In today’s world, where the blessing of science and its inventions is more than prominent in the form of electricity wherever we go, knowing what goes on behind the scenes is downright essential for a lot of people.
Not only is knowing about the two different kinds of circuits your most favorite electrical appliance is made of a good thing, but it will also go a long way in assisting you if things ever go south with the said appliance.
Now, we do not necessarily mean that you should stop asking for expert help, but at least knowing your circuits will help you communicate with the experts better. Read on to find out about the difference between series and parallel circuits.
What is A Series Circuit?
Before we dive into more details on the differences, let us first take a look at what the two circuits really are, starting with the series circuit. Much like its name suggests, in a series circuit, all the components are connected to one another is a series.
Meaning that the end of one circuit component (for example, a bulb) will meet the beginning of another circuit component (which could be another bulb or even a resistor).
When working with a series circuit, it is crucial to know that the current remains the same at all parts of the circuit, whereas the potential difference (i.e., the amount of energy needed to move a unit of electricity from one point to another), differs. The potential difference is more commonly known as the voltage.
To better understand this, think of it in this way: since the quantity of current throughout the circuit is the same, if there has been any drop in the readings across any of the components, it must mean that each individual component has its own resistance to offer.
The presence of each individual resistance and the subsequent drop in the readings indicates the presence of an ever-changing voltage. In other words, the chances of the voltage across two components in a series circuit being the same are very low.
What is A Parallel Circuit?
On the other hand, we have the parallel circuit, which is yet another type of circuit arrangement that electrical appliances are integrated with. You must have guessed by now that in a parallel circuit, the circuit components are connected in parallel instead of being in a straight line.
Basically, in a parallel circuit, the head of any number of components are taken, and then they are connected to a common point (this is usually one end of the main circuit). Similarly, the tails of those components are also taken and are then connected in the same way, but this time to the other end of the circuit.
This forms numerous parallel subdivisions in the circuit. Since each component end shares a common joining point, it can easily be assumed that the potential difference across each component in a parallel connection is the same. Conversely, since the main circuit branches off to the different components, the current flowing through each component will be different.
Similar to how in a series circuit, the voltage depended on the resistance of each component, in a parallel circuit, the current will depend on the individual resistance of each component.
In summary, the potential difference in a parallel circuit is equal at all points within the circuit, whereas the current is divided and enters the branches in the arrangement.
Difference between Series and Parallel Circuits
Alright, so now that we are done with discussing what the basic features of each circuit are, let us move forward and take a look at the main topic of the day!
♦ The arrangement
In a series circuit, the components will be arranged in a single line without forming any branches of any sort. In a parallel circuit, the opposite is true, meaning that the circuit will form branches.
♦ The current
In a parallel circuit, the current going through each individual component is different, but in a series circuit, due to its arrangement, the current through every component is the same.
♦ Fault exposure
It is easier to pinpoint the faulty component in a parallel circuit than it is in a series one. This is due to the fact that in a series circuit, because all the components are connected head-to-tail if one goes out, it will completely cut off the current flow, and hence none of the other components will work anymore even if they are not faulty.
♦ Total resistance
The total resistance, otherwise known as the equivalent resistance in a series circuit, will always be much higher than the highest value of resistance in that same circuit. Conversely, the total resistance of a parallel circuit will always be lower than the lowest value of individual resistance in that circuit.
That is all for today on our article on the difference between a series and a parallel circuit. We hope you found this helpful, whether it be for your schoolwork, or for simply gaining more knowledge about the field of electronics. Thank you for reading till the end, and we will see you again soon!