Components of an Electrical Circuit

A simple electrical circuit consists of the following components:

Voltage or current source (e.g. a battery or power supply)  
Consumer or load (e.g. incandescent lamp)  
Connections between the voltage source and the load (e.g. cables/leads)  
A switch to open and close the circuit (may be omitted)  


If the load is connected to the voltage source via leads, the circuit is closed and a current flows from the voltage source through the load.

The following interactive animation enables you to set up a simple circuit. Drag and drop the individual components (1: voltage source, 2: load, 3: switch) to their respective locations in the circuit and switch the circuit on by actuating the switch.



In electrical engineering, circuits are usually depicted in a technical drawing known as a circuit diagram, whereby the individual components are represented by standardised symbols (circuit symbols). The following graphic shows the circuit diagram corresponding to the circuit above. Here additional pointer arrows have been included to show the directions of the source voltage U and the current I being conducted.




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