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Difference Between Series Circuit and Parallel Circuit

Main Difference

The main difference between Series Circuit and Parallel Circuit is that Series Circuit’s components are attached in the form of series, so that in this way they all share the same current, whereas Parallel Circuit’s components are attached in the parallel arrangement so that in this way all parts will have same potential change between them.

Series Circuit vs. Parallel Circuit

The current flowing in a series circuit through all of its components is considered the same because they are attached in series. On the other hand, the current flowing in parallel circuits through all of the parts is considered parallel to each other, and the current flowing through each branch relies on the impedance of components in that branch. The amount of the potential difference through a component in series circuit usually rely on the impedance of components; on the contrary, the amount of the potential difference in a parallel circuit through each of its part is relatively same.

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The resistance/inductances of the individual inductors/resistance in a series circuit add up; in that way, the total resistance/inductance becomes higher than the largest inductance/resistor of an individual’s inductance/resistor. On the flip side, the total inductance/resistor of a resistor in a parallel circuit is always considered smaller than the resistance/inductance of the individual’s resistance/inductor.

The capacitance of a capacitor in a series circuit is always referred to as smaller than the smallest capacitance of an individual’s capacitor. At the same time, the individual’s capacitance of a capacitor in the parallel circuit becomes add up in such a way that the total capacitance is referred to as higher than the largest capacitance of an individual’s capacitor. The number of paths in the series circuit is single; in contrast, the number of paths in a parallel circuit is multiple depending on the number of components attached.

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Comparison Chart

Series CircuitParallel Circuit
The components in a series circuit are usually attached in a cascaded fashion or can say attached one after the other.The components in a parallel circuit are attached in a specific way that each part is attached through a mutual point, creating multiple parallel divisions in the parallel circuit.
Considered As
The current flowing through all of its components is considered the same because they are attached in series.The current flowing through all of its components is considered parallel to each other, and the current flowing through each branch relies on the impedance of components in that branch.
Formula
For a series circuit

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R=R1+R2

For a parallel circuit

1/R=1/R1+1/R2

Potential Difference
The amount of the potential difference through a component typically rely on the impedance of components.The amount of the potential difference through each of its components is relatively the same.
Fault
The occurrence of a fault in one of the components causes interference in the complete function of the circuit.Failure in a single component does not affect the rest of the circuit’s operation.
Resistance/ Inductance
The resistance/inductances of the individual inductors/resistance are sums up; in that way, the total resistance/inductance becomes greater than the largest inductance/resistor of an individual’s inductance/resistor.The total inductance/resistor of a resistor is always considered smaller than the resistance/inductance of the individual’s resistance/inductor.
Capacitance
The capacitance of a capacitor is always referred to as smaller than the smallest capacitance of an individual’s capacitor.The individual’s capacitance of a capacitor becomes add up in such a way that the total capacitance is referred to as greater than the largest capacitance of an individual’s capacitor.
Number of Paths
The number of paths is single.The number of paths is multiple, depending on the number of components attached.
Component Operation
The components are attached in the manner of one after the other.The components are attached through the tail to tail and head to head method.
Voltage
If Vt is total voltage, then it is equivalent to V1+V2+V3.If Vt is total voltage, then it is equivalent to V1=V2=V3.

What is Series Circuit?

There are presently no junctions across components in the case of a series circuit. According to the Kirchhoff’s first law (the law of conservation of charge), the series circuit contains the same amount of current passing through all of its Components.

The current in the entire series circuit stops to flow when there occurs any fault at any point. In a series circuit, when the resistances are attached with resistances as such R1 + R2 + R3 + …, then this will be shown in combined resistance as R = R1 + R2 + R3 + …

The power loss in the series circuit through a resistor is directly proportional to its resistance. The device which measures current is ammeter contains a minimal effect on the applied current. That is why they are formed to include a small resistance and must be attached in series with the components.

What is Parallel Circuit?

A coil can be present across two components without the chance of meeting other parts along the coil is known as the parallel circuit. According to Kirchhoff’s second law (the law of conservation of energy), the parallel series circuit contains the same potential difference between them.

If a fault occurs in any of the components or a loop of the parallel circuit, then other parts will not be affected and still be functional. When resistors of this circuit having resistances in such a way R1 + R2 + R3 + …, then the combined resistance Rtot will be shown as.

Key Differences

  1. A circuit is called a series circuit when the continuous current passes through all the components of that circuit whereas, and a circuit is known to be a parallel circuit if it is connected in parallel and contains multiple pathways for the flow of electricity through it.
  2. The components of a series circuit are attached through a single path from one circuit supply end towards the other supply end; on the contrary, the components of a parallel circuit are attached through multiple ways concerning the two ends of the battery.
  3. The same current in a series circuit is passed through all of its components in the circuit; on the other hand, a variant and different amount of currents in parallel circuit passed from each parallel branch of the respective circuit.
  4. In a series circuit, the occurrence of a fault in one component may hinder the function of all the parts in the circuit; in contrast, in a parallel circuit, the appearance of error in one part does not interrupt the function of whole circuit components.
  5. The troubleshooting or detection of the fault in a series circuit is considered difficult; at the same time, the discovery of a failure in a parallel circuit is relatively quite easy.
  6. In a series circuit, the equivalent resistance in series connection is relatively more than the highest value of resistance, whereas, in a parallel circuit, the equivalent resistance in parallel combination is always comparatively less than any of a single resistance.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that in the series circuit, the flow of current rests the equivalent in each component of the circuit, whereas in the case of parallel circuit, the current between two terminal points is the same as the provided current.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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