If you're an aspiring electrician, chances are you've heard of the dreaded "series parallel circuit" and wondered how the heck to tackle it. It's a common question among electrical workers: how to find the total voltage in a series-parallel circuit? The answer isn’t a simple one — it takes both time and practice — but we’ll show you the basics to get you started.
In a series-parallel circuit, the voltage is the same across each component. However, the total circuit resistance is not the same. To calculate the total voltage, you must first find the total resistance of the circuit. That’s done by finding the resistances of each individual component, then combining them in series or parallel depending on the particular arrangement of the circuit.
Once you’ve computed the total resistance of the circuit, you can then use the formula V=IR (voltage equals current times resistance) to find the total voltage. You’ll need to supply the current measurement (from an ammeter or other current-measuring device) and the total resistance of the circuit.
Now comes the tricky part: knowing how to identify and calculate the individual component resistances for the series-parallel circuit. This takes time, patience, and knowledge of Ohm’s law. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be. Just remember: start by finding the total resistance first, then use the voltage equation to determine the total voltage.
Earning your electrician certification involves learning a lot of different skills, from soldering to wiring to reading and drawing blueprints, and computing voltages in series-parallel circuits is one of them. With practice and a little help from this article, you can soon have the tools necessary to find the total voltage in any series-parallel circuit your projects throw your way.
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