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Karla Ramirez

PHYS 2126
Lab #2: Intro to Circuits
For this lab, we used a Circuit Board, batteries, wires, light bulbs, and
resistors to build circuits and analyze how they work. We also used a Digital
Multimeter (DMM) to practice measuring voltage, current, and resistance.
The main objectives were to:

Become familiar with electric circuits by understanding how they work and
practice building them
Practice the correct handling of a Multimeter
Learn how to draw graphical representations of circuits
Understand the concepts of resistance, voltage, and current

Electric circuits are a collection of electrical components (such as resistors,

light bulbs, batteries, switches, etc.) connected by conductors (i.e. the wire we use
in this lab to make connections) in a closed path. Conductors contain free charges,
and the flow of these constitutes the electric current which powers the circuit. There
are two typed of electric current: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).
The first ones are those that periodically reverse their direction, while DC circuits
always travel in the same one (we only work with DC circuits during this lab).
The Circuit Board we use in these experiments consists of mainly tight
springs that allow us to connect wires between them easily to make connections
between the different components along the board; for example, there are springs
for each negative and positive side of the battery sockets to allow us to direct the
current from them in any way we want.
Multimeters come in different forms but the ones we use in these
experiments are Digital Multimeters. It is important to take precautions such as
starting with the highest range setting when measuring something we are unsure
about, to remove one of the leads from the circuit when changing measurement
range, and to not touch the uninsulated parts of the leads.
To draw circuit diagrams, it is of use to become familiar with symbols
commonly used to represent the elements in an electrical circuit. Some of them are:

The first part of the experiment was for us to set up a circuits with lights. The
first objective was to make a single light bulb turn on (Circuit 1). To get started, we
put the D-cell batteries in their slots, which gave power to the entire circuit. Then,
we made connections between the springs on the board with wires until the bulb
lighted up: we connected the batteries to each other by setting a wire between the
positive side of the bottom battery and the negative side of the top battery (the
ones in the middle). Following that, we connected a wire one from the negative side
of the bottom battery to the spring on the bottom of the light bulb and another from
the positive side of the top battery to the spring on the top part of the light bulb.
The light turned on, and we sketched the circuit diagram. We found by
experimenting with switching the wires that reversing them at the light and at the
cell produced no discernible change, as the light stayed on as long as the
connections were made, no matter the wire orientation.
For our second circuit, we were supposed to make the same light bulb turn on
again, but this time with a switch (Circuit 2). On the board, we made similar
connections as in the first one, but this time we connected the negative side of the
bottom battery to the bottom spring on the switch in the middle of the board, and
then the spring above the switch to the spring on the bottom of the light bulb. We
finalized with the same connection of the top spring on the light bulb to the positive
side of the top battery. This time, the light bulb stayed off until we clicked on the
switch, which proved our configuration as a correct one.
The third circuit had us connect two lights at the same time (Circuit 3). We
kept the same starting configuration as with the past circuit (keeping the switch),
but this time we connected the top spring on the switch to the top spring on the
second light bulb, the bottom springs on the light bulbs to each other, and the top
spring on the first bulb to the positive side of the top battery. Both lights turned on
when we clicked on the switch, but they shone at about half the intensity as the
single light on the first and second circuits. This was because the lights were
connected in series, and the power is divided between the two bulbs.
To achieve the same intensity on both light bulbs, we modified the circuit to
be on parallel: we made the same configuration as with Circuit 1, but this time
connected wires from both springs on either side of the first light bulb to the
respective springs on the second light bulb. This time, both lights shone with the
same intensity as each other and as the light with the first circuit (Circuit 4).
The second part of the lab had as an objective for us to use a Digital
Multimeter in a correct manner. The first task was to measure the voltage of a

circuit including a light bulb and a resistance. We placed a resistor on the circuit,
and then took the multimeter (with the black and red leads connected to the COM
and respectively), set the range to measure 2 volts, touched the red probe to the
positive side of the battery and the black probe to the negative side. The
multimeter read 1 V. We then moved the probes to either side of the resistor, and
the multimeter read 1 V as well. After finishing this task, we turned off the
The next task needed us to measure the current on a circuit. For this, we
changed the configuration to connect a wire from the negative spring connection to
a previously unused spring. On the multimeter, we changed the red lead to the mA
socket, set the range to 200 mA, and then inserted the black lead into the spring
connection where the negative terminal of a D-cell was connected and the red lead
to into the positive-sided spring next to the connected light bulb. The multimeter
read 200 mA, and the light was really dim. We found that if we removed the resistor,
the light brightened up some. Next, we switched the leads from their previous
position, and the multimeter read -21.5 mA (it changed to a negative value). After
finishing this task, we turned the multimeter back off.
The final assignment was to measure the resistance in the circuit. To do this,
we changed the red lead on the multimeter to the V socket and moved the
selector to measure resistance (with the symbol ). By moving the selector
between the resistance range, we found that there were several values shown, but
we picked the one that said 0.655 on the 2k range. Comparing this value to the
theoretical value of resistance (calculated to be 1 by the band legend on the
resistor, which in our case was brown, black, brown, and brown) theres a difference
of 0.345. According to the band legend, the tolerance of the resistor is 1 as well, so
it is working within tolerance levels.
This lab was important to set knowledge bases about electric circuits,
specially about drawing the schematic diagrams and the correct usage of a
multimeter. Personally, I had little experience with any of these and I found it
beneficial to have a bit of hands-on experience before viewing the topic in the