Edit: I found out how to solve this but I'd still appreciate some tips (see bottom).(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

2. Relevant equations

Capacitors in series:

Q = Q1 = Q2 = ...

V = v1 + v2 + ...

1/Ceq = 1/C1 + 1/C2 + ...

Capacitors in parallel:

Q = Q1 + Q2 + ...

V = V1 = V2 = ...

Ceq = C1 + C2 + ...

3. The attempt at a solution

I tried combining the capacitors C1 and C2 on the left and right sides together in parallel, but apparently that is not correct. I have trouble understanding when to combine in series and when to combine in parallel. It says to combine in parallel if the capacitors appear to be connected like the rungs of a ladder. In this problem, they appear to be connected like the rungs of a ladder, yet they are in series.

Is there some "trick" to understanding when to combine in parallel and when to combine in series? Thanks for your help.

Edit: Upon searching more in this forum, I found a post where someone said capacitors are only in parallel if there is nothing between the capacitors except wire. So in this case, C3 is between C1 and C2, thus C1 and C2 cannot be parallel. Is this correct? If so, I would solve by combining C1 and C2 in series on each side, then combining those with C3 in parallel. Also on the bottom, combine C2 and C2 in parallel, then combine that result with the previous result in series. I did that, and got the right answer. However, if there's any kind of tricks you use to understand how to combine capacitors, I would appreciate it if you'd still share them.

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# Homework Help: Help distinguishing between series and parallel capacitors

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