# Basic understanding of voltage

#### thomas20123

So I’ve recently found interests in circuits but having issues understanding the very basics of it...

So if I had a 12v battery and 3 led (for an example), would I need 3 12v led’s or 3 4v led’s?

#### Alabalcho

##### Titan
If you connect these LEDs in series, you'll need 3 4V LEDs.
If you connect these LEDs in parallel, you'll need (as many as you want) 12V LEDs.

Here is a pretty good explanation.

#### Pinhedd

##### Polypheme
Moderator

Voltage is a measurement of electrical potential. Voltage is to electrical energy like height is to gravitational energy.

LEDs are non-linear devices and understanding the physics and mathematics behind them is a bit beyond a short forum post.

There's no such thing as a "12 volt LED" because supply voltage isn't a characteristic of an LED. Rather, forward bias and the current curve are natural properties of an LED that can be used to work out a viable circuit which produces enough light without burning out the LED.

One should never connect an LED to a power supply of any voltage without including an appropriately sized current limiting resistor. Many "plug and play" LED devices such as LED light strips have these limiting components built in which helps them operate in a more linear fashion; this is what you're seeing when you buy a "12 volt LED", it's an assembly of components designed to work with a 12 volt power supply. You can place as many of these in parallel as you'd like until the battery becomes overloaded.