Series and Parallel Circuits

Published: 14th March 2007
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A major concept in the world of circuits and electrical wiring is the difference between series and parallel circuits. Series and parallel circuits are researched and studied in various disciplines of science and engineering. Below is a listing of the qualities of series and parallel circuits.

Parallel. If the ends of one circuit are directly connected to the corresponding ends of another, it is a parallel circuit. It requires more than one path for current flow in order to reach all the elements of the circuit. An easy way to think of a parallel circuit is with two light bulbs and a battery. If each bulb is wired to the battery separately, with a separate loop for the current, the bulbs are parallel.

Series. A series circuit is one in which the circuit elements are connected end to end, and thus connected in a series. Series circuits are also commonly referred to as cascade-coupled or daisy-chain coupled. Think again of the light bulbs and the 9 Volt battery. If the wiring connects the light bulb to the battery, then to the next bulb, then back to the battery in a continuous loop, the circuit is a series.

The differences in series and parallel circuits are used for different functions for capacitors, inductors, and resistors in electrical devices.


Angela Oliver is an author for HRent.com. H and R Enterprises specializes in the distribution of hard to find and obsolete electronic components. Visit the site for a complete inventory of electronic components to help with series and parallel circuits.

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