SERIES CIRCUITS

V. Ryan © 2005 - 2022

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The circuit opposite shows three bulbs placed in series. This is a called a series circuit. Current flows through each of the bulbs in sequence. Current flows through bulb A, then bulb B and finally bulb C. The more bulbs that are added, the less bright they shine. It is possible to added so many bulbs that they do not light at all. This is due to the resistance in each bulb. If any of the bulbs fail, current cannot flow through the circuit and the other components will not work.

In the circuit below, the bulbs have been replaced with modern LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Circuit Wizard software has been used to simulate the working circuit.

A PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION OF THE LIGHT EMITTING DIODES IN SERIES CIRCUIT

ANOTHER SERIES CIRCUIT DIAGRAM

The circuit (right and left) is another example of a series circuit. When the switch is turned on current flows through the bulb first, then the solenoid and last the motor. This causes the bulb to light, the solenoid to be activated and the motor’s spindle to rotate. However, the more components that are added in series means the less current is available for all. Eventually, each component will fail to work as too much current is being drained from the circuit.

The circuit is shown below. This has been drawn using Circuit Wizard Software. An LED has been used in place of the bulb.

A PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION OF THE CIRCUIT

QUESTIONS:
1. Draw a simple series circuit and explain how it works.
2. Draw the same components but this time arranged as a ‘parallel’ circuit. How do the two circuits differ?
3. Is it possible to have a circuit that has some components arranged in parallel whilst others are arranged in series? If your answer is ‘yes’ draw a circuit that has two bulbs and two motors. Place the two bulbs in series and the two motors in parallel.
4. What will happen if one of the components fails in a series circuit?