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The nature of series and parallel electric circuits, with their advantages and disadvantage are discussed below.
Series circuits have a single path that connects the electric source or sources to the output device or devices. These circuits have limited uses because any change in one circuit part affects all the circuit parts. If one light bulb in a series circuit burns out, a discontinuity in the entire circuit is produced. In this way all the other bulbs or components in the circuit will also stop working.
The voltage provided by a group of electric sources connected in series is the sum of their individual voltages. But the same amount of current flows through each source and output device. For example, when each battery in a two-battery torch supplies 2 volts, and the two together will supply 4 volts. The same amount of current will flow through each battery and the bulb. Electric sources are connected in series to provide more voltage than can be produced by a single source.
Parallel circuits provide more than one path for current. After current leaves a source, it follows two or more paths before returning to the source. When several bulbs or components are connected in parallel, fault in any one, or removal of any one does not affect flow of current to others.
Parallel circuits provide the same voltage for every source and output device in the circuit. For example, combined voltage of multiple 2 volt batteries connected in parallel will also be 2 volts. Electrical sources are connected in parallel to provide more current than one source can produce. Unless all in parallel have the same voltage, current would flow from one source into the other. This will result in loss of power
All household lights and appliances are connected in parallel because a parallel circuit allows all devices to operate on the same voltage.
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