Series and Parallel Resistances - a Summary

To summarize all that we have just learned:


  • There are 2 types of circuits.... Series and Parallel.

    •            Series Circuits
      • Are connected in a straight line, like a chain.
      • All current remains the same throughout the circuit.
        • I Total = I 1 =I 2 =I 3 etc...
      • There can be many different voltages in a series circuit, as a voltage drop appears across every resistor.
      • The total voltage in a series circuit is equal to the sum of all the individual voltage drops within the circuit.
        • E Total = E 1 + E 2 + E 3 + etc...

      • The total resistance in a series circuit is equal to the sum of all the individual resistances within the circuit.
      • The formula for Resistance in Series is:
          R Total = R 1 + R 2 + R 3 + etc...

    • Parallel Circuits
      • Are connected allowing multiple paths for current flow.
      • All voltage remains the same throughout the circuit.
        • E Total = E 1 =E 2 =E 3 etc...
      • There can be many different currents in a parallel circuit, as each leg has the same voltage, but can have a different resistance.
      • The total current in a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of all the individual currents on each leg of the circuit.
      • The formula for Current in Parallel is:
          I RTotal = I R1 + I R2 + I R3 + etc...

      • Resistance is found by reciprocating the sum of the reciprocals of the resistance of the individual branches
      • The formula for Resistance in Parallel is:
                             1
          -----------------------------------
            1       1       1       1       1
           ---- + ---- + ---- + ---- + ---- + 
           R 1     R 2    R 3    R 4    R X...      
    • Ohm's Law states that there is a relationship which exists between current, resistance, and voltage, such that E = I x R
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