How to connect batteries in series vs parallel?

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In battery applications, only one battery is obviously not enough for golf carts and RVs. So we often need to increase the battery life, how to achieve? We need to connect batteries in series vs parallel to increase the battery voltage and capacity.

Most golf carts are typical 48V systems, obviously a single 12V100Ah battery cannot run this golf cart, how to achieve this? We need to connect 4 batteries in series to increase the voltage, making the entire battery system a 48V100Ah battery system.

Next, we will teach you how to connect batteries in series and parallel. and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

batteries in series vs parallel
The batteries are in series vs parallel

Wiring Batteries In Series

In battery series connection, the positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery and so on, until the desired voltage is reached. The final voltage is the sum of all battery voltages added together while the final amp-hours remains unchanged.
For example, wiring Four 12-volt batteries with 100 Ah capacities in series will output 48 volts with a 100 Ah capacity.

batteries in series
Batteries in series

Precautions before wiring batteries in series

Before wiring the batteries in series , every battery must have same voltage, capacity, and charge rating etc. Mixing and matching is ok for your closet, but it’s a no-go when creating your battery setup! Doing so can be dangerous, and may damage your batteries.

Advantage of wiring batteries in series

Less energy loss. The power a device consumes is equal to its operating voltage multiplied by the current it draws. For example, a 1200-watt device operating at 12 volts would draw 100 amps (12 x 100 = 1200). That same device operating at 48 volts would only draw 25 amps (48 x 25 = 1200). 

So for same power system, higher voltage means a lower system current, so you can use thinner wiring. There will cause less energy loss.

That is the main reason why the large applications that need high voltage instead of low voltage.

Disadvantage of wiring batteries in series

Once a batteries broken, the system will stop soon.

For example, if you connect Four 12V batteries in series, the whole system voltage should be 48Volts, if there are one batteries broken, the battery voltage should be 12V*3=36Volts, the system will stop unless you use a converter.

Wiring Batteries In Parallel

In battery parallel connection, the positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the positive terminal of the second battery and so on, until the desired capacity is reached. The final capacity (amp-hours) is the sum of all battery voltages added together while the final voltage remains unchanged.

For example, wiring Four 12-volt batteries with 100 Ah capacities in parallel will output 12 volts with a 400 Ah capacity.

batteries in parallel
batteries in parallel

Precautions before wiring batteries in parallel

To configure batteries with a parallel connection each battery must have same voltage and  capacity rating also. Otherwise, the battery will be damage if the battery are not same.

Advantage of wiring batteries in parallel

Even if one batteries broken, the system will working also.

The whole Voltage stays the same, but you can run your applications longer because you’ve increased the capacity. Also, if there’s a problem with one battery, it won’t affect the others. The working batteries will continue to power your appliances.

Disdvantage of wiring batteries in parallel

1. High energy loss. The lower voltage means higher current draw and more voltage drop. It may be difficult to power large applications, and you’ll need thicker cables.

2. Although theoretically, it should be “equal”, the truth is that due to manufacturing differences or low-quality connections, the charging and discharging current that will flow throughout the strings can be different. This creates a unbalance that is undesirable for the long-term performance of the battery bank.

What is the difference between Wiring Batteries in Series Vs. Parallel?

All in all, a word,

Wiring batteries in series increases battery voltage, The total capacity doesn’t change.

Wiring batteries in parallel increases battery capacity. The total voltage doesn’t change.

How Many Batteries Can You Wire In Series?

For most of ELB 12V batteries, ELB can support 4units batteries series connection to support 48V system.

For normal ELB 48V series batteries, ELB can not support wiring batteries series connection, So for special high voltage, please contect ELB team to provide the customized solutions, OEM and ODM battery scheme both can be acceptable by ELB team.

How Many Batteries Can You Wire In Parallel?

For most of ELB 12V & 48V batteries, ELB can support 16units batteries parallel connection to support 48V system.

For special require, welcome to contect ELB team to provide the customized solutions, OEM and ODM battery scheme both can be acceptable by ELB team.

Batteries in Series vs. Parallel: Which is Right for Me?

Depends on the power of the entire system.

For less power system,wiring batteries parallel typically have big advantage, the whole system still run even if one batteries are broken. The whole system power is low that we can ignore the energy loss.

For large power system, wiring batteries series typically have big advantage, the whole system will save energy and have less energy loss.

Related Article

What are amps? And how to measure amps with a multimeter?

How to extend lithium battery life?

Can i charge a lithium battery with a normal charger?

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