Tips: This trick will help you understand circuits

Are you struggling to understand circuits and see how currents flow?

I wrote this based on an interaction I had with Gary.

And maybe it can help you.

I was developing some new material for a course.

And I used Gary as my test subject. He’s an adult British gentleman with no electronics background whatsoever.

He told me that if he could understand this, then anyone could.

We sent a lot of emails back and forth.

He had trouble understanding it. So he asked me:

“I’m looking at the circuit you sent, but I am struggling to see the loop from plus to minus – could you draw it out for me?”

So I started drawing.

And it became very complicated.

Arrows were pointing in all directions.

Loops with sub-loops.

And three new drawings for the other states when the loops had changed into a different loop.

I took a step back and looked at the drawings.

“This is not going to help him one bit!” I thought to myself.

Understanding ciruits using loops is difficult

Then it occurred to me – he’s looking for the wrong thing!

I never look for loops when I try to understand how a circuit works.

I look for voltages.

And to find how the current flows in a circuit, I use this rule:

Current always flows from a higher voltage to a lower voltage – if there is a path for the current to take.

With this rule, I don’t have to look at the current in the whole circuit to understand it.

I can look at a small part, figure out the voltages, then see how the current flows in that part of the circuit.

And if voltages between two points should change – which they sometimes do – then I can also see how that change affects my circuit.

That’s so much easier!

With practice, you get better and better at spotting higher and lower voltage points – and this way your circuit quickly makes sense.

If you’re ready to start building and understanding electronics from scratch – an Ohmify membership might just be for you.

You’ll get access to a library of courses and projects that will teach you electronics and have you build robots, kitchen timers, music players, and more.

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