+1 vote
by Epic (640 points)
I have three resistors with values 4Ω, 6Ω, and 8Ω connected in series. How do I find the total resistance?

1 Answer

0 votes
by Mythic (1.5k points)
So you've got 3 resistors all linked up in a nice little chain, right? 4 ohms, 6 ohms, and 8 ohms. To find the total resistance of this little series party, you just gotta do some simple addition. Yep, that's it!

See, in a series circuit, the resistors are all laid out end-to-end, like a line of people at the grocery store checkout. The current has to fight through each one of those resistors to get all the way through the circuit.

And just like if you combined the heights of all the people in that checkout line, you add up the individual resistance values to get the total resistance. The current feels the full resistance from each resistor as it tries to muscle its way through.

So in your case, you've got 4 ohms of resistance from the first resistor. Then it faces another 6 ohms from the second one. And finally, it's gotta power through that last 8 ohm resistor before it reaches the end of the line.

Just add those puppies up: 4 + 6 + 8 = 18 ohms. Bam! That's your total series resistance that the current is dealing with.

It's like if you asked three people what it costs for all of them to go to the movies. One says $4, the next says $6, and the third says $8. To get the total, you just combine all their individual costs together into one total of $18.

Now, I know what you're thinking - "But Chris, what if I had like 25 resistors all wired up in series?" Well, the process is still the same! Just keep on adding up all those ohm values until you've counted every last resistor in the chain.

The bigger the resistance values, the harder it is for current to get through. So a beefy series resistance can really put the clamps on that current flow.

Just don't go mixing up your series and parallel circuits! With parallel, you're giving the current a bunch of different paths it can take, so the math works out a little differently. But hey, one thing at a time, am I right?
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