Schematic Diagram

Written by Adam Blau
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If a circuit board resembles a cityscape, replete with skyscraper capacitors, traffic-light transistors and motorway conductive paths, then the roadmap to this city would be the schematic diagram. A schematic diagram spells out, in a complete and detailed format, the exact way that all components of an electronic device should be configured on a circuit board. If a schematic diagram is truly up to snuff, a person should be able to follow it to recreate a device that is identical in functionality to the original.

There are a number of conventions used in creating schematic diagrams. Much like a roadmap that has symbols for rivers, roadways and mountain ranges, a schematic diagram uses particular symbols to represent the various components to be placed on a circuit board. While some of these symbols are standardized (and can be found in innumerable places on the Internet or in guidebooks), there is some slight variation in the way some symbols are depicted--particularly transistors. If you are creating a schematic of your own, it can't hurt to include a legend depicting the meaning of your various symbols.

Creating Schematic Diagrams Using Computer-Aided Design Applications

One easy way to both design an electronic device and simultaneously create a schematic diagram is with the aid of a computer-aided design (CAD) application. A good CAD program will allow you to toggle back and forth between a "design" view (where you can view and test simulations of actual components to be placed on your board) and a "schematic" view (where you can see your design in schematic format). Such applications make the creation of schematic diagrams, legends, and blueprints remarkably easy.

It is worth noting that the layout of schematic diagrams does not necessarily need to mirror the actual layout of pieces on an actual circuit board. Just because two items are side by side in the schematic, they do not need to be next to one another in the real world. The schematic is simply a symbolic diagram explaining how items are connected, rather than where they are placed.


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