Current in parallel circuits

  • Thread starter map7s
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  • #1
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This is just a general question... when trying to solve for the current in each resistor in a parallel circuit, how do you go about setting it up? (I know that the equation V=IR comes in handy...)
 

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  • #2
ranger
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You could use the current divider rule. That would require you to find the total current in the circuit. Whats wrong with using V=IR?
 
  • #3
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What is the current divider rule?
 
  • #4
ranger
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Its used to find current when resistances are hooked up in parallel with each other. Here is a wiki picture that should clear things up for you:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/47/Cdr.GIF [Broken]
 
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  • #5
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That really helped! But if the circuit has three branches in parallel, does the formula change to I1=Itotal x ((R2+R3)/(R1+R2+R3)) ?
 
  • #6
ranger
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It changes a little when we have more than two resistances. Lets consider a circuit with three parallel branches. We know that the voltage drop across any resistor in a parallel circuit is equal to that of the source:

[tex] I_x = \frac{V_s}{R_x}[/tex]

[tex]V_s = I_TR_T[/tex] <--the source voltage is equal to the total current times the total resistance.

Now substituting [itex]I_TR_T[/itex] for Vs in the first equation (Ix).

[tex]I_x = \frac{I_TR_T}{R_x}[/tex]

We can therefore conclude that the current through any parallel resistor is in fact:
[tex]I_x = \frac{R_T}{R_x}\cdot I_T[/tex]

Hope it helps/
 

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