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10.0: Prelude to Direct-Current Circuits


Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): This circuit shown is used to amplify small signals and power the earbud speakers attached to a cellular phone. This circuit’s components include resistors, capacitors, and diodes, all of which have been covered in previous chapters, as well as transistors, which are semi-conducting devices covered in Condensed Matter Physics. Circuits using similar components are found in all types of equipment and appliances you encounter in everyday life, such as alarm clocks, televisions, computers, and refrigerators. (credit: Jane Whitney)

In the preceding few chapters, we discussed electric components, including capacitors, resistors, and diodes. In this chapter, we use these electric components in circuits. A circuit is a collection of electrical components connected to accomplish a specific task. Figure 10.1 shows an amplifier circuit, which takes a small-amplitude signal and amplifies it to power the speakers in earbuds. Although the circuit looks complex, it actually consists of a set of series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits. The second section of this chapter covers the analysis of series and parallel circuits that consist of resistors. Later in this chapter, we introduce the basic equations and techniques to analyze any circuit, including those that are not reducible through simplifying parallel and series elements. But first, we need to understand how to power a circuit.


  • Samuel J. Ling (Truman State University), Jeff Sanny (Loyola Marymount University), and Bill Moebs with many contributing authors. This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).