A series circuit is one in which several resistances are connected one after the other. Such connection is also called end to end connection or cascade connection. There is only one path for the flow of current.
Characteristics of Series circuit:
- The same current flows through each resistance.
- The supply voltage V is the sum of the individual voltage drops across the resistances.
V = V1 + V2 + V3 + .....+ Vn
- The equivalent resistance is equal to the sum of the individual resistances.
- The equivalent resistance is the largest of all the individual resistances.
R > R1, R > R2,....., R > Rn
The parallel circuit is one in which several resistances are connected across one another in such a way that one terminal of each is connected to form a junction point while the remaining end are also joined to form another point.
Characteristics of Parallel circuits:
- The same potential difference gets across all the resistances in parallel.
- The total current gets divided into the number of paths equal to the number of resistances in parallel. The total current is always sum of all the individual currents.
I = I1 + I2 + I3 + ......+ In
- The reciprocal of the equivalent resistance of a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the reciprocal of the individual resistances.
- The equivalent resistance is the smallest of all the resistances.
R < R1, R < R2, ....., R < Rn
- The equivalent conductance is the arithmetic addition of the individual conductance.
The equivalent resistance is smaller than the smallest of all the resistances connected in parallel.
The differences between series and parallel circuits are illustrated in the given table.
Schematic diagrams of series and parallel circuits are given below: