The above show a standard set of symbols, each representing a component in a circuit.
The components of a circuit can be arranged as a [b]series[/b] or a [b]parallel[/b] circuit.
Components of a [b]series circuit[/b] are all connected in a single loop, with each component following a predecessor.
The above circuit is an example of a simple series circuit.
The advantages of a series circuit include that it doesn't require too much wiring, as it is a single loop; it is easy to construct, due to it being a single loop; and the current in the circuit is the same across all the components.
Components of a [b]parallel circuit[/b] are placed along parallel wires.
The [i]current[/i] of the circuit splits at the junctions and is always equal to the current flowing out of a junction further on.
The current is described as being [b]conserved[/b].
The above diagram shows a parallel circuit in which 2 [b]lamps[/b] are placed in parallel with a [b]switch[/b] and a [b]cell[/b].
The lights in most houses are connected in parallel. This means that they all receive the full voltage and if one bulb breaks the others remain on.
For a parallel circuit the current from the electrical supply is greater than the current in each branch. The sum of all the current in every branch is equal to the current from the electrical supply.