There are two commonly used capacitor symbols. One symbol represents a polarized (usually electrolytic or tantalum) capacitor, and the other is for non-polarized caps. In each case there are two terminals, running perpendicularly into plates. The symbol with one curved plate indicates that the capacitor is polarized. The curved plate represents the cathode of the capacitor, which should be at a lower voltage than the positive, anode pin. A plus sign might also be added to the positive pin of the polarized capacitor symbol.
When working with circuits, you will often find something called a schematic diagram. These diagrams use symbols to illustrate what electronic components are used and where they’re placed in the circuit. These symbols are graphic representations of the actual electronic components.
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