Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen

A parallel circuit is defined as a circuit with two or more elements connected in the same way. Electrical circuit elements can be connected in a series or parallel configuration. Parallel circuits have separate branches for each constituent.

These circuits’ current can go in a multitude of directions. Because the current in a parallel circuit might travel different channels, it does not always follow the same path.

Instead, the voltage or potential drop across each branch is constant for connected branches in parallel. The current divides itself into inversely proportionate amounts throughout each branch because it is inversely proportional to the resistance of each branch. As a result, the current is greatest when the resistance is the lowest, and vice versa.

## What is a Parallel Circuit?

The current flows over several separate routes in a parallel circuit. You’d have to travel along each branch of a parallel circuit if you wanted to pass through all components. If one component fails or is detached, the other branches feed voltage and current to the remaining components, keeping them operational.

Lighting circuits in our homes and offices are parallel circuits. In contrast to a series circuit, if one bulb fails, the other lights in the circuit continue to work and remain lighted. Also, the others will stay lit if you add more lights to the circuit because the current is shared.

## Construction of a Parallel Circuit

A parallel circuit is made by connecting the terminals of all the individual load devices so that the voltage across all of them is the same.

- The voltage is the same throughout all branches.
- The Current flows in three different directions (branches), leaving the negative terminal and returning to the positive terminal.

In contrast to a series circuit, if anyone branch or component in a parallel circuit is opened, current still flows to the other devices in the circuit.

## Parallel Circuit Configuration

Let’s have a look at the parallel circuit, which is a unique type of circuit:

This time, we have three resistors, but they form more than one continuous current route. One path takes you from 1 to 2 to 7 to 8, then back to 1. Another goes from one to two to three to six to seven to eight and then back to one. A third path leads from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 to 8 and then back to 1. A branch is a name given to each path (through R1, R2, and R3).

A parallel circuit is distinguished because its components are wired to the same set of electrically common terminals. Points 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all electrically linked, as seen in the schematic diagram. Points 8, 7, 6, and 5 are also in this group. Between these two sets of terminals, all resistors and batteries are connected. However, the complexity does not end there! Circuits with both series and parallel elements are also possible.

## Parallel Circuit Characteristics

Branching is used in parallel circuits to allow current flow in multiple directions throughout the circuit. Current flows from a battery’s positive to negative terminals. The current varies according to the resistance of each branch, but the voltage remains constant throughout the circuit.

Parallel circuits are built up such that current can flow through multiple branches at once. Voltage, not current, remains constant throughout, and Ohm’s Law can be used to compute voltage and current. The circuit can be handled as both a series and a parallel circuit in series-parallel circuits.

## Parallel Circuits Calculations

A parallel electronic circuit is one in which the leads of two or more electronic components are connected to the corresponding leads of every other component in the circuit. Connecting a parallel circuit with two resistors is straightforward. Connect the first resistor’s left lead to the left lead of the second resistor first, then the first resistor’s right lead to the right lead of the second resistor.

### Product-Over Sum Rule

One of the most basic methods for calculating the equivalent resistance of two parallel resistors is to use the product over the sum rule. According to this rule, the equivalent resistance is equal to the product of the two resistors divided by their sum. The product of a 2-Ohm resistor and a 6-Ohm resistor is 12, and the sum is 8. The product over the sum will be 1.5 since 12 divided by 8 = 1.5.

### Power Supply Current Problem

Before connecting two resistors across the terminals of a power supply, they’re commonly linked in parallel. Identifying the total amount of current flowing from the supply is a common difficulty with such a system. According to Ohm’s rule, the current coming from the battery equals the voltage divided by the equivalent resistance of the two parallel resistors. If the battery voltage was 15 volts and the equivalent resistance was 1.5 Ohms, the current from the battery would be equal to 10 amperes because 15 divided by 1.5 = 10.

### Branch Currents

The currents that travel through each parallelly connected resistor are called branch currents. When current from a battery reaches the point (node) that unites the branches of a parallel resistor circuit, it splits between the resistor branches like water in a river. The total of the currents in the two branches will equal the overall current from the power source. The amount of current in each branch, on the other hand, will be determined by the resistance of the branch. Current will flow faster through a branch with a lower resistor value than through a branch with a higher resistor value.

### Branch Current Calculations

When a 15-volt battery is connected in series with a 6-ohm and 2-ohm resistor, the current flowing through the 6-ohm resistor is equal to the voltage across the 6-ohm resistor—that is, 15 Volts divided by the resistor’s resistance of 6 ohms. The current would be 2.5 amperes because 15 divided by 6 equals 2.5. Similarly, the current through the 2-ohm resistor would be 7.5 amperes because 15 divided by 2 is 7.5.

### Voltage Drops Across Parallel Components

The voltage drops across parallel components in a circuit are the same, as indicated earlier in measuring voltage. According to Kirchhoff’s voltage law, the sum of all voltages (the positive voltage from the power source plus the voltage drops from components) must equal zero in a closed loop.

In a parallel circuit with numerous branches, you can make a loop using any of the parallel branches and the batteries. Regardless of the component on each branch, the voltage drop across every branch must be equal to the voltage given by the battery (ignoring the possibility of other components in series, for simplicity). Because this is true for all branches, voltage losses between parallel components will always be the same.

### Equivalent Capacitance of Parallel Capacitors

A similar result for parallel capacitors is Q = VC. The voltage drop between all parallel capacitors (or other elements in a parallel circuit) is the same. The charge on the single equivalent component is the total charge of all the individual capacitors in the parallel arrangement. As a result, the total capacitance (or equivalent capacitance) can be expressed more straightforwardly:

Ceq=C1+C2+C3+…Cn{C}_{eq}={C}_{1}+{C}_{2}+{C}_{3}+…{C}_{n}Ceq=C1+C2+C3 …Cn

## The Use of a Parallel Circuit Connection

### Battery Current

The total battery current increases when batteries are coupled in parallel. The total amount of electrical current from parallel batteries is equal to the sum of the ampere-hour ratings of each battery in parallel in ampere-hours. When connecting batteries in parallel, only use batteries of the same voltage. Keep in mind that the voltage across parallel batteries will be the same as the battery’s voltage. They won’t add up in the same way a series connection would.

### Light Emitting Diodes

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and other electronic components that emit light when a voltage is applied are routinely stacked parallel and in series. When LEDs are connected parallelly, one LED will turn off while the others stay on. When one of the lights in a series LED configuration fails, the others fail. Series LED layouts to require less electrical current to run than parallel LED installations.

### Different Resistor Values

When many resistors are connected in series, the total resistance of the series resistors equals the sum of the resistor values. Because of this feature of resistors in series, you can build higher-value resistors by simply connecting them in series.

When two resistors are connected in parallel, the total resistance of the parallel resistors is less than the lowest value of each parallel branch. Designers use a specific formula to calculate the overall resistance value of parallel resistors.

## Parallel Circuit Specifications

### Same Voltage Across all Branches

Whether there are several or single power sources, the voltage across a parallel circuit remains constant. The voltage from the power sources is dispersed across the circuit, which causes this. You’ll need to manage the voltage via resistors or voltage regulators if your circuit requires multiple voltages at different points.

### Complex Current Paths

A parallel circuit splits the current from the power source across the circuit. Different amounts of current flow result from each branch’s resistances. Additionally, the current increases when you add branches to the circuit; you must verify that your power supply can manage the increased current; otherwise, the entire circuit would be power-starved. When a constant current is required, parallel circuits are not an option.

### Complex Circuit Loading

The voltage in a parallel circuit remains constant when branches are added, necessitating a change in current flow to compensate; when more resistors are added to further branches, the overall resistance of the circuit decreases, resulting in a lower resistance in the circuit. The only way to increase resistance is to add resistors in series with each other and on existing branches.

## Conclusion

The parallel circuit is the most typical form of circuit you’ll encounter. In most power distribution systems, loads are connected in some manner or another in parallel.

Lastly, as you think on parallel or any other circuit of choice, remember we at ICRFQ sell the best electrical components in China. We are the best electrical components manufacturers in China, contact us today.

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