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Resistors in series Vs Resistors in Parallel | Difference between Resistors in series and Resistors in Parallel

This page compares Resistors in series Vs Resistors in Parallel and mentions difference between Resistors in series and Resistors in Parallel.

Resistors in Series

resistors in series

As shown in the figure, if two resistors are connected in series, following can be derived. The same can be applied for multiple number of resistors.
•  Current flow(I) is same from all the resistors while voltage depends on multiplication of individual resistance with current I.
•  Total voltage is sum of voltage across individual resistors i.e. (V=V1+V2) equals (I*R=I*R1+I*R2)
•  Total resistance or equivalent is sum of resistance values of these resistors.
•  Hence for resistors in series, Total Resistance equals (R=R1+R2) for the two resistors shown.
•  SI Unit of resistance is Ohm.

Resistors in Parallel

resistors in parallel

As shown in the figure, if two resistors are connected in parallel, following can be derived.
•  Votage across both resistors will be same.
•  Total current is summation of currents through them. (I=I1+I2) equals (V/R) = (V/R1) + (V/R2)
•  For two resistors in parallel, total resistance equals (1/R) = (1/R1) + (1/R2)
➨(R) = R1*R2/(R1+R2)
•  For multiple resistors in parallel, 1/R = (1/R1) + (1/R2) + (1/R3) + ....... + (1/Rn), Where n is total number of resistors.

Depending upon applications resistors in series and resistors in parallel configurations are used in the electronic circuit design.

Following table summarizes both resistors in series and resistors in parallel.


Circuit Type Resistors in series Resistors in parallel
Schematic Diagram resistors in series resistors in parallel
Current I = I1 = I2 = I3 ... = Same for each resistor I = I1 + I2 + I3 ... = Sum of currents
Potential Difference ΔV = ΔV1 + ΔV2 + ΔV3 ...
= sum of potential differences
ΔV = ΔV1 = ΔV2 = ΔV3 ...
= same for each resistor
Equivalent Resistance Req = R1 + R2 + R3 ...
= Sum of individual resistances
(1/Req) = (1/R1) + (1/R2) + (1/R3) + ...
= reciprocal sum of resistances

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