Series and Parallel Battery Circuits

Have a project and you just can’t find the battery capacity you need at the right price or size? Sometimes a viable solution is to connect multiple batteries in series, parallel, or a combination of the two. It is good practice to only connect batteries of identical capacity, type, and age.

Series

If you are hooking batteries up in series, connect the positive terminal of one to the negative of the next, and so on. The following formula applies to series circuits: (Vtotal = V1+V2 etc.). This will provide you with extra voltage for the load, but no extra current (Itotal = I1 = I2 etc.). The series example shown in Figure 1 works out to be 36 V with a 1 A current capacity.

Figure 1: Series battery circuit showing a load 36 V with a 1 A current capacity.

Parallel

If you are hooking batteries up in parallel, connect all of the positive terminals together then connect all of the negative terminals together. The following formula applies to parallel circuits: (Itotal = I1+I2 etc.) This will provide you with extra current for the load, but no extra voltage (Vtotal = V1 = V2 etc.). The example shown in Figure 2 will present 12 V to the load with a 3 A current capacity.

Figure 2: This parallel battery configuration will show 12 V to a load and have a 3 A current capacity.

Series/Parallel Combination

If you need more of both current and voltage, then a combination circuit is the way to go. For this, follow the connection guides from above for the series connections, then follow the parallel directions to connect those.

The ladder analogy:

Individual series connections (rungs), tied together in parallel (side-rails) are like the rungs and side-rails of a ladder.

Voltage total = the sum of battery voltages in series on one rung of the ladder (each rung must be the same voltage).

Current total = the sum of current capacities of all the individual rungs (each battery on a rung must have the same current capacity).

The example shown in Figure 3 presents 24 V to a load and can provide a current of up to 2 A.

Figure 3: This series-parallel battery configuration shows 24 V to the load and can provide up to 2 A of current.

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Ashley Awalt는 2011년부터 응용 엔지니어링 기술 전문가로서 Digi-Key Electronics에서 근무하고 있습니다. 그녀는 Digi-Key의 장학금 프로그램을 통해 노스랜드 커뮤니티 및 테크니컬 컬리지에서 응용 과학 전문 학사 학위를 받았습니다. 그녀는 현재 고유한 기술 프로젝트를 생성하고, 공정을 문서화하며, 프로젝트에 대한 비디오 미디어 보도 제작에 참여하고 있습니다. 여가 시간에는 엄마로서 자녀들과 더 많은 시간을 함께 보내기 위해 노력합니다.

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