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Capacitors in series and parallel

  1. Apr 8, 2013 #1
    I really have troubles determining whether a circuit is in series or parallel. Specially when it comes to capacitors, sometimes they draw it horizontally and sometimes vertically and both can occur in one circuit. How for example magically we combine two capacitors drawn like this -l l- and they combine to give horizontal capacitors. Thanks for help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2013 #2


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    The symbol for a single capacitor is -| |- Sometimes, one of the vertical lines is replaced with a circular arc.

    There is no such thing as 'horizontal' and 'vertical capacitors.'
  4. Apr 8, 2013 #3
  5. Apr 9, 2013 #4

    Doc Al

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    As SteamKing stated, there's no such thing as "horizontal" or "vertical" capacitors. That just depends how they are drawn. The lines are always perpendicular to the wires attached to them.

    Capacitors in series can be combined and replaced by their equivalent capacitance; same for capacitors in parallel.

    If you are having trouble recognizing such combinations, please give a specific example with each capacitor labeled. If you can recognize combinations of resistors, then you can apply similar logic to capacitors.
  6. Apr 9, 2013 #5


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    These two circuits are electrically identical...

    Attached Files:

  7. Apr 9, 2013 #6

    A schematic is not a blueprint. It does not describe the construction of the circuit. It shows the parts, and it shows the connections. For example, an IC (chip, integrated circuit) may be shown as a box with connections to it. There will be numbers by those connections. The IC has those in order, but the schematic may not. In other cases, the IC may contain multiple independent units like amplifiers or logic gates, and these will be used in very different sections of the schematic. You can build the circuit on a solderless breadboard, and make the connections, and it will work. You can also make it with a printed circuit board, and place parts where they fit, and it will work. (In both cases, placement may cause unexpected results in sensitive and high-frequency circuits.) The schematic is drawn to help you understand the operation of the circuit, but in the real world, placement of parts will usually be very different.
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