# Parallel and Series-Parallel Circuit Characteristics

```ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT
CHARACTERISTICS
OBJECTIVES
This experiment will have the student investigate the characteristics of parallel circuits. After that
the student will investigate the voltage and current relationships in a combination series-parallel
circuit.
MATERIALS/EQUIPMENT NEEDED
Resistors: (7)1.2kΩ, (1) 2.2kΩ, (1) 3.3kΩ, (1) 5.6kΩ
Agilent U8031A DC Power Supply
Agilent 34461A Digital Multimeter
INTRODUCTION
Parallel Circuits: A parallel circuit is one that has two or more paths for the electricity to flow.
In other words, the loads are parallel to each other. If the loads in this circuit were light bulbs and
one blew out there would still be current flowing to the others as they are still in a direct path
from the negative to positive terminals of the power supply (e.g. battery). Parallel circuits have
the following rules:
1. The voltage is the same across each branch of a parallel circuit.
2. The sum of the individual branch currents equals the total current in the circuit.
3. The reciprocal of the total resistance equals the sum of the reciprocals of the individual
branch resistances.
Series-Parallel Combination Circuits: A combination circuit is one that has a “combination” of
series and parallel paths for the electricity to flow. Its properties are a synthesis of both the series
and parallel circuits.
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
PRELAB
1. Using one of the relationships for resistors connected in parallel, solve for the total resistance
in Figure 5-1. Show Calculations.
Figure 5-1 Parallel resistive circuit for part 1 of the prelab
2. Refer to the circuit in Figure 5-2. Answer the following;
a. In branch C, how are R 5 , R 6 and R 7 related to each other? How are their currents related?
How is their voltage drops related to the voltage across branch A and branch B?
b. In branch B, how are R 3 and R 4 related to each other? How are their voltage drops
related to the voltage across branch B?
c. What is the relationship between the sum of the currents of branches A,B, and C to the
current through R 1 ? Why?
d. Make a statement that compares the amount of current through each branch (A,B, and C)
with the resistance on the branches (A, B, and C).
e. Branch B and branch C connected in series or parallel? How is the voltage across them
related?
f. Is the voltage across R 3 in branch B and R 5 in branch C the same? Why or why not?
Figure 5-2 Series-parallel circuit for part 2 of the prelab
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
PROCEDURE
Voltage Characteristics in a Parallel Circuit
1.
2.
3.
4.
Show your pre-lab work to the instructor at the beginning of the lab session.
Connect the circuit in Figure 5-3.
Adjust the power supply to a value of 12V (with the circuit connected).
Using the DMM, measure the voltage across each resistor and record in Table 5-1.
Figure 5-3 Parallel circuit to measure the voltage characteristics
Current Relationship in a Parallel Circuit
1. Connect the circuit in Figure 5-4.
2. Make sure that the source is properly set to 12V (with the circuit connected).
3. Using the DMM, measure and record in Table 5-2 the current through each resistor and the
total current.
Figure 5-4 Parallel circuit to measure the current relationships
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
Resistance Relationship in a Parallel Circuit
1. For the circuit in Figure 5-1. Note that there is no source voltage connected.
2. Using the DMM, measure the total resistance and record in Table 5-3.
3. Remove each resistor from the circuit and individually measure R 1 , R 2 and R 3 . Record in
Table 5-3.
Characteristics in a Series-Parallel Circuit
1. For the circuit in Figure 5-2. When wiring this circuit, allow for convenient means of
measuring each individual current and voltage drop.
2. Set the supply voltage so that the supply current reads exactly 6mA. Measure the source
voltage and record in Table 5-4.
3. Using the DMM, measure each resistor’s voltage drop and record in Table 5-4.
4. Using the DMM, measure the current through each resistor and record in Table 5-4.
5. Disconnect the circuit from the DC source terminals. Measure with the DMM the total
resistance. Record in Table 5-4.
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
DATA/OBSERVATIONS
Table 5-1: Voltage measurements for circuit in Figure 5-3
Resistor
Voltage (V)
R1
R2
R3
Table 5-2: Current measurements for circuit in Figure 5-4
Resistor
Current (A)
R1
R2
R3
I Total
Table 5-3: Resistance measurements for circuit in Figure 5-1
Resistor
Resistance (Ω)
R1
R2
R3
R Total
INSTRUCTOR'S INITIALS:
DATE:
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
Table 5-4: Measurements for circuit in Figure 5-2
Resistor
Voltage
Current
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R Total
INSTRUCTOR'S INITIALS:
Source Voltage
DATE:
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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ECGR 2155 Instrumentation and Networks Laboratory
POST-LAB
Voltage Characteristics in a Parallel Circuit
1. What conclusion can be made from this part of the experiment?
Current Relationship in a Parallel Circuit
2. Add the measured currents through R 1 , R 2 , and R 3 and compare with the measured total
current. What conclusion can be made?
Resistance Relationship in a Parallel Circuit
3. How the total resistance of the circuit is related to resistance measured for R 1 , R 2 , and R 3 ?
Characteristics in a Series-Parallel Circuit
4. What observations or conclusions can be made from the measurements made for the seriesparallel circuit?
Be sure to include all items from the post-lab exercise above in your written lab report.
EXPERIMENT 5 – PARALLEL AND SERIES-PARALLEL CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS
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