In any electronic or electrical system there are two ways to make connections which predict how current will flow in a circuit. They are series and parallel connections.
This is the connection where there is only one possible path through which current can flow in a circuit. It is also the end-to-end connection of components (loads) within a circuit.
When loads are connected in series, the loads will have the same amount of current flowing through them not considering what the loads (components) are used in the circuit or what their values are but will have different voltage across the loads.
Series connections have a common switch. One of the disadvantages of series connection is that if one load or component fails, then all the components in the circuit fail too. However, this can also be an advantage of series connection if it was made to protect a device. For Example a fuse is usually connected in series to the components of the device to be protected. When a fuse gets burnt for instance as a result of high current, then the device it protects will not be damaged because current will no longer get to it.
A parallel connection is the connection in which there are several paths through which current flows in a circuit. In a parallel connection, the loads will have the same voltage but different current flowing in it. Most parallel connections usually have different switches for each load.
Note: If a circuit has only one switch for its loads, it doesn’t automatically make it a series connection. Some parallel connections can also be controlled by one switch.
Unlike series connection, the failure of one load in a circuit does not lead to the failure of other loads in a parallel connection. In electrical wiring, parallel connection requires more wires when compared to series connection.
Applications Of Series And Parallel Connection
The use and application of series and parallel circuit connection cannot be over emphasized in both electrical and especially electronic connections. The application of series and parallel connection can be clearly seen in our homes, school halls, in our street lights, electronic devices like TV, radio and so on.
Parallel connection makes it possible for us to connect loads to their individual switch with the push of a button, street lights is an example of parallel connection. Some cell phone won’t power on without the battery even if the charger is being connected to it, this is an example of series connection. However, if it does power on without the battery when its charger is connected to it, then it’s a parallel connection. In batteries, series connection is used in order to increase the total voltage supplied to a circuit and parallel connection is used when there is a need for an increase current.
The application of series and parallel connections are used in numerous electronic and electrical devices.