# How to calculate current in a parallel circuit

Calculating the current in a parallel circuit is an essential skill for electronics enthusiasts and professionals alike. Parallel circuits are common in many electronic devices, and understanding how they work can make troubleshooting and designing electronic circuits much easier. In this article, we will discuss the basics of parallel circuits, the formula required for calculating the current, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to calculate current in a parallel circuit.

**Basics of Parallel Circuits**

In a parallel circuit, components such as resistors or light bulbs are connected in parallel with each other, meaning that they have multiple paths for current to flow simultaneously. This is different from a series circuit, where components are connected end-to-end — having only one path for current to travel.

The total current (I_total) flowing through a parallel circuit is the sum of the currents flowing through each individual branch (I1, I2, I3… etc.).

Ohm’s Law states that the current (I) flowing through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage (V) across those points and inversely proportional to the resistance (R) between them. Mathematically, it can be represented as:

I = V / R

**Calculating Current in a Parallel Circuit**

Step 1: Identify the values

To begin calculating the current in each branch of the parallel circuit, determine the values for the voltage (V) across each branch and their respective resistances (R1, R2, R3… etc.).

Step 2: Calculate individual currents

Use Ohm’s law (I = V / R) to calculate the current flowing through each individual branch of the circuit. Be sure to record these values as I1, I2, I3… etc., corresponding with their respective branches.

Step 3: Find total current

Add up all individual currents calculated in Step 2 to find the total current (I_total) flowing through the parallel circuit:

I_total = I1 + I2 + I3 + …

**Example**

Let’s consider a parallel circuit with three resistors: R1 = 4 Ohms, R2 = 6 Ohms, and R3 = 8 Ohms. The circuit has a voltage source of 12V across each resistor.

Step 1: Identify the values

V = 12V

R1 = 4 Ohms

R2 = 6 Ohms

R3 = 8 Ohms

Step 2: Calculate individual currents

I1 = V / R1 = 12 / 4 = 3A

I2 = V / R2 = 12 / 6 = 2A

I3 = V / R3 = 12 / 8 = 1.5A

Step 3: Find total current

I_total = I1 + I2 + I3 = 3 + 2 + 1.5 = 6.5A

**Conclusion**

The total current flowing through the parallel circuit in our example is calculated to be 6.5 Amperes. Understanding how to calculate current in a parallel circuit is crucial for electronic engineering and device design. Once you know how currents behave in parallel circuits, troubleshooting and improving your electronics projects will be much more straightforward.