There exists numerous ways to construct a viable circuit diagram with industry standard electrical symbols. Engineers use all of these solutions at one time or another to visualize the complex operations of electrical circuitry. The most obvious tool in drawing circuit components is a template. A simple drawing template, such as the Electrical and Electronic Installation Symbols Drawing Template Stencil, from Plantec, is available from any retailer offering high quality drafting supplies and technical implements. A close inspection of one of these templates shows all of the expected symbols used in the electrical industry. Contact switches, rectifiers, lamps and an entire host of other commonly used symbols, are a standard part of any such template. All you really need to make use of one is a pencil and paper.
Of course, we live in a technical age, and it would only seem logical to use computer software to aid in designing circuitry. There is a large number of diverse software packages that do just that. They lay in the category of CAD software, or Computer Aided Design. This is a specialized type of computer application for designing all of the buildings and components that exist in the modern world. CAD software is used to design everything from tomorrow’s car to the buildings of the future, and such software is an essential tool for an engineer. So, while it is entirely possible to create electrical circuits by use of a good template, it’s far more efficient to use a capable software package, for example, Electra E6. The desirable software option possesses so many advantages over a simple drawing template that, once you learn the basic functions of the software, you’ll never want to go back.Electrical design software packages include vast libraries of ready to use electrical symbols. In all practicality, if you can imagine, or have used a particular set of electrical symbols in the past, the software will have it as part of a library. Each of those components will be categorized, and searchable, so that they can be easily inserted into the circuit diagram. The emphasis is upon making each of the software applications as intuitive to use as possible, so that the user can focus on creating the circuitry and not on navigating complex menus.
To return to the example of Electra E6 for a moment. This is a premiere example of software that is designed principally to streamline the workflow of the engineer, aiding in efficient creation of working circuit boards in a very short time. The learning curve is such that the design process can be picked up quickly. Indeed, Electra E6 is used by many engineers and technicians because of its simple user environment. Add to this the affordable pricing of the application, and you have a tempting option for creating complex circuitry. You also have access to a customer software department prepared to resolve any issue that may arise.
Of all the electrical symbol design options available, the most renowned would certainly have to be Autocad Electrical, from Autodesk. This is a software designer of much renown. Autodesk creates advanced, complex software packages for all kinds of real-world applications. Their range of 3D modeling software is taught in colleges, and used by thousands of animators and modelers to create film scenes for the movie industry. As such, it’s not hard to reason that Autodesk’s own electrical CAD program, Autocad Electrical, includes a wealth of options capable of creating incredibly complex circuitry for buildings, control panels, machinery, and just about any other electrical device. The software does all of this while using an intuitive interface. If there’s one science that Autodesk has conquered, it’s the science of packing hundreds of features and toolsets into their interface. All of these tools are readily accessible from labelled modules and drop-down menus.
So what does a monolithic piece of software like Autodesk Electrical offer that makes it a compelling purchase? A comprehensive library of electrical symbols is worth mentioning, and the ability to logically lay down each component and any connecting wiring. Add to this real-time error checking of the circuit and automation of commonly completed tasks, and you have a top of the line productivity tool for designing electrical systems. The only drawback may be the expensive price, but if the software is to be used for a department of engineers or technicians, it’s well worth considering this option. It’ll pay for itself in the long run with its superb visuals and tools that do everything from simplifying programmable logic control circuitry(PLC) design, to creating control panel layouts for those specializing in control panel circuitry.
As you can see, the two ends of the spectrum, representing drawing tools for electrical symbols, is well represented. At the simplest level, it’s quite possible to draw your own circuitry upon a template. This physical medium creates simple circuitry that an engineer can use to quickly visualize a design. In the middle of this selection lays an affordable piece of software like Electra E6, or PC Schematic. This level of software automates common design functions, inserting electrical symbols into complex designs. They do this admirably, and are used by many industries, including the US Navy and NASA. They set you free to focus on a design concept rather than on learning the software.
The very topmost of the electrical symbols design category would be a software package like Autocad Electrical, from Autodesk. It should be mentioned that as well as a high price tag for this amazing feature-full software suite, it is complex, meaning that there’s a learning curve before being able to get the very best out of the software. There are courses and online tutorials to ease this intimidating learning curve, but it’s certainly worth taking the plunge when you consider how complete and thorough Autocad Electrical is designing circuitry for the electrical industry.
List of base electrical symbols