PARTS AND MATERIALS
• Calculator (or pencil and paper for doing arithmetic)
• 6-volt battery
• Assortment of resistors between 1 KΩ and 100 kΩ in value
I'm purposely restricting the resistance values between 1 kΩ and 100 kΩ for the sake of obtaining accurate voltage and current readings with your meter. With very low resistance values, the internal resistance of the ammeter has a significant impact on measurement accuracy. Very high resistance values may cause problems for voltage measurement, the internal resistance of the voltmeter substantially changing circuit resistance when it is connected in parallel with a high-value resistor.
Lessons In Electric Circuits, Volume 1, chapter 6: "Divider Circuits and Kirchhoff's Laws"
• Voltmeter use
• Ammeter use
• Ohmmeter use
• Use of Ohm's Law
• Use of Kirchhoff's Voltage Law ("KVL")
• Voltage divider design
Shown here are three different methods of circuit construction: on a breadboard, on a terminal strip, and "free-form." Try building the same circuit each way to familiarize yourself with the different construction techniques and their respective merits. The "free-form" method -- where all components are connected together with "alligator-" style jumper wires -- is the least professional, but appropriate for a simple experiment such as this. Breadboard construction is versatile and allows for high component density (many parts in a small space), but is quite temporary. Terminal strips offer a much more permanent form of construction at the cost of low component density.
Select three resistors from your resistor assortment and measure the resistance of each one with an ohmmeter. Note these resistance values with pen and paper, for reference in your circuit calculations.
Connect the three resistors in series, and to the 6-volt battery, as shown in the illustrations. Measure...