Series and Parallel Circuits

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Contributors: Pete-O

Series and Parallel Circuits

Simple circuits (ones with only a few components) are usually fairly straightforward for beginners to understand. But, things can get sticky when other components come to the party. Where’s the current going? What’s the voltage doing? Can this be simplified for easier understanding? Fear not, intrepid reader. Valuable information follows.

In this tutorial, we’ll first discuss the difference between series circuits and parallel circuits, using circuits containing the most basic of components – resistors and batteries – to show the difference between the two configurations. We’ll then explore what happens in series and parallel circuits when you combine different types of components, such as capacitors and inductors.

Covered in this Tutorial

  • What series and parallel circuit configurations look like
  • How passive components act in these configurations
  • How a voltage source will act upon passive components in these configurations

Suggested Reading

You may want to visit these tutorials on the basic components before diving into building the circuits in this tutorial.


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