Difference between Series circuit & Parallel circuit | What is the Difference Between Series and Parallel Circuits?

Difference Between Series and Parallel Circuits

Series circuits and parallel circuits are two major types of electrical circuits. In practical applications, both the series and parallel circuits are combinedly and implemented.

In this article, the differences between the series and parallel circuits are presented.

Series CircuitParallel Circuit
A series circuit is one in which the components are connected one after the other. It is also called a one-to-one connection or cascade connection.
A parallel circuit is one in which the components are connected directly across each other.
The total voltage applied to a series circuit is distributed across the various components of the circuit in a series of voltage drops. In other words, the sum of voltage drops across the individual elements in a series circuit is equal to the total applied voltage.Vt = V1 + V2 + V3โ€ฆ+Vn.Every component in a parallel circuit operates at the same voltage as the source. In other words, the voltage across the various components in a parallel circuit is the same.Vt = V1 = V2 = V3โ€ฆ= Vn.
There is only one path available for the current flow.There will be two or more paths available for the current flow. The number of current paths are equal to the number of components in parallel.
Current is the same through all elements in a series circuit.It = I1 = I2 =I3 โ€ฆ = In.Current is different and additive in a parallel circuit.It = I1 + I2 + I3โ€ฆ+In.
In a resistive series circuit, the total resistance is equal to the sum of the individual resistance.Rt =  R1 + R2 + R3โ€ฆ+Rn.In a resistive parallel circuit, the total resistance is less than any of the individual resistances.Rt = 1 / (1/R1 + 1/R2+ . . . 1/Rn).
In an inductive series circuit, the total inductance is equal to the sum of the individual inductances.Lt =  L1 + L2 + L3โ€ฆ+Ln.In an inductive parallel circuit, the total inductance is less than any of the individual inductances.Lt = 1 / (1/L1 + 1/L2+ . . . 1/Ln).
In a capacitive series circuit, the total capacitance is less than any of the individual capacitances.Ct = 1 / (1/C1 + 1/C2+ . . . 1/Cn).In a capacitive parallel circuit, the total capacitance is equal to the sum of the individual capacitances.Ct =  C1 + C2 + C3โ€ฆ+Cn.
Components with different current ratings cannot be connected in a parallel circuit.An electrical component should never be placed in a parallel circuit if it has a voltage rating less than the source voltage.
The whole circuit becomes useless in case of a break or short circuit at any point of the circuit.The components in a parallel circuit operate independently of one another. In case of a break or short circuit at any point of the circuit, the rest of the circuit would still work. 
A series circuit is used to protect the circuit while connecting fuses and circuit breakers with other appliances.A parallel circuit is used in most household electrical wiring installations. We can switch on or off any light or appliance without affecting others.
Series connection of light bulbs is very useful if you have a lot of low voltage bulbs to be powered from a much higher voltage. Example: Chain of small lights used for decoration purposes. Airport runway lights are wired in series, with a constant 6.6A or 20A current source. This way hundreds of lights can be powered by a small gauge wire over a great distance. The total voltage may be 10kV. Each light has a small current transformer to supply the bulb or LED with the proper voltage or current. If a bulb burns out, the small transformer just saturates and completes the circuit.The distribution of power in a large city is accomplished by a maze of feeder lines all connected in parallel.

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