Many common electrical power sources are designed to provide twelve volts of direct current electrical power. Unfortunately, if you were to directly connect a twelve-volt power source to a six-volt electrical circuit, the components in that circuit may overheat or fail. A physical law called Kirchhoff's Voltage Law explains that the sum of all the voltage drops in a closed circuit is equal to zero. Therefore, you can construct a voltage divider circuit that provides a six-volt electrical tap by wiring two electrical resistors in a series circuit and attaching it to the twelve-volt power source.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Twelve-volt DC power supply
- Two 1000 Ohm resistors
- Electrical wire
- Electrical pliers
- Two crimp-type ring terminals
- Digital multimeter
Cut two one-foot pieces of wire. Strip off one-half inch of insulation from the ends of each wire segment. Ensure that the power supply is turned off.
Twist together one end of the first wire with one of the leads from the first resistor.
Twist together the unoccupied lead from the first resistor with one of the leads from the second resistor. Crimp the first ring terminal to this twisted lead pair.
Twist together the unoccupied lead from the second resistor with one end of the second wire. Crimp the second ring terminal to the twisted wire pair.
Attach the unoccupied end of the first wire to the positive terminal on the power supply. Attach the unoccupied end of the second wire to the negative terminal on the power supply.
Turn on the multimeter, and set the measurement scale to "Volts DC." Attach the red multimeter probe to the first ring terminal. Attach the black multimeter lead to the second ring terminal. Turn on the power supply. The multimeter will display six volts DC.
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