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Capacitance in a series circuit is the inverse of the sum of the reciprocals of each component. This sounds pretty difficult but it is not. Not if you learn the use of the reciprocal key 1/x on your calculator.

Here's how it works. Capacitance total in a parallel circuit is found by entering the values of:

the first component, then pressing the 1/x key, then the plus + key,
the second component, then pressing the 1/x key, then the plus + key,
the third component, then pressing the 1/x key, then the plus + key,
the fourth component, then pressing the 1/x key, then the equals key =,
then the 1/x key one last time. Then read the answer.

So the formula with calculator key strokes for capacitance in a parallel circuit with four components is:

Ct = C1 1/x + C2 1/x + C3 1/x + C4 1/x = 1/x

The result is the total capacitance in a parallel circuit with 4 components.

The 1/x key can be used to quickly find a single missing capacitance value in a parallel circuit when the total capacitance is known. Here are the formulas:


If C1 is missing, Ct 1/x - C2 1/x - C3 1/x - C4 1/x = 1/x = read answer
If C2 is missing, Ct 1/x - C1 1/x - C3 1/x - C4 1/x = 1/x = read answer
If C3 is missing, Ct 1/x - C1 1/x - C2 1/x - C4 1/x = 1/x = read answer
If C4 is missing, Ct 1/x - C1 1/x -C 2 1/x - C3 1/x = 1/x = read answer

Find practice problems HERE.

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Find inductance story problems HERE

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