How to Wire Batteries in Series (or in Parallel)

Introduction: How to Wire Batteries in Series (or in Parallel)

Get the power you need from the power you have by wiring together different power sources to get the voltage or the current to drive your project.

This is a simple insructable which will graphically demonstrate how to wire multiple power sources together to get the voltage and current you need for your project.

You will see that this demo uses a couple of my Al/Air fuel cells but you should be able to use any power sources you like.

It is not required that all the power sources be the same and this can affect your output. For instance wiring 3V and 9V batteries in series will give you 12V

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Okay you're going to need some batteries to wire together and some way to wire them together.

In this example we will be wiring together two aluminum air batteries so we'll need a couple of batteries and some leads for interconnecting them.

A multimeter for measuring voltage and current also comes in handy.

Other power sources that can be used include battery packs, wall warts ( two 9V warts = 1 18V ) or just about anything else.

Step 2: Wiring Two Batteries in Series

Wiring multiple power sources in series will increase the available voltage.

First we measure the voltage from each battery. Then we wire them in series by connecting the negative lead (connected to aluminum foil) to the positive lead of the other battery.

Here we can see that two batteries, one with 850 mV and one with 774 mV produce 1.568 when wired in series. As you can see we lose a tiny bit of power in this circuit ( approximately .05 mV ) most likely due to the nature of the connections.

Now let's take a look and see what happens when we wire them in parallel...

Step 3: Wiring Two Batteries in Parallel

Now we'll take a look at what happens when we wire batteries in parallel.

Unlike wiring batteries in series when batteries are wired in parallel the voltage does not increase, the output voltage is the average voltage of all batteries in the circuit. For example if a 3V and a 9V battery were wired in parallel the output voltage would be 6V ( 9+3 divided by 2 ) however the current will be total amperage of all batteries in the circuit (minus any losses).

In this case we can see that 89.6 muA and 70.6 muA produced a collective current of 138.4 muA or about 21.6 muA below our expect 160 muA. This is accounted for by losses in the circuit.

Step 4: More Power - Series Wired in Parallel for Maximum Duration

This is how multiple power supplies can be wired together into a series that provide more voltages, these series be wired in series to provide a sustained and reliable power source. This configuration will produce the most sustained power....

Step 5: Maximum Power - Wired in Series and Parallel for Maximum Power

Absolutely the fastest way to drain your batteries in the shortest possible time.

This configuration shows the batteries wired together using both serial and parallel connections. This will maximize the voltage and the current.

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    33 Comments

    0
    Jean-PaulC6
    Jean-PaulC6

    Question 3 years ago

    Is there a mistake in the diagram for Step 4 relating to the polarity of the cell in the bottom right hand corner? It has + wired to + of the cell above it and it has an unwired - terminal. It also doesn't follow the pattern of alternating +/- left/right that is established elsewhere (which seems to support the idea that it may have been drawn backwards and then miswired).

    0
    NikolaiN
    NikolaiN

    Answer 9 months ago

    yes it is.

    0
    DarronK1
    DarronK1

    Question 12 months ago

    How many AA batteries do I need charge an 18v battery to a power drill

    0
    NikolaiN
    NikolaiN

    Answer 9 months ago

    I believe each AA battery has 1.5V. Therefore if you need an output of 18V for your power drill, you can try to connect 12 AA batteries in series to give you 18V. However, you need to check how much current that your power drill need too. Each AA battery has around 2 - 3 Ah (or 2000 - 3000 mAh). If your power drill needs more than 2 - 3 Ah, then in theory, you can try to connect multiple packs of 12 AA batteries in parallel to increase your current output.

    0
    LuisitoL3
    LuisitoL3

    3 years ago on Step 4

    Comments for Step 4: Five (5) units of 1.2V battery cell connected in series will yield 1.2V x 5 = 6V and not 12V. However, the available current (ampere) will be twice the rating of one battery in the circuit, hence 100 mA x 2 = 200mA since the two (2) series circuit is ultimately connected in parallel.

    0
    NikolaiN
    NikolaiN

    Reply 9 months ago

    also I believe the diagram of the 5 1.2V batteries on the right was incorrect. The 5th 1.2V battery on the right should have the +/- terminal in reverse where the + terminal of the 4th 1.2V battery on the right should be connected to the - terminal of the 5th 1.2V battery on the right.

    0
    NikolaiN
    NikolaiN

    9 months ago

    In Step 4, I believe the diagram of 5 1.2V batteries on the right hand side was incorrect. The bottom 1.2V battery had shown the incorrect +/- terminal with the wire connection going from + terminal of the 1.2V battery on the right to + terminal of the 1.2V battery on the left. The +/- terminal for the 1.2V battery on the right should be switched that should have a connection of + terminal of the 4th 1.2V battery on the right to the - terminal of the 5th 1.2V battery on the right, and then the connection wiring going from the + terminal of the 5th 1.2V battery on the right to the + terminal of the 5th 1.2V battery on the left.

    0
    OniL3
    OniL3

    6 years ago

    What is the way to connect 3 or more batteries with different MAH?
    IS it possible to make a powerbank out of it?

    0
    LuisitoL3
    LuisitoL3

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes you can but it will no be efficient and practically it is not advisable cause the lower mAh will suffer from over charging since the higher mAh rating will charge in longer time and also the lower mAh will suffer as well under load when the higher mAh depleted its rated capacity.

    0
    RonF62
    RonF62

    Question 4 years ago

    Have you ever heard of anyone using 4 12 volt heavy truck batteries to replace 2 12 volt CAT batteries?

    0
    LuisitoL3
    LuisitoL3

    Answer 3 years ago

    Theoretically batteries connected in parallel sum up their ampere rating then if the 12 CAT battery let say has 200 Ah rating then 2 x 200 Ah = 400 Ah. Therefore you need 4 x 100 Ah = 400 Ah in parallel provided that the voltage required is 12V. Well, in series circuit the terminal battery voltage sum up then 2 x 12V CAT = 24V but the ampere rating will be 200 Ah only. Usually, heavy trucks batteries are connected in series to have 24V and parallel them with same set up of batteries to have higher ampere capacity.

    0
    JamesF201
    JamesF201

    5 years ago

    i have two 12 volt batteries that i wire in series for remote wire feed welding but cant weld anything below 1/8 inch because i blow a hole every time could you give me a way to limit the voltage output between the two batteries

    0
    jasveerg
    jasveerg

    5 years ago

    i have 30 TP4056 mobile charging circuit board which require 5volt 1Amp input. i want to connect all in parallel. please help me to make a power supply for it.

    tp4056.JPG
    0
    uzairahmadkhan
    uzairahmadkhan

    6 years ago

    I want to know, what will happen if we connect some batteries in series and all of them have some reasonable SOC but except one which has 0 SOC...will the 0 SOC battery will cause open circuit in battery network??

    0
    Isaacs10
    Isaacs10

    6 years ago

    maybe this could work with lemon batteries ?? :) thanks awesome articale

    0
    Divergence
    Divergence

    6 years ago

    In the series-parallel you state that it will drain your batteries fast.. as far as I'm aware it will actually increase the capacity of the batteries while also increasing the voltage at the same time.

    Wiring batteries in parallel is not dangerous, they do it in RV's all the time, as long as your voltage and CCA are the same there will be no harm

    0
    DanP52
    DanP52

    Reply 6 years ago

    I feel that is potentially misleading advice. As Mike says, very well below, it can be very dangerous to run batteries in parallel. The chances of a thermal runaway event are generally low (unless you are very silly) but the potential consequences can be severe so its always best to err on the side of caution. All batteries are unique and degrade over time. Unless you rigorously test all your batteries, which is impractical for most situations, the best way to reduce the risks are only using the same brand name cells, bought new, from a reputable source, hopefully from the same batch.

    0
    WayneM21
    WayneM21

    6 years ago

    Can I wire 3 batteries together in parallel and series? Like this photo? Or will I blow myself up?

    image.jpeg
    0
    borgem
    borgem

    Reply 6 years ago

    Using identical batteries, there are some interesting configs, but I don't think that your setup would work (I could be wrong, but it seems a little sketchy). There is a such thing as series-parallel, but I don't think it is what you are trying to do.

    http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/serial_and_parallel_battery_configurations