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How To Calculate Capacitors In Series And Parallel

Capacitors in Parallel

When capacitors are connected across each other (side by side) this is called a parallel connection. This is shown below.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_1

To calculate the total overall capacitance of a number of capacitors connected in this way you add up the individual capacitances using the following formula:

CTotal = C1 + C2 + C3 and so on

Example: To calculate the total capacitance for these three capacitors in parallel.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_2

CTotal = C1 + C2 + C3

= 10F + 22F + 47F

= 79F


 

Task 1:

Calculate the total capacitance of the following capacitors in parallel.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_3

Capacitors in Series

When capacitors are connected one after each other this is called connecting in series. This is shown below.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_4

To calculate the total overall capacitance of two capacitors connected in this way you can use the following formula:

Ctotal =  C1 x C2  and so on
 C1 + C2

Example: To calculate the total capacitance for these two capacitors in series.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_5


 

Task 2:

Calculate the total capacitance of the following capacitors in series.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_6

Three or more capacitors in series

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_7

To calculate the total overall capacitance of three or more capacitors connected in this way you can use the following formula:

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_8

and so on.

Example: To calculate the total capacitance for these three capacitors in series.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_9


 

Task 3:

Calculate the total capacitance of the following capacitors in series.

how_to_calculate_capacitors_in_series_and_parallel_10


 

Answers

Task 1

1 = 232.2F
2 = 169.0F
3 = 7.0F

Task 2

1 = 2.48F
2 = 14.99F
3 = 4.11F

Task 3

1 = 3.33F
2 = 1.167F
3 = 0.35F

Note
The capacitor values in this worksheet have been kept high (close to or greater than one). This is to simplify the learning experience. In reality typical capacitor values are much smaller than one.

 

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19 thoughts on “How To Calculate Capacitors In Series And Parallel”

  • k May 21, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    i think task 3 is suppose to be 1.167F not 1.67F

    Reply
    • Rob Haywood May 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks, I've corrected that now!

      Reply
  • Arne Risy December 7, 2014 at 12:57 am

    So far this is the only explanation I've been able to understand. Thanks

    Reply
    • Lilian December 13, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Awwnnn....it really amazing it helps alot.

      Reply
  • Belko King Solomon February 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    this explanation is simple and easy to understand and like it.

    Reply
  • Haruna Ibrahim March 12, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    The explanation is clear, but what about the working voltage of two capacitors in parallel? Does it remains the same or individual capacitor voltage rating is added up. Suppose both capacitors are the same working voltage rating

    Reply
    • Rob Haywood April 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi,

      The voltage would remain the same.

      Rob

      Reply
  • Douglas West April 25, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Hi, It appears that your examples deal only in capacitors of varying capacitance. It would be useful to include examples of identical capacitors connected in series and parallel.
    Series Connected Identical Capacitors.....
    Total Capacitance= Nominated Capacitance divided by Total number of Capacitors. EG..
    3000 Farad ÷(X5 in series), ...3000F/5=600F.
    Parrallel Connected Identical Capacitors......
    Total Capacitance=Nominated Capacitance Times Total Number of Capacitors..........
    3000Farad X (X5 in parallel)...3000FX5=15,000F
    Does away with all the "Long Division Nonsense"

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison May 3, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Hi Douglas, The calculation examples will work regardless of the values of the individual capacitors.

      Reply
  • Samweli Masalu October 20, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Hi i like this calculation of series and parallel

    Reply
  • olubowale olajumoke November 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    My problem on capacitor are solve

    Reply
  • Auwal idris November 30, 2016 at 9:40 am

    wow!! i really luv this site it is very helpfull.

    Reply
  • Aloice Amboso April 3, 2017 at 7:27 am

    I like this site it really help me

    Reply
  • mbasinya Markus April 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I need more explanation about COULOUMBS LAW OF ELECLECTROSTATICS, and ITS CALCULATION.

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison April 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

      This may be something that we produce a resource for at some point but for now, try google as there is already a lot of information on this online.

      Reply
  • Mufti May 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I love this Site. Thank you very much, i am going to write exams. now my problem on capacitors has been solved totally. thank you once again

    Reply
  • Virat kohli May 19, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Very very helpful site I like it..
    Being a student of class 10th I understood it to how to solve the question of series and parallel combinations of conductors..

    Reply
  • Kean Sakata July 13, 2017 at 5:54 am

    The formula for series capacitance does not work for 1F. If you add 1+1+1 you get 3F instead of .333F. Please explain.

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison July 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Hi Kean, there is still one more step of your calculation left to do, you need to divide 1 by 3 and then you will have your answer for C total. Hope this helps.

      Reply
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