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Parallel vs Series

  1. Sep 28, 2009 #1
    This isn't for any one specific homework problem, just a general lack of understanding of series and parallel circuits in certain cases. Given most normal circuits with a battery and some varying combination of capacitors and resistors I can tell which branches are in series and parallel and solve quite accurately; however, when you take away the battery and are left with a capacitor charging other capacitors I have no idea whether that would be in series or a parallel. Think just two capacitors connected by two wires. I hope I'm describing this ok, I don't have a picture which would probably help- let me know if you need clarification.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2009 #2

    Delphi51

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    Two capacitors connected with TWO wires must be connected in parallel. Interesting things could happen for a very short time if one of them was charged and the other not charged when they are connected. But soon transient currents would cease and you would just have effectively one capacitor with the sum of the two capacitances.

    Nothing happens when their are no sources in the circuit.
     
  4. Sep 28, 2009 #3
    The capacitors are in series as well. The same current goes through both.
     
  5. Sep 28, 2009 #4
    "
    Two capacitors connected with TWO wires must be connected in parallel. Interesting things could happen for a very short time if one of them was charged and the other not charged when they are connected. But soon transient currents would cease and you would just have effectively one capacitor with the sum of the two capacitances."​
    A situation where one was charged and the other wasn't or they were both charged to different voltages was what I was referring to. Basically I'm trying to see if the charges on all the plates should be equal or the voltages and whether I should find the total capacitance by looking at it in series or parallel.

    And now it seems I have two conflicting answers?
     
  6. Sep 29, 2009 #5
    I wouldn't worry about the total capacitance of the 2 capacitors unless you hook them up to something else.
     
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