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Advantages and Disadvantages of a Parallel Circuit

Before discussing about advantages and disadvantages of a parallel circuit, let us first know a little about different types of circuits. There are basically three kinds of circuit connections possible.
1. Series
2. Parallel
3. Complex

In a series circuit, a common pathway exists for all the items that are connected in series. This will mean that the amount of current passing through each item is the same with changing voltage. So as one item in series is working, the other one would have less voltage to work with. This means if we have two light bulbs in series connection, and both are turned on, then the glow of both of the light bulbs will be less than one of the light bulb of same power.

A parallel circuit is one in which each item in connection has its own pathway of the current. There exists more than one pathway in which the current or the electrons can flow. The voltage is not reduced and thus remains the same as the highest single cell, in case of parallel connection of the cells. Also, the cells have a longer life. This means if we have connected two light bulbs in parallel, then both of them will glow as bright as one bulb. We will see some advantages and disadvantages of a parallel circuit after telling in brief about complex circuits.

A complex circuit is a combination of both series and parallel circuits to increase the use of power. These kind of circuits are used in computers, televisions etc.

Some of the major advantages and disadvantages of a parallel circuit are listed below:

1. Advantages:
  • It is used in houses, so if one light goes out other does not get affected by it.
  • If something happened to the circuit, then also the current is able to pass through the circuit.
  • Every unit that is connected in a parallel circuit gets equal amount of voltage.
  • Parallel circuits are used in cases of multiple loads.
  • It becomes easy to connect or disconnect a new element without affecting the working of other elements. For example: the elements that are connected via wall outlets can be switched on or off without hampering the working of the other one running/ or at rest, at the same time.
2. Disadvantages:
  • It requires the use of lot of wires.
  • The source amperage is increased whenever we add a new load to a parallel circuit.
  • Due to proper working sometimes the damage if any, caused to the circuit, may get neglected. This is hazardous.
  • We cannot increase or multiply the voltage in a parallel circuit.
  • Multiple control devices are to be employed for the control of the devices in parallel connection.
  • Parallel connection fails at the time when it is required to pass exactly same amount of current through the units.
  • The design of a parallel circuit is very complex.
  • Additional power sources like batteries cannot be added in parallel connection.
So these were some of the advantages and disadvantages of a parallel circuit.