Explain Electrical Ladder Diagrams

By Ronnie Daniels; Updated April 24, 2017
Ladder Diagram

Ladder diagrams are used to depict electronic control circuits in a simple form. These schematic diagrams resemble a ladder with rails and rungs. Special symbols are used to show the different components depicted on the diagram.

2 Components

Ladder diagrams usually display two different types of components: the power component and the control component.

Power Components

A power component on the diagram might be a motor. Other power components are protective devices such as fused relays or circuit breakers.

Control Components

The control rungs of the ladder show all the input and output devices that make the power components do their work. Control components include input devices which can either allow current flow or disrupt current flow and output devices.

Input devices

Input devices include switches of various types. They control the current flow to output devices such as LED lights.

Impact

By simplifying the way circuit elements are depicted, ladder diagrams make it possible for technicians all over the world to understand exactly what a circuit schematic is showing. Standard symbols on ladder diagrams make the technician’s work much easier.

About the Author

Ronnie Daniels writes content for blog, website and print publication. Writing professionally since 2007, Daniels has been published on various websites and offline in "Mirror Mirror Magazine." Constantly improving his craft and writing better articles and stories has become Daniels' goal in life.