The MOSFET symbols provided by CircuitLab have two issues:

  • While the symbol is one of the many "standards" followed for MOSFETs, it is, at least to my mind, perhaps one of the least intuitive to recognize. It certainly is one of the less commonly used variants of the MOSFET symbol.
  • In addition, the lack of a body diode indication, at least for MOSFETs which have a body diode, as most do, makes an intuitive orientation / placement on a schematic that much more difficult.

This answer actually covers the MOSFET ground quite well.

The reason this comes to the fore again today is a recent question, where comments indicate both that the OP might have been confused by the symbol, and that other members blame the OP for the confusion, whereas the blame should lie squarely with CircuitLab. This is not the first time some ill-informed or poorly designed aspect of CircuitLab has been called out on this site.

Kortuk's answer to another meta post mentions that CircuitLab issues, bug reports and feature requests need to be raised directly with CircuitLab, and I have done so on multiple occasions, without ever seeing a fix or hearing back from them, not even so much as an acknowledgement.

Is there a way that StackExchange can push the right buttons with CircuitLab to actually make some changes? The Electronics StackExchange site is evidently providing CircuitLab a lot of brand visibility, much of it (in my opinion) highly undeserved because of how utterly crap the product is, on multiple counts.

I'd venture to say that even the hobbyist oriented, open source schematic products like Fritzing do a less shoddy job than the for-profit CircuitLab - so what is this site getting out of CircuitLab, to give them the visibility they're getting through us?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically all MOSFETs have a body diode, some are just too embarrassed to show it. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 22:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ 1. I think the symbols we have are pretty common when discussing the structure of digital gates. 2. In return for exposure they are providing a built in way to generate relatively 'pretty' schematics built in to the online editor, without every newb having to choose and be coached on an off-line editor and the file upload process. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which isn't meant to deny that a symbol showing the body diode would be more useful for ee.se. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton While I understand that we are getting a schematic editor, my point is that if they can't be responsive to change requests / bug reports, wouldn't another such circuit editing tool vendor, one who really wants the visibility, be willing to give us access to such a tool, and with better responsiveness? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ SE uses their service and does not have any connections to push anything. They see posts here, but I had always heard they respond quickly there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 0:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ This comment is off-topic, but I feel the need to share it in this question: Recently, I've noticed that I'm using Falstad's simulator more and more for simple simulations and that I've dramatically decreased usage of CircuitLab. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrejaKo Same here - every CircuitLab effort is fraught with frustration. It's truly an exasperating tool. :-( \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndrejaKo: I suggested using Falstad as the site editor/simulator, since it's basically open source, but it requires developers to modify and integrate it. meta.electronics.stackexchange.com/a/964/142 \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith I remember that and back then, I upvoted the suggestion. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a fan of CircuitLab since it seems to abuse EE.SE and its users to promote a commercial product. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GeertGoeteyn Be careful, or CircuitLab's spokesperson will accuse you of hostility and negativity for criticizing their marketing mechanism. I believe the recommended protocol is to roll over and let them be. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 11:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "how utterly crap the product is, on multiple counts." \$\endgroup\$
    – markrages
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


New CircuitLab MOSFET symbols released today -- enjoy!

new CircuitLab MOSFET schematic symbols

Anindo, CircuitLab is supporting the StackExchange integration as a marketing mechanism for CircuitLab, and a unique and useful community feature for EE.SE. (That's how the Balsamiq integration over at UX.SE works too.) At the end of the day, it's only a good deal if it works that way for both parties. My goal is to get you to become a happy paying customer of CircuitLab. The hostility and negativity in your answer is not really necessary to convey your suggestion about MOSFET symbols, and I think it reflects poorly as an ambassador of this community. Stick with constructive suggestions and we'll all be happier.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is excellent progress! Thanks for the update. The negativity was born out of frustration due to the lack of response or acknowledgement seen from CircuitLabs on posts at that site for this and other issues (e.g. motor symbols, very basic need). Silence isn't golden when your user is talking to you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 1:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfathomable ... in reference to the @compumike post. There are many people on this site who contribute ... a lot, and they are passionate and ** it is all volunteer work **. So basically you've picked one of the more active and passionate members of the community, who is known for their advocacy of openness and inclusiveness and have told him "shut up and let me market my product on top of all of your hard work so I can make money off of you". You've made a grave mistake in thinking that there are only two stakeholders here ... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 20:39

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