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# Meghan Vitale

EET-101-Principles of DC Circuits

## EXPERIMENT #4 PARALLEL DC CIRCUITS AND CURRENT DIVIDERS

1. INTRODUCTION:
In this experiment, the objective is to study the characteristics and behavior of
a parallel DC circuit and to also verify the current divider rule.
2. THEORY AND METHOD OF INVESTIGATION:
This experiment requires knowledge of parallel DC circuits and the current
divider rule. A parallel circuit is one that has two or more paths for the current
to flow and the loads are parallel to each other. The parallel circuit has
different characteristics than a series circuit. In a parallel circuit, the total
resistance is always less than any of the branch resistances. Also in a parallel
circuit, the voltage is the same across each component of the circuit and no
voltage is lost. The current in a parallel circuit breaks up, with some flowing
along each parallel branch and re-combining when the branches meet again.
The current in each branch can be calculated using the current divider
rule/formula. The current divider rule is the rule that determines how much
current flows through each branch when the current is divided. The formula is
Ix=(IT*RT)/(Rx) which is the (total current multiplied by the total resistance)
divided by the resistance in the specified branch.
In the first part of the lab, the experimenter is asked to compute IT, I1, I2, I3,
and REQ for the circuit shown in Figure 1 on the Experiment Sheets. Then,
the experimenter will check the resistance of each resistor and connect the
three resistors in parallel to measure REQ. Next, using the VOM, the
experiment will record current readings and calculate the resistances using the
measured data. In the last part of the lab, the experimenter will design a twobrand parallel circuit that limits the current to 12.5 mA and divides the current
such that about 20% of the current flows through one resistor and 80% flows
through the other. Once the circuit is constructed, the experimenter will check
its performance by taking voltage and current readings.
3. EQUIPMENT USED:
A DC Power Supply
o ELENCO PRECISION-TRIPLE REGULATED POWER
SUPPLY MODEL XP-660
A VOM
o Keithley 169 Multimeter
A Resistor Set
o 1.2 k ohms
o 2.2 k ohms
o 3.3 k ohms
2 Resistors to be determined by circuit design (Procedure #4)

A Breadboard
o R.S.R. Board Model MB-104
4. PRESENTATION OF DATA:
Procedure 1
Nominal
(ohms)
R1
1200
R2
2200
R3
3300
REQ
629

E (Volts)
10
10
10
10

I (mA)
8.33
4.55
3.03
15.9

Procedure 2
Measured (ohms)
1196
2180
3260
625

R1
R2
R3
REQ

E (Volts)
10
10
10
10

IT
I1
I2
I3

E (Volts)
10
10
10

IT
I1
I2

Calculated
(mA)
12.5
10.0
2.50

Procedure 3
Measured
(mA)
18.0
8.35
4.58
3.07
Procedure 4
Measured
(mA)
12.34
10.0
2.34

REQ
R1
R2
R3

REQ
R1
R2

Calculated
(Ohms)
556
1198
2183
3257

Calculate
d (ohms)
800
1000
4000

5. SAMPLE CALCULATIONS:
Product/Sum : (2200*3300)/(2200+3300)=1320 ohms
I=V/R=(10V)/(629ohms)=0.0159A
0.0159A * 1000 = 15.9 mA
R=V/I=(10V)/(0.018A)=556 ohms
Ix=(IT*RT)/(Rx)=(12.5mA*800ohms)/(1000ohms)=10.0mA

Measured
(ohms)
808
994
4260

6. ANALYSIS OF DATA:
The data that was determined was pretty accurate verified the current divider
rule. The only discrepancy was in procedure 3. The total current that was
measured is not equal to the sum of the three current readings in each branch.
The total current that was measured was 18mA but (8.35+4.58+3.07) = 16mA.
16mA does not equal 18 mA (IT). Nonetheless, the current divider rule was
verified in all other procedures for this experiment.
7. ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:
1. In a parallel circuit, voltage is the same across each resistor and anywhere
in the circuit. In a parallel circuit, there is no voltage drop unlike in a
series circuit where there is a voltage drop.
2. Kirchoffs current law states that the total current leaving a circuit is equal
to that entering the circuit and no current is lost. The current readings at
nodes a and b verify Kirchoffs current law but the total current that was
measured is not equal to the sum of the three current readings for each
resistor. (8.35+4.58+3.07) = 16mA. 16mA does not equal 18 mA (IT).
3. The measured resistances are similar to the calculated resistance values
but are not equal. Although they are not equal, all measured resistances are
within tolerance.
4. The current divider rule is the rule that determines how much current
flows through each branch when the current is divided. The formula is
Ix=(IT*RT)/(Rx) which is the (total current multiplied by the total
resistance) divided by the resistance in the specified branch. In procedure
4, the 12mA current was divided into 10.0mA and 2.50mA.
I1=(12.5mA)(800 ohms)/(1000 ohms) = 10.0mA
I2=(12.5mA)(800 ohms)/(4000 ohms) = 2.50mA
Thus the current was divided into two parts, which are equal to the total
current because no current is lost.
8. ROUGH DATA:
See attached paper labeled Rough Data.
9. EXPERIMENT SHEETS:
See attached papers titled Experiment Sheets.