**Series And Parallel Circuits**

Components of an electrical circuit or electronic circuit can be connected in many different ways. The two simplest of these are called **series** and **parallel** and occur very frequently. Components connected in series are connected along a single path, so the same current flows through all of the components. Components connected in parallel are connected so the same voltage is applied to each component.

A circuit composed solely of components connected in series is known as a **series circuit**; likewise, one connected completely in parallel is known as a **parallel circuit**.

In a series circuit, the current through each of the components is the same, and the voltage across the circuit is the sum of the voltages across each component. In a parallel circuit, the voltage across each of the components is the same, and the total current is the sum of the currents through each component.

As an example, consider a very simple circuit consisting of four light bulbs and one 6 V battery. If a wire joins the battery to one bulb, to the next bulb, to the next 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 four light bulbs are connected in series, there is same current through all of them, and the voltage drop is 1.5 V across each bulb, which may not be sufficient to make them glow. If the light bulbs are connected in parallel, the currents through the light bulbs combine to form the current in the battery, while the voltage drop is 6.0 V across each bulb and they all glow.

In a series circuit, every device must function for the circuit to be complete. One bulb burning out in a series circuit breaks the circuit. In parallel circuits, each light has its own circuit, so all but one light could be burned out, and the last one will still function.

Read more about Series And Parallel Circuits: Series Circuits, Parallel Circuits, Combining Conductances, Notation, Applications

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### Famous quotes containing the words circuits, series and/or parallel:

“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the *circuits* of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.”

—Robert M. Pirsig (b. 1928)

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“As I look at the human story I see two stories. They run *parallel* and never meet. One is of people who live, as they can or must, the events that arrive; the other is of people who live, as they intend, the events they create.”

—Margaret Anderson (1886–1973)