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Date:
Instructor:

Prelab: Circuit Analysis


In this experiment, you will be measuring the following quantities.
Circuit A
Resistor 1
Resistor 2
Resistor 3
Eective

V
X
X
X
X

I
X
X
X
X

Circuit B
Resistor 1
Resistor 3
Power Supply 1
Power Supply 2

V
X
X
X
X

I
X
X

For each measurement, draw the corresponding breadboard diagram that will be
implemented. Remember to include in your diagram where the positive and
negative terminals of the multimeter and power supply will be inserted. There
should be a total of 14 diagrams. As this prelab will be done per group, you may divide
the 14 diagrams among your groupmates.
Before beginning the experiment, have your instructor check all your diagrams. To
prevent damage to equipment, do NOT attempt to do the experiment unless given clearance by your instructor.

Prelab: Circuit Analysis

EXPERIMENT
Circuit Analysis

Objectives
By the end of this activity, you should be able to
demonstrate correct and proper implementation of a circuit diagram
calculate the eective resistance of resistors connected in series and in parallel
determine the current passing through the circuit element and the corresponding
potential drop using Kirchhos rules
measure the current passing through and voltage across dierent circuit elements
in a circuit

Introduction
The term circuit refers to the conducting path where current can flow and the components
that make up this path. A steady current is only possible for closed loops or complete
circuits with at least one source of electromotive force (emf) that supplies electrical energy
to the circuit.
A resistor is a circuit element designed to have a specific (may be fixed or variable)
value of resistance between its terminals. It is mainly used to limit the current or to
control the voltage across other components. Typical circuits would have several resistors
connected in complex networks.
As you investigate the current passing through and the potential dierence across
individual or groups of resistors in various circuits, you will learn in this activity how
connecting resistors in dierent configurations allows one to obtain a desired value of
resistance.

Resistors in series and parallel


For most network of resistors, one can find a single resistor that could replace the network,
with the same total current and voltage. The resistance of this single resistor is called
the eective resistance. The current passing through and the voltage across this resistor
are related by the usual relationship V = IRe .
The simplest combinations of resistors are series, parallel and combined series-parallel
connections. Resistors connected one after the other, with a single possible current path,
Circuit Analysis

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Physics 72.1

Figure 1: (a) Series circuit of three resistors, (b) Parallel circuit of three resistors
are in series while resistors having both ends connected together, providing more than
one possible current path, are in parallel. For n resistors connected in series, the eective
resistance Rseries,e of the circuit is
Rseries,e = R1 + R2 + R3 + . . . + Rn

(1)

For n resistors connected in parallel, the eective resistance Rparallel,e of the circuit is
1
Rseries,e

1
1
1
1
+
+
+ ...
R1 R2 R3
Rn

(2)

Kirchhos rules
Some resistor networks, however, cannot be reduced to simple series-parallel combinations. Analysis of such circuits are best handled by using techniques developed by Gustav
Robert Kirchho: the loop rule and the junction rule, collectively known as Kirchho s
rules. These rules are actually statements of the principles of conservation of energy and
of electric charge, respectively.
A loop is any closed conducting path in a network. The loop rule (or the voltage
rule) states that the algebraic sum of the potential dierences across each circuit element
around a closed loop is zero,
X
Vi = 0
(3)
i

where Vi is the potential dierence across circuit element i. The following sign conventions
are used when applying this rule:
When going around a loop and passing through an emf source, the potential
dierence is taken to be positive when the emf is traversed towards the positive
terminal; it is negative when traversed towards the negative terminal.

When passing through a resistor, the potential dierence is taken to be negative


if it is traversed in the same direction as the assigned direction of current; it is
positive if traversed in the opposite direction.
A junction is a point in a circuit where three or more conductors meet. The junction
rule (or the current rule) states that the algebraic sum of the currents into a junction is
zero,
X
X
Ientering =
Ileaving .
(4)

The loop rule is generally used to set-up a system of linear equations while the junction
rule is used to minimize the number of unknown physical quantities and therefore the
number of necessary equations to solve for all the unknowns.
Circuit Analysis

Physics 72.1

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Materials
Power supply
Breadboard
Brown-Black-Red resistor (R1 )
Brown-Red-Red resistor (R2 )
Brown-Green-Red resistor (R3 )
Multimeter
Connectors

Procedure
Warning:
When using the ammeter (A) mode, make sure the multimeter is in series with the
circuit element of interest.
Do not turn to voltmeter (V) or ohmmeter () mode when the multimeter is in
series with any circuit element.

Part 1: Resistors in series and in parallel


1. Pick three resistors whose color bands are indicated above. Determine the resistance
Ri of each resistor based on the color bands and write this value in Table W1.
2. Measure the resistance of each resistor using an ohmmeter and record the value in
Table W1. Are the measured values within the range of the color codes?
3. Using the resistance values indicated by the color bands for each resistor, calculate
the theoretical eective resistance, Re for Circuit A and record in Table W2.
4. Connect R1 , R2 and R3 in series-parallel as in Circuit A (Figure 2a) without the
power supply. Measure the eective resistance, Re , across P and Q using an
ohmmeter and record the value in Table W2. Compare this with the theoretical
value by obtaining the percent deviation.
5. Connect the 5-V power supply into the resistor network to make a complete circuit.
Measure the voltage across and current passing through each resistor, and record
the values in Table W3. Using the measured voltage and current values, calculate
the resistance of each resistor using Ohms Law.
6. Measure the total voltage, Vtotal , and total current, Itotal , and record them in Table
W4. From these values calculate the eective resistance, Re , and compare with
the theoretical value in Table W2. Calculate the percentage deviation.

Circuit Analysis

Physics 72.1

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Figure 2: (a) Combined series and parallel circuit of three resistors. (b) Two-loop circuit
with two resistors and two power supplies.

Part 2: Kirchhos rules


1. Replace R2 in Circuit A (Figure 2a) with a 4.5-V power supply to create the twoloop network Circuit B (Figure 2b).
2. Measure and record the output voltages of the 5-V and 4.5-V power supplies as V1
and V2 respectively in Table W5.
3. Using the indicated current directions, measure the currents IR1 and IR3 using an
ammeter. Make sure that you connect the ammeter such that the current enters the
meter through its positive terminal. Measure the voltages VR1 and VR3 across each
resistor using a voltmeter. In connecting the voltmeter, the positive probe should
be connected to the resistor terminal with a higher potential, i.e. the side where
the current enters. Record the values in Table W5, taking note of the appropriate
signs.
4. Calculate for the currents IR1 and IR3 passing through resistors R1 and R3 , respectively, by applying Kirchhos rules using the specified theoretical voltage values in
Circuit B and the resistance from the color bands. Tabulate all computed values in
Table W5 and present your solutions clearly on the space provided. Indicate also
the correct direction of the currents through each resistor and the loops used in
your calculations by sketching the circuit diagram in the space provided. Solve for
the theoretical voltages VR1 and VR3 across each resistor. Compare these currents
and voltages with the measured value by obtaining the percentage deviation.

References
Tipler, P., Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 4th ed., W.H. Freeman & Co. USA
(1999).
Baclig, A., et al., Physics 72.1 Laboratory Manual (2004).
Balista, J. et al., Physics 72.1 Laboratory Manual, (2007).
Young, H. et al., University Physics, 12th ed., Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. USA
(2008).
Lab manual authors. Physics 72.1 Laboratory Manual (2013)
Circuit Analysis

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Physics 72.1
Name:
Group members:

Date:
Instructor:

Data Sheet

Resistor
R1
R2
R3

Table W1: Theoretical and experimental resistance values


Color bands
Value indicated by color bands Measured value

Table W2: Eective resistance of Circuit A


Measured
Theoretical
Percent Deviation

Calculations for Table W2

Table W3: Calculated resistance values from experimental V and I measurements


Resistor 1
Resistor 2
Resistor 3
V (V) I(mA) R( ) V (V) I(mA) R( ) V (V) I(mA) R( )

Calculations for the resistances in Table W3

Circuit Analysis

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Physics 72.1

Table W4: Calculated eective resistance from Vtotal and Itotal measurement
Vtotal ( )
Itotal ( )
Re ( )
Percent deviation

Calculations for the eective resistance in Table W4

Table W5: Two-loop network


Measured
Theoretical

Percent deviation

V1
V2
I R1
I R3
V R1
V R3
Sample calculations for the theoretical values in Table W5

Circuit Analysis

Physics 72.1

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

Questions
1. Enclose in a single box all parts of the circuit below that are equipotential with the
positive terminal of the battery. Do the same for all parts of the circuit that are
equipotential with the negative terminal of the battery. Summarize your results
for voltages across each resistor connected in parallel and explain them using the
diagram.

2. The choice of direction for traversing a loop makes no dierence in the loop rule
equation. Show this explicitly by setting up the equation for a single loop in Circuit
4 using opposite directions for each equation.

Circuit Analysis

Physics 72.1

1st A.Y. 2015-2016

3. Apply the loop theorem to the big outer loop (traversing V1 , R1 and V2 ) of Circuit
4 and show that it is redundant or unnecessary if you are already using the two
inner loop equations.

4. What is the implication of getting negative values for the currents in the calculation
and/or measurement?

Circuit Analysis