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    Series and Parallel Circuit Experiments

    Series and Parallel Circuits

    Definitions

    If two or more circuit components are connected end to end like a daisy chain, it is said they are connected in series. A series circuit is a single path for electric current through all of its components.

    If two or more circuit components are connected like the rungs of a ladder it is said they areconnected in parallel. A parallel circuit is a different path for current through each of its components. A parallel circuit provides the same voltage across all its components.

    Basics

    Electrical circuit components can be connected together in one of two ways: series or parallel. These two names describe the method of attaching the components, that is one after the other or next to each other.

    • If two or more circuit components are connected end to end like a daisy chain, it is said they are connected in series. A series circuit is a single path for electric current through all of its components.
    • If two or more circuit components are connected like the rungs of a ladder it is said they are connected in parallel. A parallel circuit is a different path for current through each of its components. A parallel circuit provides the same voltage across all its components.

    As an example, consider a very simple circuit consisting of two lightbulbs and one 9 V battery. If a wire joins the battery to one bulb, to the next bulb, then back to the battery, in one continuous loop, the bulbs are said to be in series. If each bulb is wired to the battery in a separate loop, the bulbs are said to be in parallel. If the two lightbulbs are connected in series the same current flows in both of them; each lightbulb experiences about 4.5 V. If the two lightbulbs are connected in parallel, the currents flowing through the two lightbulbs combine to form the current flowing in the battery; each lightbulb experiences 9 V.

    Capacitors

    Capacitors follow a different law. The total capacitance of capacitors in parallel is equal to the sum of their individual capacitances:

    A diagram of several capacitors, side by side, both leads of each connected to the same wires.

    .

    The working voltage of a parallel combination of capacitors is always limited by the smallest working voltage of an individual capacitor.

    Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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