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Home / Technical Articles / Eight common mistakes in reading and creating single line and wiring diagrams

Single line and wiring diagrams

In order to create a consistent and technically correct single line or wiring diagram, more than basic knowledge about the engineering field in question is required. Besides electrical installation and equipment, the design engineers should be familiar with electrical symbols and software packages for drawing.

Eight common mistakes in reading and creating single line and wiring diagrams

This is a good moment to mention that diagram design and diagram drawing are basically two separate activities, especially in the case of more complex switchboards and installation. The first one requires adequate engineering skills and experience for equipment dimensioning and proper functionality of the whole installation, hence a higher level of responsibility is involved. The second one can be done by a skilled technician, sometimes called a draftsman, if all components and connections are already chosen, i.e. designed.

However, today in practice, these two activities are usually done by the same person, although in some companies divisions still exist, and the whole process of diagram creation is done by at least two employees.

Practically the same, except maybe necessity for drawing software, stands for diagram reading.

Again, understanding of graphical presentation on one side, and the ability to check diagram compatibility with calculations and standards on the other side, are two different things.

As I wrote in one of my previous articles, called How to read single line and wiring diagrams, single line diagrams are simplified and digest picture of the whole switchboard, showing only major power equipment and connections to other switchboards. Wiring diagrams are used to show the control, measurement, and signalization principle of operation inside the switchboard.

Within this article, full engineering approach to single line and wiring diagrams creation and reading will be presented. That means both, design and graphical presentation.

As already started within the above mentioned previous article, some most important and most often mistakes during this process will be described. Of course, the goal is to avoid these mistakes whenever is possible and create a correct and usable single line or wiring diagram.


Description and examples of typical mistakes:

  1. Lack of design tags
  2. Inconsistency of design tags
  3. Lack of most important textual and numerical data
  4. Incorrect graphical representation
  5. Lack of connections to other switchboards and devices
  6. Incorrect wiring
  7. Lack of cross references
  8. Lack of comments and clarifications

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Miodrag Kokotovic

Graduated from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, within University of Belgrade, in the field of electrical power systems. Expert in electrical part of tender preparation, design, procurement, construction and commissioning of treatment plants and pumping stations, electrical power quality and energy management.

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