Electrical Circuits

  • An electrical circuit is a closed-loop path through which current can flow

  • An electrical circuit can be made up of most any materials but practically speaking, circuits are typically comprised of electrical devices

    • Wires

    • Batteries

    • Resistors

    • Switches

  • Conventional current flows from high potential to low potential


  • Voltmeters measure the potential difference between two points in a circuit

  • Voltmeters are connected in parallel with the element to be measured

  • If a voltmeter is connected correctly, you can remove it from the circuit without breaking the circuit

  • Voltmeters have very high resistance



  • Ammeters measure the current flowing through an element of a circuit

  • Ammeters are connected in series with the circuit, so that the current to be measured flows through the ammeter

  • The circuit must be broken to correctly insert an ammeter

  • Ammeters have very low resistance to minimize the potential drop through the ammeter


Series Circuits

  • Series circuits have only a single current path

  • Removal of any circuit element causes an open circuit


Kirchhoff's Laws

  • Kirchhoff's Laws are tools utilized in analyzing circuits

  • Kirchhoff's Current Law (KCL) states that the sum of all current entering any point in a circuit equals the sum of all current leaving any point in a circuit

    • Restatement of conservation of charge

    • aka "Junction Rule"

  • Kirchhoff's Voltage Law (KVL) states that the sum of all the potential drops in any closed loop of a circuit has to equal zero

    • Restatement of conservation of energy

    • aka "Loop Rule"

    First Law e Voltage source Second Law

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