parallel circuit

Parallel Circuit: Definition, Characteristics, Formulas & Sample Images

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One type of electrical circuit that we most often encounter in everyday life is a parallel circuit.

This series with distinctive characteristics of having many branches is highly recommended as a household electrical solution.

The presence of branches on parallel circuits is possible electric charge Can pass two or more existing routes.

For more details, let’s peel in full what is meant by parallel circuits, formulas, characteristics and examples of parallel circuit schematic drawings on electronic devices that we often encounter in everyday life.

Definition of Parallel Circuit

parallel circuit

A parallel circuit  is a type of electrical circuit in which the circuit elements are arranged in branching. A circuit is said to be parallel when an electric current has many paths to flow (Pakpahan, S & Edminister, J.A, 1994).

Components that are part of a parallel circuit will have a constant voltage at all ends. The amount of voltage in a parallel circuit will flow the same in each branch, while the electric current flowing in each branch can vary.

The properties of parallel circuits are the opposite of series circuits where the flow of the circuit is arranged in parallel or branched.

For example, if one of the loads (resistances) on a parallel light circuit is broken, the resistance on the other branches can still be drained electric currentSo that the other lights will continue to burn.

Parallel circuits are constructed by connecting the terminals of all individual load devices so that the same voltage value appears in each component.

All components in a parallel circuit are connected to each other no matter how many components are in the circuit.

But what you know, there are never more than two sets of electrically equal dots. There are many current flow paths, but only one voltage exists in all components.

You can see more details in the illustration of an example of a parallel circuit schematic below:

Example of Parallel Circuit Schematic Overview

parallel circuit

Parallel Electrical Circuit Configuration

Consider the example of a parallel electrical circuit configuration drawing above. There is more than one continuous path for electric current to flow. There is one path from 1 to 2 to 7 to 8 and back to 1 again.

Then there is another path from 1 to 2 to 3 to 6 to 7 to 8 and back to 1 again. And the third flow is the path from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 to 8 and back to 1 again.

A characteristic of a parallel electrical circuit configuration is that all components are connected between points of the same electrical path.

Referring to the parallel electrical circuit configuration scheme above, we can see that points 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all arranged electrically equal.

So are points 8, 7, 6, and 5. Note that all resistors, as well as batteries, are connected between the two sets of points.

The fundamental difference between parallel circuits and series lies in the amount of current flowing through each component in the circuit.

If in a series circuit the same amount of current flows through all components placed in it, in a parallel circuit the current flowing from the voltage source will be divided into current flowing through each component branch in the circuit.

Characteristics of parallel circuits

parallel circuit

Series and parallel circuits have special characteristics based on the voltage owned by each circuit. On parallel circuits, each obstacle gets mains voltage whose magnitude is equal to the magnitude of the source voltage.

For more information about the characteristics or characteristics of parallel circuits, you can see through the point points below:

  • The total circuit current is equal to the sum of the individual branch currents.
  • The current flowing on each branch depends on the value of the resistance installed on the branch
  • The voltage on each electrical load is equal to the source voltage.
  • The total resistance of a parallel circuit is smaller than the resistance of the smallest in the circuit.
  • If one of the parallel resistance branches is disconnected, the electric current will be cut off only in that resistance circuit.
  • Each set of branches continues to work without being disturbed by a series of disconnected branches.
  • Each branch in a parallel circuit is an individual circuit.
  • The current on each branch depends on the size of the branch resistance.
  • The more parallelized a series of obstacles, the smaller the replacement obstacles resulting in Power What is consumed will be even greater.

You can see the description of the characteristics of parallel circuits above in the circuit construction example below:

parallel circuit

Parallel circuit construction drawing

Through the example of parallel circuit construction drawings above, we can conclude that:

  • The voltage in each branch has the same magnitude.
  • There are three separate paths (branches) for current to flow, each leaving the negative terminal and returning to the positive terminal.
  • Current can still flow to the circuit branches even if one of the branches or components in the parallel circuit is opened/disconnected.

Parallel Circuit Formula

A circuit is called a Parallel Circuit when two or more components are connected to the same node and both sides of the components are connected directly to battery or other sources.

Current in a parallel circuit has two or more paths to flow through it, so the parallel circuit formula is expressed by:

1/Rt  = 1/R1  + 1/R2 + 1/R3+ 1/R…..


Rt = Total Resistance or Equivalent Resistance, Ohm Unit (Ω)

R1 = First resistance, ohm unit (Ω)

R2 = Second Resistance, Ohm Unit (Ω)

R3 = Third Resistance, Ohm Unit (Ω)

Basic Components of Parallel Circuit Formulas

There are three basic relationships regarding parallel circuit formulas. Among them are voltage, current and alsob electrical resistance. We will explain the three laws of parallel circuits in detail below.

  • Voltage

In parallel circuits, each load resistor acts as an independent branch circuit, and therefore, each branch will get the entire supply voltage.

The total voltage of a parallel circuit has a value equal to the voltage on each branch. This relationship is expressed by the formula: ET = E1 = E2 = E3.

  • Current

Parallel circuits have more than one path for current flow. The number of current paths is determined by the number of load resistors connected in parallel.

The total current in a parallel circuit is the sum of the individual branch currents. This relationship in parallel circuits is expressed by the formula: IT = I 1  + I2 + I3+ I…..

To complete the calculation of the total current, you must first determine the current of individual branches using Ohm’s law whereE = IRorV = AR.

  • Obstacles

The number of obstacles connected to a parallel circuit reduces the overall resistance of the circuit.

The net resistance of a parallel circuit is always less than the value of any individual resistance. The resistance formula in parallel circuits is usually determined using the reciprocal equation, namely:  1/Rt  = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3+  1/R…..

Example of a parallel circuit problem:

Example 1:

  • It is known that there are two resistors with R1 of 8 ohms and R2 of 16 ohms arranged in parallel. The circuit is connected with a voltage of 32 volts. What is the electrical power released by the voltage source?


Rp = R1 .  R2/R1 + R2

Rp = 8 . 16/8 + 16

Rp = 32 ohms

So that the total replacement resistance is 32 ohms.

Ip = V/Rp

Ip = 32/32

Ip = 1 A

So that the electrical power released by the voltage source is 1 A.

Example 2:

  • There are two resistors assembled in parallel with the value of each resistor R1 = 10Ω, and R2 = 47Ω. Calculate how much the replacement resistance value is in the circuit!



parallel circuit

Proof of calculation:

parallel circuit

Thus, the replacement resistance in parallel circuits with R1 = 10Ω and R2 = 47Ω is 8.24Ω

Also Read: Newton’s laws

Example of Parallel Circuit Schematic Drawing

parallel circuit

As in series circuits, making parallel electrical circuits for electronic equipment is no less simple. To help friends learn it. Here are some examples of pictures of parallel electrical circuits in various kinds electronic devices.

  1. Electrical Circuit and House Lights

parallel circuit

Example of a drawing of a parallel home electrical circuit

Examples of parallel circuits that we most often encounter are in home wiring systems. One power source supplies all lights and electronic equipment using the same voltage.

The advantage of making a home light circuit with parallel circuits is that all components can have independent switches to control them. If one lamp is broken/goes out, it will not affect the other house lights.

However, in the event of a short circuit that lowers the voltage value to zero (0), then the entire system will completely shut down.

  1. Simple LED Light Series

parallel circuit

Example of a simple parallel electrical circuit drawing

In the picture above, you can see an example of applying a simple parallel electrical circuit to a lamp with a battery as an electrical power source. You can try it at home circuit scheme above considering the example above is quite easy and simple to apply.

  1. Car Light Range

parallel circuit

Example of a parallel circuit image of a car light

The next example of a parallel circuit can be found in the wiring circuit of car lights as shown above.

If the headlights of the car are assembled in series, then the safety factor of the car will decrease. This is because if one light goes off, the other will also die.

  1. Computer CPU Circuit

parallel circuit

CPU parallel circuit schematic image example

The arrangement of wiring circuits on computer CPUs is also one example of a parallel electrical circuit scheme. Through the picture of the parallel circuit computer above, you can learn how current and voltage work on a computer hardware.

  1. Traffic Lights

parallel circuit

Example of parallel circuit image of trafic lights

The last example of a parallel circuit scheme is a series of traffic lights. If you are interested in trying to make it on a small scale, you can make the example of a parallel circuit of traffic lights above as a reference.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Parallel Circuits

An electrical circuit must have a package of advantages and disadvantages in it. No exception to parallel electrical circuits. For those of you who want to learn more about it, here we describe the various advantages and disadvantages of parallel circuits in detail.

Advantages of Parallel Circuits:

  • The voltage distributed to each component of the circuit is of equal value.
  • The current is not affected even when more components (resistors) are added or removed from the circuit.
  • If one of the devices is off/disconnected, the device on the other branch will not be affected and still get electricity.

Disadvantages of Parallel Circuits:

  • Making circuit designs are more complicated compared to series circuits.
  • It costs a little more than to make a series circuit arrangement because it requires far more components for the manufacture of the circuit.
  • The potential for short circuits or short circuits in parallel circuits is greater than that of series circuits.


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