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Series-parallel DC circuitsThis worksheet and all related files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,version 1.0. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/, or send aletter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA. The terms andconditions of this license allow for free copying, distribution, and/or modification of all licensed works bythe general public.Resources and methods for learning about these subjects (list a few here, in preparation for yourresearch):1

QuestionsQuestion 1Identify which of these components are connected directly in series with each other, and which areconnected directly in parallel with each other:Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3R1R1R2R1R3R2R2R3R3Figure 4Figure 5Figure 6R1R1R3R1R3R2R2R4R2R4R3Assume that the open wire ends are connection points to a power source.file 017522

Question 2Identify which of these components are connected directly in series with each other, and which areconnected directly in parallel with each other:Figure 1Figure 2SW1R2C1R4Figure 3C1R3R1L1R2R1R1Figure 4Figure 5C1R2X1L1L1L2C1Figure 6R2R1R4R3R1Assume that the open wire ends are connection points to a power source. In circuits where groundsymbols appear, consider ground as the other side of the power source.file 017533

Question 3Identify which of these components are connected directly in series with each other, and which areconnected directly in parallel with each other:Printed circuit boardR1LampD1-- C1- Batteryfile 00031Question 4Identify which of these components are connected directly in series with each other, and which areconnected directly in parallel with each other:BatterySW1 Neonlamp-L1R1Terminal stripfile 00032Question 5In a series circuit, certain general rules may be stated with regard to quantities of voltage, current,resistance, and power. Express these rules, using your own words:”In a series circuit, voltage . . .””In a series circuit, current . . .””In a series circuit, resistance . . .””In a series circuit, power . . .”For each of these rules, explain why it is true.file 002914

Question 6In a parallel circuit, certain general rules may be stated with regard to quantities of voltage, current,resistance, and power. Express these rules, using your own words:”In a parallel circuit, voltage . . .””In a parallel circuit, current . . .””In a parallel circuit, resistance . . .””In a parallel circuit, power . . .”For each of these rules, explain why it is true.file 002925

Question 7Rank these three light bulb assemblies according to their total electrical resistance (in order of least togreatest), assuming that each of the bulbs is the same type and rating:ABCExplain how you determined the relative resistances of these light bulb networks.file 000306

Question 8Which components are guaranteed to share the exact same voltage by virtue of their connections witheach other? Which components are guaranteed to share the exact same current by virtue of their connectionswith each other?Printed circuit boardR1LampD1-- C1- Batteryfile 00033Question 9Which components in this partial automobile schematic diagram are guaranteed to share the exact samevoltage by virtue of their connections with each other? Which components are guaranteed to share the exactsame current by virtue of their connections with each other?Brake pedal switchLight switchAmmeterBrakelightsAHeadlight #1Fusible linkBatteryGenGeneratorHeadlight #2file 000347

Question 10Examine these two variable-resistance (rheostat) networks, each one with a large-range potentiometerand a small-range potentiometer:100k100k5k5kFor each network, determine which pot is the coarse adjustment and which pot is the fine adjustmentfor total resistance.file 03454Question 11Draw a schematic diagram of this ”breadboarded” circuit:R1R2R4R3 -file 017608

Question 12From observation of this circuit (with components attached to a ”terminal strip”), draw an appropriateschematic ery file 001159-

Question 13In this series-parallel circuit, resistors R1 and R2 are in series with each other, but resistor R3 is neitherin series nor in parallel with either R1 or R2:R1R3R2Normally, the first step in mathematically analyzing a circuit such as this is to determine the totalcircuit resistance. In other words, we need to calculate how much resistance the voltage source ”sees” in thenetwork formed by R1, R2, and R3. If the circuit were a simple series configuration, our task would be easy:R1R2R3Likewise, if the circuit were a simple parallel configuration, we would have no difficulty at all calculatingtotal resistance:R1R2R3Due to the fact that our given circuit is neither purely series nor purely parallel, though, calculation oftotal resistance is not a simple one-step operation. However, there is a way we could simplify the circuit tosomething that is either simple series or simple parallel. Describe how that might be done, and demonstrateusing numerical values for resistors R1, R2, and R3.file 0175510

Question 14Rank these five light bulb assemblies according to their total electrical resistance (in order of least togreatest), assuming that each of the bulbs is the same type and rating:ADBECExplain how you determined the relative resistances of these light bulb networks.file 0003911

Question 15Determine the amount of electrical resistance indicated by an ohmmeter connected between the followingpoints in this circuit:ΩVΩA COMA4k7C ntspointspoints3k3B2k71k5DA and B A and C C and D D and B B and C Explain whether or not it makes any sense to speak of a ”total” resistance for this network.file 0160112

Question 16Calculate the resistance between points A and B (RAB ) for the following resistor networks:Figure 1All resistors 500 ΩFigure 2Figure 3All resistors 1 kΩBAAB2 kΩ5 kΩ100 Ω470 ΩBAFigure 4Figure 5250 ΩAll resistors 2.2 kΩABFigure 6A220 Ω470 Ω470 Ω100 Ω330 ΩA940 ΩBBfile 01757Question 17Calculate the amount of voltage dropped across resistor R2 :1k5R124 V2k2R25kR3Also, note the direction of current through it and the polarity of the voltage drop across it.file 0175913

Question 18Complete the table of values for this circuit:220 Ω470 ΩR1R3R2R1R2130 ΩR312 voltsTotalVIR220 Ω130 Ω470 ΩPfile 01758Question 19Complete the table of values for this circuit:180 Ω250 ΩR1R3R2100 Ω7VR1R2R3VIR180 Ω100 Ω250 ΩPfile 0325914Total

Question 20Complete the table of values for this circuit: 15 VR118 kΩR29.1 kΩR1R218 kΩ9.1 kΩR35.5 kΩTotalR3VIR5.5 kΩPfile 03268Question 21Complete the table of values for this circuit:2.2 kΩ6.8 kΩR21 kΩR1R4470 ΩR36 voltsR1R2R3R4VIR1 kΩ2.2 kΩ470 ΩPfile 01756156.8 kΩTotal

Question 22Complete the table of values for this circuit:2.7 kΩ4.7 kΩR23.9 kΩR1R310 mAR1R2R3TotalVIR10 mA4.7 kΩ2.7 kΩ3.9 kΩPfile 0325616

Question 23Determine which light bulb(s) will glow brightly, and which light bulb(s) will glow dimly (assuming alllight bulbs are identical).ABCD(Sun)Solar panelfile 0004017

Question 24Antique American automobiles often used 6 volt electrical systems instead of the 12 volt componentsfound in more modern cars and trucks. People who restore these old vehicles may have difficulty findingold 6-volt generators and batteries to replace the defective, original units. An easy solution is to update thevehicle’s generator and battery with modern (12 volt) components, but then another problem arises.A 12 volt generator and 12 volt battery will overpower the old 6 volt headlights, brake lights, and otherelectrical ”loads” in the vehicle. A solution used by antique automobile restorers is to connect resistorsbetween the 12-volt generator system and the 6-volt loads, like this:Brake pedal switchLight switch6 voltsBrakelights6 voltsHeadlight #16 voltsAmmeterAFusible linkHeadlight #26 voltsBattery12 voltsGen 12 voltsGeneratorExplain why this solution works, and also discuss some of the disadvantages of using resistors to adaptthe new (12 volt) to the old (6 volt) components.file 0006218

Question 25Think of a way to re-wire the electrical system of this old automobile (with 6-volt light bulbs) so asto not require resistors between the loads and the generator/battery portion of the circuit (operating at 12volts each).Brake pedal switchLight switch6 voltsBrakelightsHeadlight #16 voltsAmmeterAFusible linkBatteryHeadlight #212 volts6 voltsvoltsGen 12Generatorfile 00063Question 26Calculate the voltage drops VAB , VBC , and VCD in the following circuit:150 Ω -A1200 ΩBCD1.5 VDCfile 0176419470 Ω6 volts

Question 27Calculate the voltage magnitude and polarity between points A and D in this circuit, assuming a powersupply output voltage of 10.5 volts:Powersupply -3k3AB4k72k7CD1k5Also, calculate the total current output by the power supply as it energizes this resistor network.file 01765Question 28Calculate the power supply’s output (total) current:PowersupplyA -3k34k7CVAVAOFFACOMfile 0176620B2k71k5D

Question 29Suppose you were designing a circuit that required two LEDs for ”power on” indication. The powersupply voltage is 15 volts, and each LED is rated at 1.6 volts and 20 mA. Calculate the dropping resistorsizes and power ratings: VR1R2LEDLEDAfter doing this, a co-worker looks at your circuit and suggests a modification. Why not use a singledropping resistor for both LEDs, economizing the number of components necessary? VR1LEDLEDRe-calculate the dropping resistor ratings (resistance and power) for the new design.file 0177721

Question 30Complete the table of values for this circuit:R3 150 Ω500 Ω1 kΩR2R1450 ΩR411 VR1R2R3TotalR4V11 VIR500 Ω1 kΩ150 Ω450 ΩPfile 03257Question 31Complete the table of values for this circuit:220 Ω100 ΩR1R4470 ΩR1R318 V130 Ω270 ΩR2R5R2R3R4R5VIR220 Ω130 Ω470 Ω100 ΩPfile 0176722270 ΩTotal

Question 32Complete the table of values for this circuit:790 Ω2.2 kΩR1R48.6 kΩ32 VR3R1R21 kΩ630 ΩR2R5R3R4R5VIR790 Ω1 kΩ8.6 kΩ2.2 kΩPfile 0176823630 ΩTotal

Question 33Complete the table of values for this circuit:VAVAOFFACOM -R1R2R3R4R5R1R22 kΩ1 kΩR3R4R5TotalVIR3.3 kΩ4.7 kΩ4.7 kΩPfile 01769Question 34What would happen to the voltage drops across each resistor in this circuit if resistor R1 were to failopen? -AR2R1BCDfile 0177124R3

Question 35What would happen to the voltage drops across each resistor in this circuit if either resistor R2 or R3were to fail open? R1A-R2BR3CDfile 01772Question 36What will happen to each resistor’s voltage and current in this circuit if resistor R1 fails open? Provideindividual answers for each resistor, please.PowersupplyPrinted circuit board withsurface-mount resistorsR1R4R2R3file 0177525 -

Question 37What will happen to each resistor’s voltage and current in this circuit if resistor R2 fails shorted?Provide individual answers for each resistor, please.PowersupplyPrinted circuit board withsurface-mount resistors -R1R4R2R3file 01774Question 38What will happen to each resistor’s voltage in this circuit if resistor R4 fails shorted? Provide individualanswers for each resistor, please.PowersupplyPrinted circuit board withsurface-mount resistors -R1R4R2R3Also, comment on the practical likelihood of a resistor failing shorted, as opposed to failing open.file 0177326

Question 39A student built this resistor circuit on a solderless breadboard, but made a mistake positioning resistorR3. It should be located one hole to the left instead of where it is right now: -R1R2R3R4R5Determine what the voltage drop will be across each resistor, in this faulty configuration, assuming thatthe battery outputs 9 volts. R1R2R3R4R5 2 kΩ VR1 1 kΩ VR2 3.3 kΩ VR3 4.7 kΩ VR4 4.7 kΩ VR5 file 0177027

Question 40Calculate all voltages and currents in this circuit:R1R2R3 -R4R5R6R7The battery voltage is 15 volts, and the resistor values are as follows:R1R2R3R4R5R6R7 1 kΩ3.3 kΩ4.7 kΩ2.5 kΩ10 kΩ1.5 kΩ500 Ωfile 0040628

Question 41Don’t just sit there! Build something!!Learning to mathematically analyze circuits requires much study and practice. Typically, studentspractice by working through lots of sample problems and checking their answers against those provided bythe textbook or the instructor. While this is good, there is a much better way.You will learn much more by actually building and analyzing real circuits, letting your test equipmentprovide the ”answers” instead of a book or another person. For successful circuit-building exercises, followthese steps:1.2.3.4.Carefully measure and record all component values prior to circuit construction.Draw the schematic diagram for the circuit to be analyzed.Carefully build this circuit on a breadboard or other convenient medium.Check the accuracy of the circuit’s construction, following each wire to each connection point, andverifying these elements one-by-one on the diagram.5. Mathematically analyze the circuit, solving for all values of voltage, current, etc.6. Carefully measure those quantities, to verify the accuracy of your analysis.7. If there are any substantial errors (greater than a few percent), carefully check your circuit’s constructionagainst the diagram, then carefully re-calculate the values and re-measure.Avoid very high and very low resistor values, to avoid measurement errors caused by meter ”loading”.I recommend resistors between 1 kΩ and 100 kΩ, unless, of course, the purpose of the circuit is to illustratethe effects of meter loading!One way you can save time and reduce the possibility of error is to begin with a very simple circuit andincrementally add components to increase its complexity after each analysis, rather than building a wholenew circuit for each practice problem. Another time-saving technique is to re-use the same components in avariety of different circuit configurations. This way, you won’t have to measure any component’s value morethan once.file 0040529

AnswersAnswer 1Figure 1:R2 in parallel with R3.Figure 2:R1 in series with R2.Figure 3:R2 in series with R3.Figure 4:R1 in series with R2; R3 in series with R4.Figure 5:R1 in parallel with R3; R2 in parallel with R4.Figure 6:R1 in series with R2.Answer 2Figure 1:R1 in series with SW1.Figure 2:R1 in series with R2; R3 in parallel with R4.Figure 3:R1 parallel with R2.Figure 4:R1 parallel with R2.Figure 5:L1 in series with C1.Figure 6:R3 in parallel with R4.Challenge question: if you compare figures 2 and 6, you see how merely changing the location(s) wherethe power supply connects to the network can alter the series/parallel relationships of the components. But,exactly what is it that is altered? If two components are in series with each other in one power sourceconfiguration, can that series relationship change by moving the power supply connection points? Howabout parallel connections? If two components are in parallel with each other, can that parallel relationshipbecome altered merely by moving the points where the power source connects to the network? Explain.30

Answer 3Connected directly in series: Battery and R1.R1 and Battery in seriesR1LampD1C1-- BatteryConnected directly in parallel: Lamp, C1, and D1Lamp, C1, and D1 in parallelR1LampD1- C1-- BatteryAnswer 4Connected directly in series: Battery, R1, and SW1. Connected directly in parallel: Neon lamp and L1.Answer 5”In a series circuit, voltage drops add to equal the total.””In a series circuit, current is equal through all components.””In a series circuit, resistances add to equal the total.””In a series circuit, power dissipations add to equal the total.”Answer 6”In a parallel circuit, voltage is equal across all components.””In a parallel circuit, currents add to equal the total.””In a parallel circuit, resistances diminish to equal the total.””In a parallel circuit, power dissipations add to equal the total.”31

Answer 7 C (least total resistance) A B (greatest total resistance)Answer 8The lamp, C1, and D1 are all guaranteed to share the exact same voltage. The battery and R1 are bothguaranteed to share the exact same current.Answer 9The two headlights are guaranteed to share the same voltage. So are the two brake lights. However, thevoltage across the brake lights may not be the same as the voltage across the headlights at any given time!So long as the fusible link is not ”blown,” the generator and battery will share approximately the samevoltage.The ammeter, fusible link, and generator are all guaranteed to share the same current.Answer 10Series network100k Coarse adjustment ; 5k Fine adjustmentParallel network5k Coarse adjustment ; 100k Fine adjustmentAnswer 11R1R2R3R4Answer 12Mtr32

Answer 13Suppose we had these resistor values: R1 3000 Ω R2 2000 Ω R3 5000 ΩThe total resistance in this case would be 2500 Ω. I’ll let you figure out how to do this!Hint: 2.5k is exactly one-half of 5kAnswer 14 C (least total resistance)DAEB (greatest total resistance)Answer 15 ntspointspointsA and B 2.41 kΩA and C 2.89 kΩC and D 1.32 kΩD and B 2.10 kΩB and C 2.75 kΩAnswer 16Figure 1:RAB 500 ΩFigure 2:RAB 750 ΩFigure 3:RAB 1.511 kΩFigure 4:RAB 940 ΩFigure 5:RAB 880 ΩFigure 6:RAB 80.54 ΩAnswer 17VR2 12.11 volts, positive on top and negative on bottom. If you follow conventional flow notation,this means current goes down through resistor R2 . The actual flow of electrons through R2 , however, is up.33

Answer 18R1R2R3TotalV1.778 V1.778 V10.22 V12 VI8.079 mA13.67 mA21.75 mA21.75 mA130 Ω470 Ω551.7 ΩR220 ΩP 14.36 mW24.30 mW 222.3 mW 261.0 mWAnswer 19R1R2R3TotalV5.01 V1.99 V1.99 V7VI27.84 mA19.89 mA7.95 mA27.84 mAR180 Ω250 Ω251.4 ΩP 139.5 mW100 Ω39.55 mW 15.82 mW 194.9 mWAnswer 20R1R2R3TotalV12.6 V2.4 V2.4 V15 VI700 µA263.7 µA436.3 µA700 µAR18 kΩ9.1 kΩ5.5 kΩ21.43 kΩP8.82 mW632.8 µW1.05 mW10.5 mWFollow-up question: how much voltage is present at the node (junction point) where R1 , R2 , and R3 allconnect together, measured with reference to ground? 15 VR118 kΩR29.1 kΩVnode ?34R35.5 kΩ

Answer 21R3R4Total3.627 V725 mV725 mV6V1.649 mA1.542 mA107 µA1.649 mA2.2 kΩ470 Ω6.8 kΩ3.64 kΩ77.24 µW9.891 mWR1VR21.649 VI 1.649 mARP1 kΩ2.718 mW 5.979 mW 1.117 mWAnswer 22R1R2R3TotalV27.45 V11.23 V16.22 V27.45 VI5.841 mA4.159 mA4.159 mA10 mAR4.7 kΩ2.7 kΩ3.9 kΩ2.745 kΩP 160.3 mW46.71 mW 67.47 mW 274.5 mWAnswer 23Bulbs ”A” and ”C” will glow brightly, while bulbs ”B” and ”D” will glow dimly.Follow-up question: explain why bulbs ”A” and ”C” will become dimmer (less bright) if the filament inbulb ”D” fails open.Answer 24The purpose of the resistors is to ”drop” half the voltage supplied by the generator and battery, so thatthe loads (light bulbs, in this case) receive only 6 volts instead of 12 volts. A disadvantage of using resistorsto do this is that the resistors waste a lot of electrical power in the form of heat.Answer 25Connect the light bulb pairs in series instead of parallel. This way, each light bulb will receive 6 volts,with a total system voltage of 12 volts.Follow-up question: there is a disadvantage of this strategy, though, and it concerns the safety ofoperating the automobile. Explain what this disadvantage is.Answer 26VAB 461 mVVBC 0 VVCD 1.039 VFollow-up question: explain why the voltage between points A and B (VAB ) would increase if the 1200Ω resistor were to fail shorted. Hint: imagine a ”jumper” wire connected across that resistor to simulate ashorted failure.Challenge question: explain how you can calculate these same answers without ever having to calculatetotal circuit current.35

Answer 27VAD 7.31 volts, A positive and D negative. The total power supply current is 4.36 mA.Follow-up question: explain why the voltage across the 4.7 kΩ resistor would go to zero if the 1.5 kΩresistor were to fail open.Answer 28Itotal 4.69 mAFollow-up question: explain why the voltage across the 1500 Ω resistor would remain unchanged if the4700 Ω resistor were to fail open.Challenge question: what crucial assumptions underlie the calculated figure for current shown here? Inother words, what unknown quantities can affect the accuracy of our predicted current value?Answer 29With two resistors: R1 R2 670 Ω, rated for at least 0.268 watts (1/2 watt would be a practicalrating).With one resistor: R1 335 Ω, rated for at least 0.536 watts (1 watt would be a practical rating).Follow-up question: if there were no perfectly sized resistors sized to choose from (which there mostlikely will not be!), would it be safer to choose a higher-value resistor or a lower-value resistor for theseapplications? For example, if you needed 670 Ω but the closest options on hand were 680 Ω and 500 Ω,which resistance value would you select? Explain your answer.Answer 30R1R2R3R4TotalV4.714 V6.286 V1.179 V3.536 V11 VI4.714 mA12.57 mA7.857 mA7.857 mA12.57 mAR1 kΩ500 Ω150 Ω450 Ω875 ΩP22.22 mW 79.02 mW9.26 mW27.78 mW 138.3 mWAnswer 31R1V3.978 VI 18.08 mARP220 ΩR2R3R4R5Total2.351 V6.328 V3.155 V8.517 V18 V18.08 mA13.46 mA31.55 mA31.55 mA31.55 mA130 Ω470 Ω100 Ω270 Ω570.6 Ω71.92 mW 42.50 mW85.21 mW3699.51 mW 268.7 mW 567.8 mW

Answer 32R1V13.43 VI 17.00 mARP790 ΩR2R3R4R5Total18.57 V13.43 V32 V0V32 V18.57 mA1.562 mA14.55 mA0 mA33.11 mA1 kΩ8.6 kΩ2.2 kΩ630 Ω966.4 Ω0 mW1.06 W228.4 mW 344.7 mW 20.98 mW 465.5 mWChallenge question: what circuit parameters will change if the diagonal wire in the right-hand side ofthe circuit is cut?2.2 kΩR1R48.6 kΩ32 VR3break790 Ω1 kΩ630 ΩR2R5Answer 33R1R2R3R4R5TotalV4.500 V676.6 mV2.233 V1.590 V1.590 V4.500 VI2.250 mA676.7 µA676.7 µA338.3 µA338.3 µA2.927 mAR2 kΩ1 kΩ3.3 kΩ4.7 kΩ4.7 kΩ1.538 kΩ457.9 µW1.511 mW538.0 µW538.0 µW13.17 mWP 10.12 mWAnswer 34If resistor R1 were to fail open (internally), it would drop the full battery voltage across its terminals,leaving no voltage for R2 or R3.Answer 35If either resistor R2 or R3 were to fail open (internally), the voltage across both R2 and R3 wouldincrease (but not to full battery voltage), leaving less voltage dropped across R1.Follow-up question: explain why it doesn’t matter which resistor (R2 or R3) fails open – the qualitativeresults for voltage (voltage increasing or decreasing, but not by any specific amount) will be the same.37

Answer 36If resistor R1 fails open . . . VR1VR2VR3VR4willwillwillwillincrease to full supply voltage, IR1 will decrease to zerodecrease to zero, IR2 will decrease to zerodecrease to zero, IR3 will decrease to zerodecrease to zero, IR4 will decrease to zeroFollow-up question: note the order in which I list the qualitative effects of R2’s shorted failure. Readingfrom the top of the list to the bottom reveals the sequence of my reasoning. Explain why I would come tothe conclusions I did, in the order I did.Answer 37If resistor R2 fails shorted . . . VR2VR1VR3VR4willwillwillwilldecrease to zero, IR2 will increaseincrease to full supply voltage, IR1 will increasedecrease to zero, IR3 will decrease to zerodecrease to zero, IR4 will decrease to zeroFollow-up question: note the order in which I list the qualitative effects of R2’s shorted failure. Readingfrom the top of the list to the bottom reveals the sequence of my reasoning. Explain why I would come tothe conclusions I did, in the order I did.Answer 38If resistor R4 fails shorted . . . VR4VR1VR2VR3willwillwillwilldecrease to zeroincreasedecreaseincreaseFollow-up question: resistors are actually far less likely to fail shorted as they are to fail open. However,this does not mean something else on a circuit board cannot go wrong to make it appear as though a resistorfailed shorted! One example of such a fault is called a solder bridge. Explain what this is, any why it couldproduce the same effect as a resistor failing shorted.Answer 39Rather than tell you each voltage drop, I’ll give you this one hint: there is only one resistor in thisbreadboard circuit that has voltage across it! All the other resistors in this circuit are de-energized, thanksto the misplacement of resistor R3.38

Answer 40R1 1 kΩER1 4.016 VIR1 4.016 mAR2 3.3 kΩER2 6.522 VIR2 1.976 mAR3 4.7 kΩER3 6.522 VIR3 1.388 mAR4 2.5 kΩER4 4.462 VIR4 1.785 mAR5 10 kΩER5 6.522 VIR5 652 µAR6 1.5 kΩER6 3.347 VIR6 2.231 mAR7 500 ΩER7 1.116 VIR7 2.231 mAAnswer 41Let the electrons themselves give you the answers to your own ”practice problems”!39

NotesNotes 1Work with your students to clearly identify rules by which series and parallel connections may beidentified. This is extremely important for students to grasp if they are to be successful analyzing seriesparallel networks of any kind. The most common problems I encounter as an electronics instructor withreference to series-parallel are invariably related to students’ lack of ability to consistently distinguish seriessub-networks and parallel sub-networks in series-parallel combination circuits.Notes 2Work with your students to clearly identify rules by which series and parallel connections may beidentified. This is extremely important for students to grasp if they are to be successful analyzing seriesparallel networks of any kind. The most common problems I encounter as an electronics instructor withreference to series-parallel are invariably related to students’ lack of ability to consistently distinguish seriessub-networks and parallel sub-networks in series-parallel combination circuits.Notes 3Students must have a firm understanding of what constitutes ”series” versus ”parallel” in real circuits.Here is a place where some students will feel uncomfortable because the textbook definitions they memorizedare easier said than applied. It is imperative that students have a strong working knowledge of terms, anddo not simply memorize definitions.Notes 4Students must have a firm understanding of what constitutes ”series” versus ”parallel” in real circuits.Here is a place where some students will feel uncomfortable because the textbook definitions they memorizedare easier said than applied. It is imperative that students have a strong working knowledge of terms, anddo not simply memorize definitions.Notes 5Rules of series and parallel circuits are very important for students to comprehend. However, a trend Ihave noticed in many students is the habit of memorizing rather than understanding these rules. Studentswill work hard to memorize the rules without really comprehending why the rules are true, and thereforeoften fail to recall or apply the rules properly.An illustrative technique I have found very useful is to have students create their own example circuits inwhich to test these rules. Simple series and parallel circuits pose little challenge to construct, and thereforeserve as excellent learning tools. What could be better, or more authoritative, than learning principles ofcircuits from real experiments? This is known as primary research, and it constitutes the foundation ofscientific inquiry. The greatest problem you will have as an instructor is encouraging your students to takethe initiative to build these demonstration circuits on their own, because they are so used to having teacherssimply tell them how things work. This is a shame, and it reflects poorly on the state of modern education.40

Notes 6Rules of series and parallel circuits are very important for students to comprehend. However, a trend Ihave noticed in many students is the habit of memorizing rather than understanding these rules. Studentswill work hard to memorize the rules without really comprehending why the rules are true, and thereforeoften fail to recall or apply the rules properly.An illustrative technique I have found very useful is to have students create their own example circuits inwhich to test these rules. Simple series and parallel circuits pose little challenge to construct, and thereforeserve as excellent learning tools. What could be better, or more authoritative, than learning principles ofcircuits from real experiments? This is known as primary research, and it constitutes the foundation ofscientific inquiry. The greatest problem you will have as an instructor is encouraging your students to takethe initiative to build these demonstration circuits on their own, because they are so used to having teacherssimply tell them how things work. This is a shame, and it reflects poorly on the state of modern education.Notes 7I prefer to enter discussion on series and parallel circuits prior to introducing Ohm’s Law. Conceptualanalysis tends to be more difficult than numerical analysis in electric circuits, but is a skill worthwhile tobuild, especially for the sake of effective troubleshooting.It is effective after conceptual (qualitative) analysis, though, to go through a numerical (quantitative)analysis of a circuit like this to prove that the concepts are correct, if the students are advanced enough atthis point to do series-parallel resistance calculations.Notes 8Here, the important relations between voltage, current, and component connection patterns are explored.This serves to further define, in practical ways, what the terms ”series” and ”parallel” really mean.Notes 9Here, the important relations between voltage, current, and component connection patterns are explored.This serves to further define, in practical ways, what the terms ”series” and ”parallel” really mean.This question also affords the opportunity of discussing what a ”fusible link” is, and how it comparesto fuses and circuit breakers as an overcurrent protection device.Notes 10The purpose of this question is for students to identify the dominant resistance values in series versusparallel circuits. Remind your students if necessary that Rtotal Rn for series and Rtotal Rn for parallel(where Rn represents any particular resistor in the network).Notes 11If your students are not yet aware of how solderless breadboard holes are connected together, this is agood time to introduce them!Notes 12This type of question is one that lends

Series-parallel DC circuits This worksheet and all related ﬁles are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, . In circuits where ground symbols appear, consider ground as the other side of the power source. . In this series-parallel circuit, resistors R1 and R2 are in series with each other, but resistor R3 is neither .

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