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Resistors in Parallel Page 1

This guide builds on our Resistors in Series guide. If you have not read that guide already, we suggest that you take a moment and look at it first. You can view our Resistors in Series guide here.

Resistors in Parallel

When you have two resistors in a circuit and they are tied together so that they receive the same voltage, they are said to be in parallel.

When you have resistors in parallel, they allow more current to pass through the circuit than if you have just one resistor. Think about cars on the freeway. If you have a narrow section of freeway, that is similar to resistance and less cars will be able to make it through that section. This is the same as a single resistor in a circuit.

Circuit with Single Path
Traffic with Single Path


However, if you have more than one narrow section in parallel with each other the cars have a choice of which route they can take. Overall more cars are able to make it though the narrow sections. This is the same thing as resistors in parallel.

Circuit with Multiple Paths
Traffic with Multiple Paths


Here you can see that more traffic is able to make it through when you have parallel roads. Like wise, more current can flow through the circuit when you have multiple resistors in parallel.

In the above schematic I1 represents the current through R1, while I2 represents the current through R2. This is to show that the current has more than one path to take.

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Jason Bauer

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Jason Bauer is an owner and programmer for He's allergic to twitter and facebook, but you can find more of his articles in the Guides section.
Friday, 25-May-2018 17:30:53 PDT