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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

    Join Karen as she shares her enthusiasm for teaching STEM subjects, gives you what you need to know to get started on electronics projects, and more.

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    The Learning Circuit
    sudo Sergeant
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    In a previous episode, Karen made a simple circuit using some common everyday items.  Now she’ll demonstrate the difference between parallel and series circuits by adding additional voltage and another bulb to her simple circuit.  She’ll also cover the difference between stranded and solid wire and use a multimeter to demonstrate the difference in how voltage is distributed in a parallel and series circuit.

    Make Your Own!

    Parts & Products:

    Product Name

    Part Link

    Hookup Wire - Red, 22 AWG, 25ft, solidBuy NowBuy Now
    Hookup Wire - Black, 22 AWG, 25ft, solidBuy NowBuy Now
    2 AA Battery HolderBuy NowBuy Now
    AA Batteries (4pk)Buy NowBuy Now
    Lamp Holder (10pk)Buy NowBuy Now
    2.47V Miniature Screw Incandescent Lamp Bulbs (10pk) Buy NowBuy Now
    Tenma Digital MultimeterBuy NowBuy Now


    Additional Materials

    Product Name

    Metal Paper Clips
    Brass Paper Fasteners



    Download the Introduction to Circuits featuring Karen in eBooks!



    Simple circuits such as the ones Karen demonstrates are an easy way to learn about the difference between simple and parallel circuits. In a Series Circuit, all components are connected end-to-end to form a single path for electrons to flow.  In a Parallel circuit, all components are connected across each other to form two sets of electrically common points.


    Another consideration you’ll need to understand when getting started with electronics projects is your choice between using stranded or solid wires.  Both types of wiring are effective means of transmitting electricity, however, a stranded wire is more efficient in sending the electrons through your circuit.  It’s also better suited for more intricate usages such electronic devices and circuit board where it offers the flexibility to be bent or twisted to connect electronic components.  Solid wire is frequently used for outdoor or rugged applications where wire may be exposed to corrosive elements, adverse weather conditions, or frequent movement. It’s also a good choice for smaller projects where the flexibility of stranded wire makes it difficult to use.


    Karen uses solid wire to demonstrate the difference between series and parallel circuits because it’s stiff and stays attached better.  In electronics, a node refers to any point on a circuit where two or more circuit elements meet. In a schematic, the node will be the wires between the components.  In a circuit the current flows from high voltage to a lower voltage. The current flows through every path it can take to the point of lowest voltage (commonly referred to as ground).  Two components are said to be in series if they share a common node and the same current flows through them.  If the components share two common nodes then they are said to be in parallel.


    What other basic electronic concepts would you like to learn about?


    Let us know in the comments below!