Lamps are extensively used in homes and offices for decorating and lighting purposes. Some lamps are placed individually while some are used as a string of lights. When used as a string, several lamps are connected in a parallel combination. In a parallel combination of electrical components, the current across each component varies but the voltage remains the same.
Why are lamps connected in parallel? Let’s discuss in detail why lamps are connected in parallel and not in series along with the advantages of connecting lamps in a parallel combination.
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Why are lamps connected in parallel?
Lamps are connected in parallel because they need to function at a constant supply of voltage. This voltage can be supplied to each of the lamps only when they are connected in parallel. In a parallel circuit, there is no variation in the potential difference on each of the electrical devices connected. In other words, the potential difference across all of them remains the same.
Therefore, lamps are connected in parallel so that each of them receives an identical potential difference. In addition to this, a parallel combination facilitates the operator to switch ON only those lamps that are needed by the operator. If one lamp fails in a parallel combination, it doesn’t affect other lamps.
Why are lamps not connected in series?
Lamps are not connected in series because a series combination offers a variable potential difference. The potential difference occurring at the main supply is shared among the different electrical components that are connected in the series.
The more lamps you connect in series, the lesser will be the potential difference shared by them. This is not desirable in the case of lamps. If you connect lamps in a series combination, you will need to either switch all of them OFF or ON. Furthermore, if one lamp fails in a series combination, it will lead to all the other lamps failing as well.
Advantages of the parallel combination
Connecting electrical fittings in parallel has a great set of advantages over connecting them in series. Therefore, the electrical fittings in our homes are set up as a parallel combination. It is the best way to supply constant power to each electrical component connected at the junctions of a parallel combination. Here are some benefits of connecting lamps in parallel.
- Safe and Reliable Combinations – Parallel electrical combinations are easy to set up and highly reliable. A parallel combination designed according to the industry-approved instructions is an extremely safe option for your home.
- Room for additional components – A parallel combination leaves sufficient room for the inclusion of additional components as you don’t have to set up the circuit from scratch. You can easily plug in the additional component and turn it ON and OFF as and when required. On the other hand, a series combination doesn’t allow this because the electric current decreases due to an increase in the resistance. Therefore, a parallel combination is advantageous where a high electric current is required for multiple appliances.
- A constant voltage – When a number of electrical components like lamps need the same amount of voltage, a parallel combination is the best option for setting up the circuit. It is because the voltage across all components remains the same no matter how many additional components you connect to the circuit.
- Distinctiveness of components – Even after connecting a set of components across a parallel combination, each of them acts as a standalone unit, unlike a series combination where a chain of components behaves as a single system. This means that each component will have a distinct switch. In addition to this, the failure of one unit won’t lead to the failure of others.
Disadvantages of a parallel combination
Some of the disadvantages of using a parallel combination are given below.
- Long wires are required to set up a parallel connection as different pathways are involved.
- The current requirement increases whenever an additional component is added to the network although the voltage difference remains constant in the parallel combination.
- The design of a network is complex in the case of parallel combination as compared to the series combination.
- Switches and fuses need to be connected through live wires.
Safety measures to follow
Electricity is a boon to mankind but it can become a curse if not handled properly. While dealing with electricity or electrical components, it is important to take care of some factors that may otherwise result in dangerous hazards such as shocks and fires. Here are some of the safety measures you must follow to prevent the occurrence of such serious hazards.
- Always turn OFF the power sources while dealing with electrical wirings or appliances. This means that the power should be disconnected from the main supply of your home.
- Make sure to follow the safety guidelines set up by the local authorities.
- Do not work with electricity alone if you are a novice in the field. Be surrounded by experts and electricians who have a good knowledge of the topic.
- Get the electrical repairing and installation done by an electrician, especially if it is illegal to do it on your own in your area.
- Do not overload parallel circuits with too many electrical components. Doing so can lead to fire hazards.
- Always use electrical tools and equipment with insulated handles. Make sure that there are no metallic objects like rings, metallic pencils, rulers or watch bands around the electrical equipment.
- Wear non-conductive gloves, usually made up of rubber, to handle electrical equipment while it is being used in electrical repairing.
- If possible, work with only one hand. Keep the other hand in your pocket so that the current doesn’t flow through your chest cavity.
- If a person is subject to shock from a live electrical conductor, turn OFF the power from the main supply instead of touching the person or the conductor.
- When you are required to touch any electrical equipment, use the back of your hand. This prevents the freezing of your hand to the equipment in case of shocks.