Series vs parallel circuits:
Learners of physics often get confused over its distinctly different yet seemingly similar pairs of physics theories and subject matters. Two such paralleled terms in Physics and in Electronics are series and parallel circuits. Electronics, the subject area which deals with electronic circuits and their components, has a vast number of ways in making circuits and utilizing them for various purposes. Components of circuits have many different ways in combining them and series and parallel circuits are two such types. However, though both the above terms have their own similarities, there are obvious dissimilarities between them too. This article intends to get to the confused minds in clearing such perplexities by explaining each and also by providing a small count of differences between the two electronic terms.
What is series?
Series is one of the simplest ways of combining an electrical circuit. This method occurs very frequently in electronics. In Electronics and Physics, what is meant by a series circuit, also referred to as series, is a circuit in which components such as resistors, diodes, switches and etc are arranged in a chain, so that the currant or the flow of electrons has only one alleyway to take. Through each resistor, the current that flows is the same. Accordingly, an electronic circuit of which its components are connected in series is known as a series circuit. In a series circuit, as mentioned above, through each component of the circuit, the current flow is the same. Further, the voltage across the components is the sum of the voltages across each component. In a series circuit, each component or device must equally function for their circuit to function properly. Say for instance, if one bulb burns out, the whole circuit is out of order. This could undoubtedly be considered as one major disadvantage of this type of circuit. If one component breaks down, the whole circuit is deprived of the current flow thereby making it dysfunctional.
What is parallel circuit?
The other simple type of combining an electronic circuit is the parallel method. Unlike in series, the current flow does not flow in a single pathway in this method. In Electronics, what is meant by a parallel circuit is a circuit in which the resistors are connected with their heads and tails together. While a circuit is composed solely of components such as resistors, diodes, switches, and etc connected in series known as a series circuit, one connected completely in parallel is known as a parallel circuit. Talking about the current flow in a parallel circuit, even if the current flow breaks up at some point, current that flows along each parallel branch recombines the current when the branches meet again. Thus, the flow of electron is not interrupted or damaged. The voltage across each component which is in parallel is the same. Further, when describing parallel circuit in a more descriptive and simpler manner, it can be said that if two or more components are connected in parallel, they have the same voltage across their ends. The voltage is in the same magnitude and they have exact divisions. The total current flowing in the circuit is the summation of the currents through the individual components and that is what was explained in the Kirchhoff’s current law.
What is the difference between parallel and series circuits?
Although there are certain similarities between these two ways of combining electronic circuits, it must be noticed that there are distinctly different aspects that exist among the two types of circuits. Both are simple ways of putting up an electrical circuit with both circuits are compiled of components such as resistors, diodes, switches and etc which are placed and positioned in a circuit structure. The two types differ from their circuit structures and that is major difference. A series is consisted of electronic components that are placed in line. Yet, the parallel circuit is consisted of electronic components that are placed not in line but parallel to each other. Further, in series, the current flows in a single path. The components have the same current though them but each component will have different voltages. The voltage of the whole circuit would be the total of voltages in every resistor or component. Yet in parallel circuits, the components are not in line. This kind of circuit, unlike the series which allow one way current flow, splits the flow of current. The voltages across the ends of the components are the same.
Moreover, a major difference that can be noted is that if one component of a series circuit is burnt out, the whole circuit would be deprived of electricity since the one way current flow is interrupted. But, if a component in a parallel circuit is burnt out, the circuit would function as before.