How to Wire Resistors in a Series & in Parallel

By Kenrick Callwood
Resistors control the amount of current that flows through a circuit.

Resistors are electronic components used to regulate the flow of voltage through specific parts of circuit boards. The more resistance the circuit has, the less voltage is allowed to pass through it. Circuits are usually configured in parallel, in series, or a combination of both. In basic terms, a series configuration means that the a single current enters in resistor A, exits resistor A, enters resistor B and exits resistor B without being added to or detracted from. Parallel configurations cause a single current to physically flow across the two resistors, giving each an equal amount of voltage.

Wiring Resistors in Series

Cut three lengths of wire for the circuit. These are referred to as wires 1, 2 and 3 in subsequent steps. Wire 3 must be at least two times longer than wires 1 and 2.

Strip each end of all three wires with wire strippers.

Solder one end of wire 1 to the positive terminal of a battery.

Solder the other end of wire 1 to side "A" of the first resistor. Choose either end of the resistor, as the orientation will not affect the performance.

Solder one end wire 2 to side "B" of the first resistor.

Solder the free end of wire 2 to side "A" of the second resistor.

Solder one end of wire 3 to side "B" of the second resistor.

Solder the free end of wire 3 to the negative terminal of the battery to complete the series circuit.

Wiring in Parallel

Cut four lengths of wire. These are referred to as wires 1, 2, 3 and 4 in subsequent steps.

Strip each end of all four wires with the wire strippers.

Arrange the resistors so that they are perpendicular to you and parallel to each other. Side "A" is the top of each resistor and side "B" is the bottom.

Solder wire 1 to side "A" of the first resistor and side "A" of the second resistor.

Solder wire 2 to side "B" of the first resistor and side "B" of the second resistor.

Solder wire 3 to side "A" of the first resistor and the positive terminal of the battery.

Solder wire 4 to side "B" of the first resistor and the negative terminal of the battery to complete the parallel circuit.

Things Needed

  • Battery or similar power source
  • Wire (gauge depends on application and power source)
  • Resistors (rating and number depend on application; two minimum)
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Safety goggles

About the Author

Kenrick Callwood has been involved in Internet marketing since 2007 and his work has appeared in numerous online publications. His main areas of expertise are psychology, travel and Internet marketing. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from California Polytechnic University.