Parallel Circuits

In parallel circuits different components are connected on different branches of the wire. If you follow the circuit diagram from one side of the cell to the other, you can only pass through all the different components if you follow all the branches.

In a parallel circuit, if a lamp breaks or a component is disconnected from one parallel wire, the components on different branches keep working. And, unlike a series circuit, the lamps stay bright if you add more lamps in parallel.

Parallel circuits are useful if you want everything to work, even if one component has failed. This is why our homes are wired up with parallel circuits.

Parallel Circuits

Wiring several components in parallel has several advantages:

1. each bulb gets its own current because

2. its on its own circuit

3. each component recieves a constant voltage.

Current in a parallel circuit 

Current in a parallel circuit splits between each branch of the circuit.

At this point, the currents from both branches join up again.  

Whatever goes into the circuit must come out, so the current on the red brach and the blue branch will add up to what is showing on the purple branches.

Red and blue make purple.....

If we place an ammeters in the left and right of this section of the circuit, the readings will be the same.. because like in a series circuit, whatever goes in must come out.

At this point here the current splits.

Some of the current will travel along the blue branch and the rest will travel along the red branch.

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All images sourced from unless otherwise stated