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EXPERIMENT 3: A Parallel Circuit

THINGS YOU NEED: Three homemade switches (from Experiment 1). Three 6-volt lantern flashlight bulbs. Three small sockets. 6-volt lantern battery. Some insulated wire.

A parallel circuit is one in which the current has more than one path to follow. Because of this, the current in each path can be controlled individually.

To demonstrate a simple parallel circuit, you’ll need three switches: one to control each of three current paths. The diagram shows you how to interconnect the switches, the battery, and the three light bulb sockets.

It is important that you do not use the l½-volt flashlight bulbs from the last experiment. There, the four bulbs were wired in series and their l½-volt ratings added together to match the 6-volt output of the battery. In this experiment, though, each bulb is exposed to the full 6-volts; the l½-volt bulbs would quickly burn out. So be sure to use the 6-volt bulbs called for in the “Things Needed” list.