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Experiment 8: Series/Parallel Circuit Elements

Laboratory Report
Frances Aina Beatrice Javier, Faith Dominique Lee, Ian Carlos Lipardo, Joy Clarize
Department of Math and Physics
College of Science, University of Santo Tomas
Espana, Manila Philippines

In this experiment, the resistance of two
resistors in a parallel and series circuit
was found based on its color code and
using the ammeter and a voltmeter to
detect its current and voltage. The
series circuit yielded a total resistance
of 437 with a 1.63% error while the
parallel circuit yielded a total resistance
of 77.6 with a 0.9% error. The internal
resistance of a battery cell was also
found, having an internal resistance of
77.8 .
1. Introduction
Hey, girl. Can you feel that?
The connection between you and me.
Despite being poorly written, the pun
relationship of the circuits- connection.
Like relationships, which usually have
love, way of communication and fights,
components, which are a source of

conductive path, and an electrical

resistance. The source of electrical
potential difference, usually a battery, is
commonly a chemical storage device
capable of making a reaction in which
electrons are produced. A conductive
path allows the movement of these
charges, which typically made out of
wires. An electrical resistance is loosely
defined as any object that uses
electricity to work, which is almost every
electrical appliance out there. There are
two kinds of circuits: series circuit and
parallel circuit. A series circuit has more
than one resistor and has only one path
for the charges to move along. If one
bulb burned out, the whole string of
lights went off. Series circuits are known
to have the same current all throughout.
On the other hand, parallel circuits are
known to have the same voltage
throughout its course. By the time the
current reaches the resistors, it would
have already split into two different
currents since the path to the resistors
splits; however, it does not necessarily
mean the current split in half. Having
known the two circuits nature, this
experiment aims to determine the

resistance of a resistor based on its

color code and to verify the laws on
series and parallel resistors and its cells.
2. Theory

V = V1 = V2 = V3 = VN

A series circuit is done when two

or more resistors are connected in one
path. The total current (IT) flowing in this
connection is constant. This can be
described by the following equation:
IT = I1 = I2 = I3
The total (VT) voltage in the
circuit is equal to the sum of the
individual potential energies in the
circuit. This can be described by the
following equation:
VT = V1 + V2 + V3
When Ohms Law is applied the
equation then becomes:

V1 = I1R1

In a parallel circuit, the voltage

across each of the loads is equal as
seen in the equation:

V = IR
V2 = I2R2

V3 = I3R3

The sum of the resistance is the

total resistance (RT) of the circuit
described by the equation:
RT = R1 + R2 + R3
Electricity flows in two or more
paths in a parallel circuit. These paths
recombine to complete the circuit. Each
load in the path/s receive/s the full
circuit voltage.

The sum of all currents in each

resistor is equal the combined currents
added together:
IT = I1 + I2 + I3 + IN
Ohms Law gives the formulas for
the individual resistance in the circuit:
I1 =

I3 =



I2 =


IT =


The reciprocal of the total

resistance of a parallel circuit (R T) is
equal to the sum of the reciprocals of
each resistor in parallel:
= = =
R T R 1 R2 R 3


3. Methodology
Experiment 8: Series/Parallel Circuit
Elements required the use of the
following materials:


Activity 1 deemed the use of the

resistors, power source and the
voltmeter/ammeter. The values of two
resistors were determined and recorded
as R1 and R2. The resistors were
connected in series to the power source.
Using the voltmeter and ammeter, the
current and voltage drop were recorded
across each resistor. The total current
and total voltage were also measured
along the combination. The total
experimental and theoretical resistance
were computed. The % error was
determined as well.
Activity 2 is very similar to the first
activity, but this time the resistors were
connected in parallel.


Activity 3 required the use of a cell (9V

battery) and the voltmeter/ammeter. The
electromotive force of the cell was
determined by connecting the voltmeter
across terminals. A known resistance
(R) was connected in series with the
cell. The current (I) delivered to the
circuit is measured by an ammeter. The
internal resistance (r) of the cell was

current and total voltage across the

combination was also measured. The total
resistance was computed using the formula
RT = VT/IT, wherein RT = Total Resistance,
VT = Total Voltage, and IT = Total Current.
Theoretically, the total resistance was
computed by adding the values of R1 and
R2. The percent error was computed and

4. Results and Discussion


Voltage (V)

R2=33X10 5% 7.7
Theoretical RT= 408-452
Experimental RT= 437
% Error= 1.63%

the 1.63% error may have been from the

Current (I)
23 A
23 A

wrong handling or usage of the multi-tester.

Another reason for the percent error is the
fact that the measurement of the multi-tester
is more accurate compared to the table of
values for the color code.

Table 1. Summary of Data for Series Wiring

The first activity in experiment 8 involves the
two objectives of the experiment: (1) to
determine the resistance of a resistor based
on its color code; (2) to verify the laws on
series/parallel. In this activity, the value of
the two resistors that were used was

Voltage (V)
R1=10X10 5% 9.8
R2=33X1015% 9.8
Theoretical RT= 73.1-80.7
Experimental RT= 77.6
% Error= 0.9%

Current (I)
0.0447 A
0.0516 A

Table 2. Summary of Data for Parallel Wiring

computed using the color code

corresponding to each. The color code of
each was observed to be painted on each
resistor. Each color has a given value.
Using the table of values for each color, the
value of each resistor was recorded and
were labeled as R1 and R2. After recording,
the resistors were placed in a series to a DC
source. Using a multi-tester, the current and
voltage drop across each resistor was
measured. The multi-tester was adjusted
according to the needed unit. The total

The second activity for this experiment is

almost the same as the first activity in
relation to their procedures. However, the
two activities only differ in the connection
that has been used on each. While the
experimenters have used series connection
for the resistors in the first activity, the
experimenters have used parallel
connection for the resistors in the second
activity. The percent error that has been
computed in this activity may have been
because of the fact that the measurement of

the multi-tester, even though very near, is

more accurate compared to the values in
the table of values for the color-coding. The
formula that have used in this activity to
compute for the theoretical value of the
resistance is RT = 1/(1/R1)+(1/R2).

Electromotive Force of Cell (E)

Known Resistance (R)
Current (I)
Internal Resistance of Cell (c)

0.045 A

Table 3. Summary of Data for Battery Cell

The third activity of this experiment involves
the usage of a battery cell. This activity is in







experiment, which is to verify the laws on

series/parallel resistors and cells. Using a
multi-tester and turning it to its voltmeter
function, the electromotive force of the cell
was determined by connecting the multitester directly across the terminals of the
battery cell. A known resistance was then






delivered to the circuit was measured using

an ammeter. With all of the information that
has been recorded, the internal resistance
of the cell was then computed. The equation
used for this activity is r = (E - IR) / I.

5. Conclusion
In this experiment the resistance of a
resistor was determined based on its
color code. Resistance can be
determined in two ways: by standard
color code or by voltmeter-ammeter

method. Each resistor has three to four

bands present. The color of each band
represents a certain value. The first two
color band of the resistor is equivalent to
a value as a digit. The third color band
serves as the multiplier and the last
color band is the resistor's tolerance.
When these values are combined, the
resistance can be known. Voltmeterammeter method, on the other hand,
makes use of a special device called
multimeter that can measure voltages
and currents. Whether the circuitry is
wired in a series, parallel or seriesparallel fashion, voltages and currents
can be readily determined by the device.
The laws on series/parallel resistors and
cells were verified, in a series wiring,
currents are equal in every resistor and
voltages are not. In a parallel wiring,
voltages are equal in every resistor and
currents are not.
6. Application
1. The law for series and parallel
combination of resistances were verified
in the experiment, the results of the
group strongly agrees to the relationship
of the component of the said circuits
which imply to their own different laws.
For parallel resistors: the total
resistance of a Parallel Circuit is not
equal to the sum of the resistors, the
total resistance in a parallel circuit is
always less than any of the branch
resistances and adding more parallel
resistances to the paths causes the total
resistance in the circuit to decrease. And
as for the laws of series resistors, the
current flow is the same through each

element of the series circuit, the

combined resistance of the various
loads in series is the sum of the
separate resistances and last, the
voltage across the source or power
supply is equal to the sum of the voltage
drops across the separate loads in
2. Series= 20 ohms
Parallel= 1.25 ohms
3. The reason the resistance drops to
1000 ohms or less when the skin is wet
is because water allows free movement
of charges. The water spreads all over
our skin, increasing the surface
exposure to electricity. The circuit in a lie
detector is based on the fact that a
persons skin resistance changes when
he sweats (and sweating results from
lying). Dry skin has a resistance of
about one million ohms, whereas the
resistance of moist skin is reduced by a
factor of ten or more.
4. An electric circuit is in many ways
similar to your circulatory system, in
order for a circuit to work the whole
circuit has to be connected, just like the
circulatory system. The blood vessels,
arteries, veins and capillaries of human
circulatory system are like the wires in a
circuit. The blood vessels carry the flow
of blood through your body. The wires in
a circuit carry the electric current to
various parts of an electrical or
electronic system. The heart is the pump
that drives the blood circulation in the
body and it provides the force or

pressure for blood to circulate and In a

circuit the battery pumps the electrons
around the circuit so that the bulb is able
to work. The blood circulating through
the body supplies various organs, like
your muscles, brain and digestive
system. A battery or generator produces
voltage -- the force that drives current
through the circuit.
5. The household circuits are generally
wired in parallel, which allows you to
operate each light or power point
independently of the others. This also
means the current running through any
one section of the parallel circuit stays
small enough to prevent problems
because in parallel circuits the current is
split up and travels along each separate
path, if ever they were hooked in series
circuit then unplugging one would
remove the power to all of them.
6. Ventricular fibrillation is the most
common electrical mechanism in
cardiac arrest. Defibrillators have
various components, including a power
source, variable transformer, rectifier,
capacitor, switches and paddles. A
rectifier, in the capacitor charging circuit,
converts AC voltage into DC voltage.
DC energy is used rather than AC
because it is more effective, causes less
myocardial damage and is less
arrhythmogenic. A capacitor is the most
important part of the defibrillator. A
capacitor is formed by a pair of
conductors (metal plates) separated by
an insulator (a layer of air). A capacitor
stores electrical energy in the form of
electrical charge. In the capacitor, the

quantity of electrical charge stored for a

given charge potential is determined by
the surface area of the plates, the
thickness of the insulating layer and the
ability of the capacitor to store charge
(permittivity). During the discharge of a
exponentially and some of the energy
available is lost in circuit resistance,
inductor and paddles. The defibrillator
has an inductor in its output circuit. The
inductor gives optimum shape and
duration to the delivered current.

7. References
Armstrong, T., Starck, J., & LaPlante, R.


Chaudhari, M.
& Baker, P.(2005).
Physical principles of the defibrillator.
Elsevier Inc., 6, 12, pp 411412 DOI:
Soclof, S. (2015) How Circuits Work.
Retrieved April 30, 2015, from