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There are different type of circuits, such as parallel and series.

I'm wondering the name / type of the [AC] circuit where there are n number of circuit elements and even if one element is removed (with n-1) remaining, the current still flows?

Eg,

I have 4 light sockets wired together and it is connected to the mains via single plug.

What type of circuit is necessary so that things work not just when 4 lamps are attached but 3, 2, or even 1 is fine?

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A parallel circuit is what you're referring to. In a series circuit, if one connection is broken, the entire circuit is broken.

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Imagine a ladder. This is a good representation of a parallel circuit. A lamp on any rung of the ladder will light but it is not required that any one of the rungs have a lamp working in order for the others to work.

  • Brilliant explanation. Thanks! +)) Can I ask you another quick one please? Imagine a DC output that is 12V at say 2 amps. So there is + and - ends. If I have two cables coming of each, connected to two small DC LEDs or motors, will I get 12V to each with 5 amp max? Or will I get 6V to each with 10 amp max? And how does it compare to connecting the two devices (lamp or motor) in series? – Phil Sep 4 '14 at 17:43

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