 types of diagrams.
- Provide various templates & symbols to match your needs.
- Drag and drop interface and easy to use
- Customize every detail by using smart and dynamic toolkits
- Compatible with a variety of file formats, such as MS Office, Visio, PDF, etc.
- Feel free to export, print and share your diagrams
Wiring Diagram Symbols
Start a wiring diagram design using industry-standard symbols that everybody understand. Here are the symbols that are often used when creating wiring diagrams. The symbols below all come from Edraw. It shows partially from the built-in electrical symbol library.
How to Draw Wiring Diagrams
First, make sure you have a tool that you know how to use. Take Edraw Max, for example, and you need to know where to find the electrical symbols and the right way to use the symbols. Although it seems all about dragging and dropping, it's still better to learn some practical techniques to get things done quickly and smoothly. Read these useful points before starting a new design:
- Take a look at the video - How to Draw Circuit Diagram. It provides a step by step guide on how to use the program to draw wiring diagrams.
- Draw your wiring diagram under Engineer theme.
- Find all the electrical wiring symbols in "Electrical Engineering" library.
- Some symbols can change more styles by clicking on the floating button on their top right side.
- Connect the components with a Connector, not a Line.
- Use Text button to draw new text boxes. (Note: Click the upper part of the button to draw text boxes. Use the Text Block Tool to edit existing text blocks on shapes.)
- Set line jump style on "Page Layout" menu.
- To save the file as other format, click the "Export and Send" button on File menu.
Wiring Diagram Examples
1. Harness Wiring Diagram
This harness wiring diagram shows how to match up the wires for each connection to the wiring harnesses.
2. Electrical Wiring Diagram
Create an electrical wiring diagram to display wire connections and the physical layout of an electrical system or circuit.