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Practical 5

Topic

: Electrical circuits

Purpose

: To determine the advantages and disadvantages of series and


parallel circuits.

Theoretical
knowledge

An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic

components, such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors and


diodes, connected by conductive wires or traces through which
electrical current can flow.
The combination of components and wires allows various
simple and complex operations to be performed: signals can be
amplified, computations can be performed, and data can be moved
from one place to another.
Circuits can be constructed of discrete components connected
by individual pieces of wire, but today it is much more common to
create

interconnections

by

photolithographic

techniques

on

laminated substrate (a printed circuit board or PCB) and solder the


components to these interconnections to create a finished circuit. In an
Integrated Circuit or IC, the components and interconnections are
formed on the same substrate, typically a semiconductor such as
silicon or (less commonly) gallium arsenide.
Breadboards, per boards or strip boards are common for testing
new designs. They allow the designer to make quick changes to the
circuit during development. An electronic circuit can usually be
categorized as an analog circuit, a digital circuit or a mixed-signal
circuit (a combination of analog circuits and digital circuits).

Components of an electrical circuit or electronic circuit can be


connected in many different ways. The two simplest of these are called
series and parallel and occur very frequently. Components connected
in series are connected along a single path, so the same current flows
through all of the components. Components connected in parallel are
connected so the same voltage is applied to each component.

A series circuit

Example of parallel circuit


A circuit composed solely of components connected in series is
known as a series circuit; likewise, one connected completely in
parallel is known as a parallel circuit.
In a series circuit, the current through each of the components is
the same, and the voltage across the components is the sum of the

voltages across each component. In a parallel circuit, the voltage


across each of the components is the same, and the total current is the
sum of the currents through each component.
As an example, consider a very simple circuit consisting of four
light bulbs and one 6 V battery. If a wire joins the battery to one bulb,
to the next bulb, to the next bulb, to the next bulb, then back to the
battery, in one continuous loop, the bulbs are said to be in series. If
each bulb is wired to the battery in a separate loop, the bulbs are said
to be in parallel. If the four light bulbs are connected in series, the
same current flows through all of them, and the voltage drop is 1.5 V
across each bulb and that may not be sufficient to make them glow. If
the light bulbs are connected in parallel, the current flowing through the
light bulbs combine to form the current flowing in the battery, while the
voltage drop is 6.0 V across each bulb and they all glow.
In a series circuit, every device must function for the circuit to be
complete. One bulb burning out in a series circuit breaks the circuit. In
parallel circuits, each light has its own circuit, so all but one light could
be burned out, and the last one will still function.

Materials

:
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.
vi.

Battery holders
Batteries
Several insulated wires
Ammeter
Voltmeter
Light bulbs

Activity 1: Building a simple series and parallel circuits.

Procedures :
1. Both of the circuits shown below was constructed by using a battery
holder, a battery, several insulated wires and two light bulbs for
each circuits.

A series circuit

A parallel circuit

2. All wires were connected and the light bulbs were observed.
3. Now, the ammeter and voltmeter were connected in both the above
circuits. A suitable table was constructing to record the readings.
4. Now, one bulb was unscrewed in each circuit. The remaining bulbs
was observed and also been recorded down the readings of both
the ammeter and voltmeter in each circuit.
5. Now, another bulb was connected in series to circuit A. the
remaining bulbs were observed and the readings of both the
ammeter and voltmeter were also recorded down.
6. Now, another bulb was connected in parallel to circuit B. the
remaining bulbs were observed and the readings of both the
ammeter and voltmeter were also recorded down.

Result

Parallel circuit

Ammeter (A)

Voltmeter (V)

2 bulbs

0.14

1 bulbs

0.14

3 bulbs

0.14

Series circuit

Ammeter (A)

Voltmeter (V)

2 bulbs

0.13

1.3

1 bulbs

0.14

0.8

3 bulbs

0.12

0.4

Questions

1. What happens to the bulbs in a series circuit if one of the bulbs burns out?
Explain.
If one of the bulbs was burn out, the other bulbs will be off or shot
down. This is because there is only one path of electrons in the
circuit. This meant that, the electric cannot flow through the path
because there was no conductor as a path.

2. What happens to the bulbs in a parallel circuit if one of the bulbs burns
out? Explain.
If one of the bulbs was burn out, the other bulbs is still on. This is
because the electricity has another alternative path to flow through
in a parallel circuit. So, the other bulbs are still on lighting.
3. You are building a string of lights using several bulbs. How is the
brightness of the lights related to whether you connect the bulbs in series
or in parallel?
In the series circuit, we see that the bulbs were dimmer. This is
because the electric or the current which going through the bulbs
are in smaller amount. It is cause of the resistance in the bulb. In
other words, the more the bulbs in a circuit, the higher the resistance
the circuit has. So, the brightness of the bulbs is dimmer than the
parallel circuit.
For the bulbs which connected in a parallel circuit, we have seen that
all of them receive full voltage result in brightness. This meant that,
all the bulbs have the same brightness.

4. What happens to the bulbs in a series circuit if another bulb is connected


in series to it? Explain.
The bulbs become dimmer or less in brightness than before. This is
because by adding another bulb, it will increase the resistance in the
circuit. So, the more the bulbs the dimmest light it will be.

5. What happens to the bulbs in a parallel circuit if another bulb is connected


in parallel to it? Explain.
The bulbs are still maintained the brightness or the light. This is
because they have got the same voltage which flow through them.

Activity 2: Building a combined series and parallel circuit.


Procedures :
1. The circuit shown below was constructed by using a battery holder,
a battery, a switch, several insulated wires and three light bulbs.

A combined circuit
2. The switch was connected and the light bulbs were observed.
3. Now, the ammeter and the voltmeter were connected to measure
the current and potential differences through each bulb. A suitable
table was constructed to record the readings.
4. Now, the bulb 1 was removed. The remaining bulbs were observed
and the readings of both the ammeter and voltmeter were recorded
down.
5. Now, the bulb 2 was removed. The remaining bulbs were observed
and the readings of both the ammeter and voltmeter were recorded
down.
Result

Parallel circuit

Ammeter (A)

Voltmeter (V)

Bulbs 2,3

0.24

2.9

Series circuit

Ammeter (A)

Voltmeter (V)

Bulbs 1,3

0.20

2.9

Questions :
1. What happens to the other bulbs in the circuit when bulb 1 is removed?
Explain.
The bulb 2 and 3 are off because bulb 1 is unconnected from the
circuit. As we can see, the bulb 1 was connected at the series circuit
in this experiment. So, when it is unconnected from the series
circuit, it will make the other bulb off because there was no
conductor for the current to flow through. Furthermore, there were
no alternative path for electron to flow through to reach at both bulb
2 and 3.

2. What happens to the other bulbs in the circuit when bulb 2 is removed?
Explain.
When bulb 2 is removed, bulb 1 and bulb 3 are still on. This is
because, the current can still flow at the other bulb or in other words,
there is another alternative path for current to reach those bulbs.

3. Would you want the circuits in your home to be series or parallel circuits or
a combination of both? Explain your reasoning?
For me, I prefer to the parallel circuit. This is because, it can prevent
my electrical product will not have problems because of it.
Furthermore, I can save my money too if I using the parallel circuit in
my house. This is because, the parallel circuit use smaller voltage
than the series circuit. This is true when we have checked the
voltage while doing the experiment.

Conclusion

: As the conclusion, the parallel circuit is better than the series circuit.
The parallel circuit is good for us to use in our home. This is because;
it can prevent the other electrical application from corrupt when one of
them is broken. Furthermore, the voltage or current that the parallel
circuit need is lesser than the series circuit. This meant that, it can
save our money if we use the parallel circuits at our home.

Discussion

1. From the result in activity 1, we can see that there were differences
between series circuit and parallel circuit.
2. In the parallel circuit, the reading on the ammeter and voltmeter are same.
It meant that, although the number of bulbs is difference, the brightness of
light is still same. Other than that, the value on the ammeter and voltmeter
also maintain which is 0.14 A and 1.0 V.

3. This is because in the parallel circuit, all of the bulbs are connected at
difference path. In other words, each bulb has their own path.
4. Before that, there is a resistance in each bulb. So, the current that flow in
the circuit dose not flow through each bulb.
5. This was the main factor why the parallel circuit has the same reading on
the ammeter and voltmeter although the number of bulb increase or
different.
6. The parallel circuit is different than the series circuit. We can see the
difference in the result for the series circuit
7. The series circuit has different reading on ammeter and voltmeter. As we
can see the value on the ammeter decrease as the number of bulb is
increase.
8. This is because; all of the bulbs were sharing the same path. So, the
current that flow through them has been decreased as it flows through the
resistance in each bulb.
9. This can make the last bulb to be dimmest than the other because the
value of the ammeter has been decrease.
10. In the second activity, we can see that the values of ammeter are different
while the values of the voltmeter are same.
11. This is because; in the combined circuit, the voltage for all bulbs is same
but the current is different because of the resistance in each bulb that it
has flow.
12. For more information about parallel circuit and series circuit, I have list
them below:
a) Parallel circuit
1. A parallel circuit has more than one resistor (anything that uses
electricity to do work) and gets its name from having multiple (parallel)
paths to move along. Charges can move through any of several paths.
2. If one of the items in the circuit is broken then no charge will move
through that path, but other paths will continue to have charges flow
through them. Parallel circuits are found in most household electrical
wiring.
3. This is done so that lights don't stop working just because you turned
your TV off.
4. It gets its name from having multiple (parallel) paths to move along

5. The voltage that used in this circuit is same or equal for every
component.
6. The formulae for this circuit is: 1/RT = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3

b) Series circuit
1. A series circuit is a circuit where there is only one path from the source
through all of the loads and back to the source. This means that all of
the current in the circuit must flow through all of the loads.
2. The formulae for the series circuit is RT = R1 + R2 + R3
3. This circuit has a higher number of resistor
4. If we unconnected one of the bulb in the series circuit, the other bulb
will not work as usually. This is because there was no conductor that
the current or the electric can flow through.

Mastery of Knowledge and Skills Questions:


1. At the end of the practical, answer the following questions:
a) What have you learnt from the practical?
In this practical, I have learnt about the parallel circuit and the series
circuit. From this, I know that series circuit only have one path while
the parallel circuit has another alternative path. This meant that other
component in the series circuit will not work if one of them is broken.
But, the other component in the parallel circuit will still work as usual
although there are some component did not work. Besides that, the
values for both circuit is differences in voltage, current and resistor.
b) Which part of the primary science curriculum teaches the particular topic?
Level I (Year 1 to Year 3); Learning About the World Around Us;
Electricity.
c) Discuss how you can use the above practical in your teaching and
learning?

I will use the above practical in my class so that there will be handson activities in my class. This is because the students will be easily
to remember and understand by doing the activities by themselves. I
also will ask them to do this type of practical so that they will be
more understood on this topic. So, as a teacher I must use any style
or tactic in my teaching process so that the students will understand
about this topic and also can applied those concept that they have
learnt in the topic in their daily life.
d) What was the role of the teacher in the above practical?
In this practical, they were student centered which means that the
teacher just act like a facilitator to help them whenever they have any
problems. The teacher also can guide them while doing the
experiment so that there will be no problems and also can get the
accurate result or answer.

Resources

Paul W. Zitzewitz; PhD. Physics Principles and Problems. Glencoe McGraw- Hill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_circuit.10.29 pm. 11 April 2010
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_and_parallel_circuits.10.29 pm. 11 April 2010
http://cipco.apogee.net/foe/fcsps.asp.10.29 pm. 11 April 2010
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/chpt_5/3.html.10.29 pm. 11 April 2010
http://regentsprep.org/regents/physics/phys03/bparcir/default.htm.10.29 pm. 11 April
2010