5.

Parallel Circuits

The discussion of electrical circuits presented up to this point has been

concerned with series circuits, in which there is only one path for the

current to flow.

There is another basic type of circuit known as the

parallel circuit. Where the series circuit has only one path for current,

the parallel circuit has more than one path for the current.

Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's law apply to all electrical circuits, but the

characteristics of a parallel circuit are different to those of a series

circuit.

a. *Parallel Circuit Characteristics. * A parallel circuit is defined as

one having more than one current path connected to a common voltage source.

Parallel circuits, therefore, must contain two or more resistances which are

not connected in series. An example of basic parallel circuit is shown in

figure 42.

FIGURE 42.

EXAMPLE OF A BASIC PARALLEL CIRCUIT.

Start at the voltage source (Es) and trace counterclockwise around the

circuit. Two complete and separate paths can be identified in which current

can flow. One path is traced from the source, through resistance R1, and

back to the source.

The other path is from the source, through the

resistance R2, and back to the source.

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