If you charge two capacitors \$C_1, C_2\$in series with some voltage \$V_0\$ and then discharge them in parallel to find an output voltage \$V_1\$, how would you do so? Right now I know the total charge on the capacitors is \$Q = C_1C_2/(C_1 + C_2) V_0\$ but I'm not sure how to relate the total charge to an output voltage if they are discharging in parallel.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Valley Fill circuit charges in series and discharges in parallel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Autistic
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Here's a hint: The charge on each capacitor is the same as the total charge. Therefore, the voltage divides in inverse proportion to their individual capacitance values.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But since they are parallel don't the voltages have to be the same? My next thought was that when you put the charged capacitors in parallel, the total amount of charge is the same as before but since the voltages have to be the same some of the charge may move from capacitor to capacitor to have the same voltage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tina G.
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that's the idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 18:54

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