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The following information is a single lesson in a larger project. Find more great projects here.

Return to Previous Lesson: Build a Series Circuit

Lesson Overview:

Now we'll learn about circuits in parallel!

Step 1: Parallel Circuits

Now that you’ve mastered the art of buttons in series, it’s time to wire up switches in parallel.

Components in parallel are placed side by side - they share a connection at two terminals. Check out the circuit diagram below, showing the buttons in parallel. Either button (or both) can be pressed in order to create a continuous circuit path that turns on the LED.

  1. Continue to the next step.

Step 2: Re-wire It

In this step, you will re-wire the circuit to put the buttons in parallel. The series circuit from the previous lesson is already in the Workplane.

  1. Start by deleting the connection between the two buttons.
  2. Connect the left button terminals to each other.
  3. Connect the right button terminals to each other. Now the buttons are connected in parallel!
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 3: Use It!

Simulate the circuit! (Or plug in your Arduino Uno.)

Because these two buttons are in parallel this time, when you press either button individually the LED will turn on.

This means that the electrical current is split between them.

  1. Simulate the circuit or plug in your Arduino Uno.
  2. Try pressing each button individually and see what happens! The LED should turn on with one button pressed at a time.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 4: Practice Series and Parallel Circuits

You can expand this project in a number of ways.

In your time remaining, try putting 3 or 4 buttons in SERIES or try putting 3 or 4 buttons in PARLLEL.

If you are feeling bold, you can even create a combination of switches and LEDs in parallel and series.

Think about why each circuit behaves the way that it does!

  1. Try adding more buttons to the circuit either in series or in parallel.
  2. Continue to the next lesson to learn about a very important electronics concept: Ohm's Law.

Next Lesson:Intro to Ohm's Law

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