How to connect batteries in series and parallel. Aa batteries power

How to connect batteries in series and parallel

If you have ever worked with batteries you have probably come across the terms series, parallel, and series-parallel, but what exactly do these terms mean?

Series, Series-Parallel, and Parallel is the act of connecting two batteries together, but why would you want to connect two or more batteries together in the first place?

By connecting two or more batteries in either series, series-parallel, or parallel, you can increase the voltage or amp-hour capacity, or even both; allowing for higher voltage applications or power hungry applications.


Connecting a battery in series is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the battery systems overall voltage, connecting batteries in series does not increase the capacity only the voltage. For example if you connect four 12Volt 26Ah batteries you will have a battery voltage of 48Volts and battery capacity of 26Ah.

To configure batteries with a series connection each battery must have the same voltage and capacity rating, or you can potentially damage the batteries. For example you can connect two 6Volt 10Ah batteries together in series but you cannot connect one 6V 10Ah battery with one 12V 20Ah battery.

connect, batteries, series, parallel

To connect a group of batteries in series you connect the negative terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of another and so on until all batteries are connected. You would then connect a link/cable to the negative terminal of the first battery in your string of batteries to your application, then another cable to the positive terminal of the last battery in your string to your application.

When charging batteries in series, you need to use a charger that matches the battery system voltage. We recommend you charge each battery individually to avoid battery imbalance.

Sealed lead acid batteries have been the battery of choice for long string, high voltage battery systems for many years, although lithium batteries can be configured in series, it requires attention to the BMS or PCM.


Connecting a battery in parallel is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the amp-hour capacity. With a parallel battery connection the capacity will increase, however the battery voltage will remain the same.

Batteries connected in parallel must be of the same voltage, i.e. a 12V battery can not be connected in parallel with a 6V battery. It is best to also use batteries of the same capacity when using parallel connections.

For example, if you connect four 12V 100Ah batteries in parallel, you would get a 12V 400Ah battery system.

When connecting batteries in parallel, the negative terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the next and so on through the string of batteries. The same is done with positive terminals, i.e. the positive terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of the next.

For example, let’s say you needed a 12V 300Ah battery system. You will need to connect three 12V 100Ah batteries together in parallel.

Parallel battery configuration helps increase the duration in which batteries can power equipment, but due to the increased amp-hour capacity they can take longer to charge than series connected batteries. This time can safely be reduced, without damaging the batteries, by charging faster. Now that the battery is larger, a higher current charge is still the same percentage of the total capacity, and each battery ‘feels’ a smaller current.

While it is often debated what the best way to connect in parallel is, the above method is common for low current applications. For high current applications, talk to one of our experts as your situation may need a special configuration to ensure all of the batteries age at as similar as possible rates.


Last but not least! There is series-parallel connected batteries. Seriesparallel connection is when you connect a string of batteries to increase both the voltage and capacity of the battery system.

For example, you can connect six 6V 100Ah batteries together to give you a 12V 300Ah battery, this is achieved by configuring three strings of two batteries.

In this connection you will have two or more sets of batteries which will be configured in both series and parallel to increase the system capacity.

If you need any help with configuring batteries in series, parallel or series parallel please get in contact with one of our battery experts.


Many brands of lithium batteries can not be connected in series or parallel due to their PCM or BMS configuration. Power Sonic’s PSL-SC series of lithium batteries can be connected in series or parallel, ideal for higher voltage or capacity applications.

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All AA batteries are the same size, but performance can vary dramatically. Here’s how to choose the right type for your devices.

Most of us come into contact with gadgets that use AA batteries every day. They keep clocks, flashlights, smoke alarms, cameras, toys, and more running. It’s also likely that when they eventually go flat, you simply swap them out for whatever you have stashed in a drawer.

But although all AA batteries are the same physical size, they don’t all deliver power in the same way. So just grabbing what’s convenient will often mean losing out on performance and value. We com the most important features the important details so you know the best AA batteries for all the different devices you use.

How We Picked The AA Batteries

We researched all the main battery manufacturers, and a few less well-known brands, so we had an in-depth understanding of the key factors that differentiate AA battery performance.

Chemistry: AA batteries are usually defined by their chemistry. They are either alkaline, lithium (various types are available), or nickel metal hydride (NiMH). We cover how this impacts choice in the considerations section below. Our top picks showcase the best of each type.

Performance: Devices use the power stored in an AA battery at different rates, so it was important that we offer batteries that suit as wide a variety of equipment as possible.

Value: Cheap AA batteries are readily available but performance can be disappointing in some gadgets. On the other hand there’s little point putting expensive AA batteries in clocks or TV remotes. Our selection provides options from across the price range.

The Best AA Batteries: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: The Energizer Ultimate lithium AA battery is currently the clear market leader in terms of performance and reliability, and has the ability to handle extreme temperatures.

Specs — Chemistry: Lithium Iron Disulphide — Capacity: 3,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, six, eight, 12, 24

Pros: — Reliable high performance — Extreme temperature range — 20-year shelf life

Cons: — Comparatively expensive — Counterfeits are common

The decision over which are the best overall AA batteries has to be primarily about power output, and at the moment the Energizer Ultimate Lithium is the clear market leader. It is not just a question of outlasting alkaline alternatives — most lithium batteries do that — but the Energizer Ultimate outperforms other lithium rivals too.

The main reason is the lithium iron disulphide (LiFeS2) chemistry. Usually found in batteries of 3V (volts) and larger, Energizer has produced a 1.5V AA version. In fact the open circuit value (when no power is being drawn by a device) is 1.8V. This, in combination with the class-leading 3,000 mAh capacity, produces consistent power levels for longer than any competitor. These Energizer batteries are an ideal choice for high-drain digital cameras, handheld games, and some of the best flashlights.

Other impressive statistics are a 20-year shelf life, and a working temperature range from.40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re guaranteed leak proof (in normal use), and Energizer claims it is 33 percent lighter than AA alkaline batteries.

It’s expensive for a disposable battery, and we are aware of a number of counterfeits so always buy from reputable sources.

Best Rechargeable: Panasonic Eneloop AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: Panasonic’s Eneloop rechargeable batteries are packed with features that deliver consistent performance, and solve the common problem of charge draining away when not in use.

Specs: — Chemistry: Nickel metal hydride — Capacity: 2,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 16

Pros: — Recharge up to 2,100 times — Pre-charged using solar energy — Maintains charge well

Cons: — Slow charging — Expensive

It’s not unusual for NiMH batteries to be recharged several hundred times, but eventually the conductive surfaces wear down. Panasonic have dramatically improved this aspect of their Eneloop AA battery. which is rated for up to 2,100 cycles. As a result, while initial investment is comparatively high, these batteries can eventually work out better value than many alternatives.

One of the drawbacks with rechargeable batteries is that when not in use the charge drains away. They often need to be charged before first use, which can be frustrating, and many will go flat over a period of months. Panasonic Eneloop batteries are different in two ways. First, they are supplied ready-to-use, having been pre-charged using solar power. Second, while they do lose some charge, they can retain as much as 70 percent for up to 10 years (when stored according to manufacturer instructions).

For convenience, we recommend the Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries with charger, which automatically shuts off when batteries reach full capacity. However, bear in mind that charging can take up to 7 hours.

Best Budget: Amazon Basics High-Performance AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: The Amazon Basics offer cheap AA batteries that nevertheless provide good shelf life, and perfectly acceptable performance for a whole host of common electronic devices.

Specs: — Chemistry: Alkaline — Capacity: 2,200. 2,500 mAh (see below) — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 10, 20, 48, 72, 100

Pros: — Competitive performance — 10-year shelf life — Low price

Cons: — Variable durability — Leaks are rare, but possible

Some people like the simple convenience of having a packet of cheap disposable AA batteries tucked in a drawer or cupboard. For them, the Amazon Basics alkaline version offers a good compromise between price and performance. Larger pack sizes provide particularly good economy.

When compared with lithium AAs, the capacity is modest, but it’s perfectly acceptable for household items like clocks, toys, TV remotes, and small flashlights. However, we would not recommend them for high-drain devices. Shelf life is 10 years, and the design is intended to prevent leaking.

Amazon Basics does not provide technical information, so the 2,200 to 2,500 mAh rating is taken from online sources who have made their own measurements. The challenge is that different devices draw different amounts of power so this is only an approximate guide.

While the vast majority of those who commented are happy with their purchase, a small percentage have complained of batteries running flat more quickly than expected. Leaks have also been reported though not in significant numbers.

Best for Smoke Detectors: Rayovac High-Energy AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: Rayovac’s US-made, high-energy batteries are a direct competitor to well-known premium brand alkaline versions but at a more competitive price.

Specs: — Chemistry: Alkaline — Capacity: 2,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: 12, 30, 42, 60, 72

Pros: — Consistent power delivery — Good value — US-made

Cons: — Not best in high-drain gadgets — Occasional leaks

The Rayovac High Energy AA battery is targeted at the gap in the market between expensive lithium batteries for high-drain equipment, and cheap alkaline batteries for low-drain gadgets.

They’re designed for mid-range devices like large toys, wireless computer mice, personal grooming equipment, and smoke detectors. These don’t need absolute power, but do require consistent delivery over an extended period. Rayovac’s High Energy AA batteries deliver that long-term reliability, at a price that’s around 30 percent lower than big-brand competitors.

Rayovac batteries are made in the US, and use ‘power preserve’ technology to provide a shelf-life of 10 years. They’re designed to be leak-proof, which can be a problem with some cheap AA batteries.

Rayovac’s High Energy alkaline AA batteries are very popular. We have seen a few reports from dissatisfied buyers, but almost all are from users complaining about poor recharging. This is odd, because these are single-use, disposable AA batteries. They are not rechargeable.

Best for Trail Cameras: EBL AA Batteries

Why It Made The Cut: EBL’s NiMH rechargeable AA batteries provide a cost-effective solution for powering both high-drain devices, and those that need steady power over long periods.

Specs: — Chemistry: Nickel Metal Hydride — Capacity: 2,800 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 16, 28

Pros: — Long-lasting performance — Operate at temperatures below freezing — 1,200 recharge cycles

Cons: — Not pre-charged — May not be compatible

While researching the question of which AA battery is best for trail cameras came up quite often. Many people choose high-power lithium disposable AAs for the job, but this can be expensive. The EBL NiHM is one of the best rechargeable batteries for this purpose, offering stable power in all conditions, and saving money in the long term.

These batteries have an operating range from.4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so they keep providing charge in all but the most extreme weather conditions. A capacity of 2,800 mAh gives impressive durability in high-drain devices, and they can be recharged 1,200 times. Although they aren’t pre-charged they hold power well, and can retain up to 80 percent of capacity for three years (when stored according to directions).

However, NiMH batteries are not compatible with some trail cameras made before 2011. This is a technical issue with all 1.5V NiMH, not just those from EBL. In use, battery voltage can drop to 1.2V, and some trail cameras will shut down at this level. Fortunately modern trail cameras don’t shut off until below 1V per cell, so for them the EBL rechargeable AA is a reliable and economical choice.

Things To Consider Before Buying

The key feature of AA batteries is their chemistry though it is also worth checking capacity, when details are available.

Alkaline: Alkaline AA batteries have been around for well over 100 years. They are a proven, low-cost option. They are ideal for low-drain devices, and have good shelf life. They can leak, particularly if left in a gadget after they have gone flat. They don’t perform well in high-drain equipment.

Lithium: Lithium AA battery descriptions can be confusing, because three types are now common: lithium; lithium-iron disulphide (LiFeS2), both of which are disposable; and lithium ion, which are rechargeable. Ordinary lithium batteries are by far the more popular type, and are usually specified for high-drain gadgets. LiFeS2 offers even better performance. However, both are significantly more expensive than alkaline AAs.

NiMH: Most rechargeable AA batteries are nickel metal hydride (NiMH), which usually out-performs lithium-ion alternatives. While initial cost is comparatively high, they can be recharged hundreds of times, so frequently save money in the long run. However, NiMH AA batteries are self-discharging when not in use so may need recharging if left for several months. They typically have a shelf life of five to seven years.

Capacity: All batteries are rated at 1.5 volts (V), though actual output can fluctuate between around 1.2V and 1.6V, depending on chemistry. In most cases this makes little difference to the device being powered.

Batteries also have a mAh (milliAmp hours) rating. This can be compared to fuel. If you have two AA batteries, one rated at 1,500 mAh, and the other at 3,000 mAh, then the second example will run for roughly twice as long when used in the same gadget.


Q: Are all AA batteries the same?

No. They’re all the same physical size, but there are differences in performance. Our descriptions of the picks above will help you choose the best AA batteries for a variety of uses.

Q: What’s the difference between AA and AAA batteries?

An AA battery (also called a double a battery) is physically larger than an AAA (triple a) battery. Although they are both rated at 1.5V, they are not interchangeable. Additionally, because an AA battery is larger, it’s normally capable of supplying charge for longer than a AAA version.

Q: Are lithium AA batteries better than alkaline?

Lithium AA batteries are more expensive than alkaline versions, but maintain performance for longer. They are definitely the better choice for gadgets that need a lot of power. However, for low-power devices, AA alkaline batteries are fine, and are significantly cheaper.

Q: How long do AA batteries last?

Most manufacturers give the shelf life of AA batteries as between five and 10 years, though up to 20 years is possible. How long they last in use varies tremendously, and depends on the device being powered. In a high-drain device like a digital camera they might last just a few hours. In a smoke detector, these batteries should last six months or more.

Final Thoughts on the Best AA Batteries

The Energizer Ultimate Lithium is an easy pick as the best AA battery. The LiFeS2 chemistry makes them more powerful, for longer, than any rival. They’re expensive, but if you need to rely on a battery for your digital camera, or other important equipment, they’re worth the investment. The Amazon Basics alkaline is what everyone likes to keep in a drawer for when the clock stops or the TV remote isn’t working. They’re cheap and perfectly adequate for low-drain devices.

Why Trust Us

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Online shopping is hard. Search for any product and you’ll be confronted with dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of choices. Our mission at Futurism, where we cover the latest technology, is to simplify this experience by researching, testing, and continuing to evaluate products so we only recommend choices that are actually worth your time.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

Understanding How Batteries Work

Batteries power everything from life-saving pacemakers to our lifestyle-facilitating cell phones. They also allow us to transport electrical power wherever we need it, from the South Pole to the Amazon and everywhere in between, providing light, heat, communications, and more.Batteries power everything from life-saving pacemakers to our lifestyle-facilitating cell phones. They also allow us to transport electrical power wherever we need it, from the South Pole to the Amazon and everywhere in between, providing light, heat, communications, and more.

Almost all of us will have relied on batteries at some point, perhaps reaching for a flashlight during a power outage. Our interconnectivity with batteries means we rarely stop to ask, “How do batteries work?” This guide covers everything you need to know about batteries, from their 18th-century beginnings to why you shouldn’t charge a cold car battery.

Introduction to Batteries

Batteries give us a portable electric current or electricity and the ability to store energy. Energy is omnipresent throughout the universe in various forms.

Electricity is the movement of electrons between atoms, where electrons bang into each other to create an electrical flow. Batteries do not store electricity — they hold electrical energy in chemicals contained within the battery. What a battery does is convert its stored chemical energy into electric current.

How Do Batteries Work?

Let’s look at a classic AA battery, commonly used in remote controls, toys, and more. At one end of the battery is a negative end, called an anode At the other end is a positive end, called the cathode. Both the anode and cathode are also known as electrodes or electrical terminals.

The battery’s body separates these negative and positive electrodes. Within the battery’s body are electrolytes, which act as a sort of barrier between the anode and cathode. These three parts form what is called an electrochemical cell — two electrodes (the anode and cathode) — separated by an electrolyte (the battery’s body). A battery consists of several of these cells.

When a battery sits idle, not making an electrical circuit, the electrolytes and electrodes are dormant. As soon as you make a circuit, for example, by putting the battery into a flashlight and turning it on, a chemical reaction begins.

The anode, our negative electrode, reacts with the electrolytes and produces electrons, which build up at the battery’s negative terminal. The anode is usually made from a material that likes to give up electrons, also known as an oxidation or oxidized material.

At the positive terminal, the cathode electrode reacts with electrolytes to create ions — atoms with too few or too many electrons. The cathode is made from a metal oxide that likes to collect both ions and electrons.

As the saying goes, opposites attract. The electrons want to travel from the negative terminal (anode) to the positive terminal (cathode). The electrolytes act as a barrier to the electrons and the electrons cannot travel through the battery’s body. At the same time, charged ions flow through the electrolyte solution that is in contact with both electrodes.

With our flashlight, we make an external circuit when we insert batteries and turn on the flashlight. The blocked flow of electrons looks for the path of least resistance. The electrons want to leave the anode and travel to the cathode.

Our electrons find that the external circuit offers the path of least resistance to move through the external circuit we have created. They flow from the anode through the flashlight’s wires and light bulb to the cathode. They recombine with the ions at the positive terminal to complete the circuit and illuminate the bulb en route. Remember, electricity is the movement of electrons between atoms.

This process is known as reduction-oxidation. or a redox reaction, the scientific term for any reaction involving the exchange of electrons.

A battery’s electrolyte can only perform this chemical reaction a certain number of times before it no longer produces ions and the battery is flat.

What Is Inside a Battery?

We’ve looked at the three main parts of a battery: the negative electrode (anode), the positive electrode (cathode), and the electrolytes that separate these electrodes.

Let’s look at the components of an AA-size alkaline-manganese dioxide battery, also known as alkaline batteries.

Externally, the battery has steel-plated positive and negative electrodes, and the main steel body is covered with a PVC label.

Internally, the battery has a brass rod acting as a central shaft that acts as a current collector. A separator surrounds this brass rod to keep it away from the electrolyte solution. There are two types of electrolytes within the battery — the anode has a gel of powdered zinc and the cathode has manganese dioxide. There are various seals and washers, too.

Batteries with different materials for their electrodes and electrolytes produce different chemical reactions. These affect how the battery works, from its voltage to energy storage capacity. For example, there would be no flow of electrons if we used the same material for the electrodes.

connect, batteries, series, parallel

For a more in-depth look, watch this video about the battery-making process.

Different Types of Batteries

There are many types of batteries. The first distinction to make is whether the battery is a primary battery or a secondary battery.There are many types of batteries. The first distinction to make is whether the battery is a primary battery or a secondary battery.

Simply put, a primary battery is not rechargeable, and a secondary battery is rechargeable. Generally speaking, a primary battery has more energy density than a secondary battery, meaning a primary battery can provide power for longer than a secondary battery. Another important difference: We can recharge and recycle secondary batteries but only recycle exhausted primary batteries.

There are several types of batteries within the two classifications of primary and secondary batteries. Let’s look at primary batteries first.

What Are the Three Main Types of Primary Batteries?

We use primary batteries in many important aspects of our lives thanks to their longevity. A pacemaker is a fantastic example of primary battery use — we can’t just keep operating on people whose pacemaker battery needs recharging.

Primary batteries are also known as dry cell batteries. But they are not dry. The term comes from the fact that the battery’s contents cannot be spilled, no matter its position. Different materials set each battery apart, with each material altering the battery’s power and lifespan. There are three main types of primary batteries:

  • Zinc carbon : Also known as the Leclanché battery after its French inventor George Leclanché. was one of the first batteries available and remains one of the cheapest to this day. As you likely guessed, its electrodes are made of zinc and carbon. These batteries come in cylindrical and rectangular shapes and tend to have a relatively short lifespan. They work better with low-energy demand appliances such as toys or TV remote controls. In addition, modern zinc carbon batteries may use zinc chloride to increase their potential; these are often called “heavy duty” batteries.
  • Alkaline: The alkaline battery rose to prominence around a century ago. It uses different materials than a zinc carbon battery. Rectangular and cylindrical alkaline batteries have a zinc anode and a manganese dioxide cathode, with potassium hydroxide as their electrolyte. There are many practical advantages to alkaline batteries compared to zinc carbon batteries, with longer and more powerful discharges, greater storage life, and better ability to function in colder conditions.

There are more subsets of alkaline batteries, too, whose power depends on its electrodes — the electrolyte remains potassium hydroxide.

Finally, button batteries. such as those used in watches and hearing aids, have a zinc anode and a silver oxide cathode. Button batteries are expensive, renowned for their long life, and offer high discharges.

You can create an alkaline battery with a nearly unlimited shelf life called a zinc air battery by changing the electrodes again. A zinc anode combined with an oxygen cathode makes an alkaline battery used in hearing aids, pagers, watches, and more. Zinc air batteries have the highest energy density of all disposable batteries and come in cylindrical, 9-volt, and coin shapes.

  • Lithium: These batteries complete the primary battery section and are among the more expensive batteries. They are commonly used in digital cameras and other small appliances. Lithium batteries. which are usually cylindrical or button types, use an organic electrolyte. Lower volt (1.6V) lithium batteries have a lithium anode and an iron sulfide cathode, while higher volt (2.8-3.2V) lithium batteries swap iron sulfide for manganese dioxide cathodes.

What Are the Types of Secondary, or Rechargeable, Batteries?

There are also three types of secondary, or rechargeable, batteries. Like primary batteries, there are alkaline and lithium types secondary batteries. The third type of rechargeable battery is a lead-acid battery, famous for use as a car battery. Similarly, changing the battery’s raw materials affects its performance and uses. You should always recycle rechargeable batteries because their valuable components can be reused.

These are not just car batteries; they are also used in wheelchairs and emergency power sources. Lead-acid batteries are heavy, cheap to manufacture, and have an extended life. They feature lead anodes, lead dioxide cathodes, and sulfuric acid electrolytes.

There are two types of alkaline rechargeable batteries. Nickel-cadmium batteries, also known as Ni-Cd or NiCAd batteries, were widespread when people started using rechargeable batteries for toys, personal music players, toys, and so on. They performed and recharged well, but the toxic cadmium was challenging to recycle.

The cadmium anode was replaced by a lanthanide or nickel alloy anode to create the nickel-metal hydride battery or NiMH. These are much safer than the Ni-CD batteries, offer excellent power supply, and recharge well. You’ll see cylindrical and rectangular rechargeable NiMH batteries on sale, and they are used in electric cars.

3) Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our relationship with batteries. Our cell phones, laptops, and electric cars run on these quick-charging batteries. They use carbon anode and lithium cobalt dioxide cathodes, and an organic electrolyte. Lithium-ion batteries are also used at giant battery farms to capture excess renewable power for later use.

What Are the Different Sizes of Batteries?

Batteries are similar to boxes and cupboards when it comes to thinking about storage. The bigger the battery, the more electrolytes it contains, and the more electrical charge it offers. The most common battery sizes in our day-to-day-lives are:

  • AA batteries: Known as double-A batteries, these are cylindrical and the most commonly found batteries for millions of gadgets.
  • AAA batteries: Also known as triple-A batteries, these are smaller than AA batteries and often used in TV remotes and gadgets that don’t require high power.
  • C batteries : These are bigger than AA or AAA batteries for use in higher-demand items like lanterns, flashlights, and games.
  • D batteries: These are larger still for heavier-duty products that have a high power drain or need to be powered for a long time before.

All the above batteries offer 1.5 volts of power.

The recognizable, rectangular 9-volt battery offers more power, and coin batteries provide long lifespans in a small, coin-shaped design perfect for small gadgets like watches.

There are many more specialist battery types, such as the CR123A. also known as the 123, for security alarms and other specific uses.

What Does Battery Voltage Mean?

A battery’s voltage determines how much electric potential it will create once connected to a circuit. For example, a car battery’s 12 volts is a higher voltage than a AAA battery’s 1.5 volts. This is because a car needs a fair amount of power to start, while a TV remote control only needs smaller triple AAA batteries to work.

Think back to the negative end (anode) and positive end (cathode) of a battery. The term voltage stems from the difference in electric potential between the anode and cathode — the greater the difference, the higher the battery’s voltage.

The term volt honors Alessandro Volta. an Italian physicist who invented the world’s first electrochemical cell in 1800. Volta used a zinc anode and a copper cathode with salt and water as his electrolytic solution. In 1881, Volta’s name was given to the measurement of the difference in the electric potential between the anode and cathode. Thus, what was once called electromotive force (EMF) became known as volt or voltage.

Batteries also list mAh values or milliampere hours. The mAh shows how much electrical energy a battery holds. The higher the mAh value, the more energy the battery can store, the longer it will last, and the longer it will take to recharge, too.

Are Batteries AC or DC?

Batteries offer DC or direct current power, providing a regular, steady, and controllable flow. National grids transport electricity using alternative current (AC), a current that changes direction rapidly.

Are Batteries Capacitors?

Put simply, no; batteries are not capacitors. Batteries store electrical energy. whereas capacitors store energy too, but in an electric field.

Problems Using Batteries

Batteries are a great way to transport power, but it’s not always smooth running. Primary batteries can run out of juice at inopportune times. Also, you may not have your charger handy to recharge batteries or have the correct battery for your appliance.Batteries are a great way to transport power, but it’s not always smooth running. Primary batteries can run out of juice at inopportune times. Also, you may not have your charger handy to recharge batteries or have the correct battery for your appliance.

Can Batteries Get Wet and Still Work?

Water is not suitable for contact with batteries. Water can rust the battery’s structure, sometimes causing it to self-discharge and run out of power. The battery’s degradation may also cause it to leak and stop working and possibly explode.

If you accidentally wash clothes with a battery in the. your washing machine should be fine because any leak will be significantly diluted during the machine’s wash cycle.

Overall, it’s best not to get batteries wet. If they do get wet then it’s advisable to stop using them.

Can Batteries Freeze?

Everything can freeze if the temperature drops low enough. So the question is more, can you use batteries in freezing weather conditions, and can you recharge them?

Each battery is different, but all of them work less efficiently once temperatures drop below freezing. The best advice is not to charge any battery that is frozen.

A fully charged lead-acid car battery can work at temperatures as low as.58 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s low on charge, it could freeze at around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. You can charge them when the ambient temperature is between.4 and 122 Fahrenheit. It’s always best to charge a lead-acid battery at room temperature and not when it is cold or frozen — after all, lead-acid batteries can explode. If in doubt, do not charge the battery and call a professional mechanic to help.

Alkaline batteries work between.4 and 149 Fahrenheit and charge between 32 and 113 Fahrenheit.

Lithium-ion batteries will work between.4 and 140 Fahrenheit and charge between 32 and 113 Fahrenheit.

Are Batteries Allowed on Planes?

Most batteries are allowed on planes — almost everyone carries a laptop, tablet, video game, or cell phone onto a plane.

Dry-cell alkaline and NiMH rechargeable batteries can come into the plane with you, either in your device or in your luggage as spares. These batteries can also be checked into your checked baggage, although it’s best practice to carry them with you aboard. You must only have dry-cell lithium batteries in devices or as spares on board.

Spare batteries should have contacts taped over for the flight and kept in protective cases or plastic bags. Don’t keep extra batteries next to any metal objects because this may cause them to short-circuit and overheat.

If you plan to travel with a spare rechargeable lithium-ion battery, contact your airline for advice in advance. Rechargeable li-ion batteries are generally allowed as carry-on but are often subject to strict size limits.

Can Batteries Be Recycled?

Batteries contain several toxic, harmful, and valuable materials, depending on the battery type. Mercury, lead, lithium, and cobalt are some of a battery’s possible materials and should always be disposed of properly.

Batteries and their components are potentially dangerous and damaging to people, land, animals, and flora. Recycling or returning to the point of manufacture is the best option for exhausted batteries.

Do not put any batteries in the regular trash. Always check with your local or state solid waste disposal section for recycling and disposal methods. Some retailers and manufacturers also accept battery returns, particularly important for automotive and lithium-ion batteries.

Check for recycling centers or use the call2recycle website for information about battery recycling.

The Future of Batteries

Batteries have come a long way from Alessandro Volta’s early invention. However, they still adhere to his discovery that stored chemical energy can be converted into electrical energy. Technological advances mean we know various materials increase the amount of electricity produced, and design has made batteries as versatile as they are helpful.

Lithium-ion batteries offer days of use to cell phone owners and will help power the electric vehicle revolution. Some 145-230 million new electric cars are expected on the world’s roads before 2030, powered by batteries. Utility-scale battery storage farms are set to explode from four-gigawatt capacity in 2019 to 400-gigawatt capacity by 2040, capturing excess renewable energy for later use.

So, how do batteries work? The basic concept is straightforward. A chemical reaction makes electrons leave the battery’s negative end and travel via an electrical circuit to the positive end. This journey by electrons is what gives us portable, reliable electricity in the form of a battery that powers our daily lives.

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What’s The Difference Between Wiring Batteries in Series Vs. Parallel?

Understanding the difference between wiring batteries in series vs. parallel is critical if you have a multiple battery system. How you connect your batteries will determine how they perform in different applications. Let’s look closer at how to wire batteries in series vs. parallel and when each method is appropriate.

What’s The Difference Between Wiring Batteries in Series Vs. Parallel?

The main difference in wiring batteries in series vs. parallel is the impact on the output voltage and the capacity of the battery system. Batteries wired in series will have their voltages added together. Batteries wired in parallel will have their capacities (measured in amp-hours) added together. However, the total available energy (measured in watt-hours) in both configurations is the same.

For example, wiring two 12-volt batteries with 100 Ah capacities in series will output 24 volts with a 100 Ah capacity. Wiring the same two batteries in parallel will output 12 volts with a 200 Ah capacity. Thus, both systems have a total available energy of 2400 watt-hours (watt-hours = volts x amp-hours).

Additionally, batteries wired in series and parallel configurations should all have the same voltage and capacity rating. Mixing and matching voltages and capacities can lead to problems that may damage your batteries.

Wiring Batteries in Series

To wire multiple batteries in series, connect the positive terminal of each battery to the negative terminal of the next. Then, measure the system’s total output voltage between the negative terminal of the first battery and the positive terminal of the last battery in series. Let’s look at two examples to make this clear.

The first example is two 100 Ah batteries wired in series. As you can see, the positive terminal on the first battery is connected to the negative terminal on the second. Thus, the total system voltage is 24 volts, and the total capacity is 100 Ah.

The second example is wired the same way but with a third battery. The voltages of all three batteries add together, resulting in a system voltage of 36 volts, but the capacity remains at 100 Ah.


The power a device consumes is equal to its operating voltage multiplied by the current it draws. For example, a 360-watt device operating at 12 volts would draw 30 amps (12 x 30 = 360). That same device operating at 24 volts would only draw 15 amps (24 x 15 = 360).

Wiring batteries in series provides a higher system voltage which results in a lower system current. Less current means you can use thinner wiring and will suffer less voltage drop in the system.

In addition to power draw, charging works the same way. Consider an MPPT solar charge controller rated at 50amps. a 50A x 12V controller could only handle 600 watts of solar, but at 24Vx50A it could handle 1200 watts!

In general, operating larger power systems can see big benefits in running batteries in series at higher voltages.


In a battery system wired in series, you cannot get lower voltages off the battery bank without using a converter. Either all equipment needs to function at the higher voltage or an additional converter is needed to use 12V appliances on the system.

Wiring Batteries in Parallel

To wire multiple batteries in parallel, you connect all of the positive terminals together and all of the negative terminals together. Since all of the positive and negative terminals are connected, you can measure the system output voltage across any two positive and negative battery terminals. Let’s look at two examples to make this clear.

The first example is two 100 Ah batteries wired in parallel. The positive terminal on the first battery is connected to the positive terminal on the second. Likewise, the negative terminals of both batteries are also connected. The total system voltage is 12 volts, and the total capacity is 200 Ah.

The second example is wired the same way but with a third battery. The capacities of all three batteries add together, resulting in a total capacity of 300 Ah at 12 volts.


The main advantage of wiring batteries in parallel is that you increase the available runtime of your system while maintaining the voltage. Since the amp-hour capacities are additive, two batteries in parallel double your runtime, three batteries triple it, and so on.

Another advantage to wiring batteries in parallel is that if one of your batteries dies or has an issue, the remaining batteries in the system can still provide power.


The main drawback to wiring batteries in parallel vs. series is that the system voltage will be lower, resulting in a higher current draw. Higher current means thicker cables and more voltage drop. Larger power appliances and generation are harder to operate and less efficient when operating at lower voltages.

How Many Batteries Can You Wire In Series?

The limit on how many batteries you can wire in series typically depends on the battery and manufacturer. For example, Battle Born allows up to four of their lithium batteries to be wired in series to create a 48-volt system. Always check with your battery manufacturer to ensure you do not exceed their recommended limit of batteries in series.

How Many Batteries Can You Wire In Parallel?

There is no limit to how many batteries you can wire in parallel. The more batteries you add in a parallel circuit, the more capacity and longer runtime you will have available. Keep in mind that the more batteries you have in parallel, the longer it will take to charge the system.

With very large parallel battery banks comes much higher current availability as well. This means the proper system fusing is critical to prevent accidental shorts that could have catastrophic consequences with so much current available.

Can You Wire Batteries in Series and Parallel?

You cannot wire the same batteries in series and parallel as you would short the system, but you can wire sets of batteries in series and parallel to create a larger battery bank at a higher voltage.

The photo below wires two batteries in series to get 24V then that set is wired in parallel to another set of 24V batteries. Think of each set of series batteries as one battery. You must “create” another set of batteries equal to the voltage of the first to wire them in parallel.

Here is another graphic of our heated lithium batteries wired in a series-parallel configuration. This setup would yield a 24V 200AH bank. While the amp hour is smaller, the power is the same because of the higher voltage.

Charging Batteries in Series Vs. Parallel

Besides making sure you have the correct voltage charger, batteries in series vs. parallel charge the same way. For batteries wired in series, connect the positive charger cable to the positive terminal on the first battery in series and the negative charger cable to the negative terminal on the last battery in the series. For even charge across a parallel bank, connect your charge in the same fashion: positive connect to first battery, and negative connected to last battery.

Optionally, a multi-bank battery charger may provide faster charge times for series and parallel battery banks. As always, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation for the best way to charge your batteries.

➡ Also be sure to read our article on Charging Lithium Batteries: The Basics.

FAQ: Do Batteries Last Longer In Series Or Parallel?

Series connections provide a higher voltage which is slightly more efficient. This means that batteries wired in series can last marginally longer than batteries wired in parallel. However, batteries connected in series vs. parallel will provide roughly the same amount of runtime. Let’s take a look at a quick example that explains why this is true.

Two 12-volt batteries with a 100 Ah capacity are powering a 240-watt device. These two batteries wired in series will provide 24 volts and 100 Ah of capacity. The current draw of the device will be ten amps (24 x 10 = 240). The theoretical runtime of the series system is 100 Ah divided by ten amps, which is ten hours.

Conversely, the same two batteries in parallel provide 12-volts and 200 Ah of capacity. The device’s current draw in this setup is 20 amps (12 x 20 = 240). The theoretical runtime of the parallel system is 200 Ah divided by 20 amps, which is also ten hours.

Batteries in Series Vs. Parallel: Which Is For You?

Deciding between connecting your batteries in series vs. parallel is often dictated by the needs of the devices you’re powering. For general boat and RV applications wiring batteries in parallel provides the simplest wiring and common voltage, however, for large applications beyond 3000 watts of power, using higher voltage series connections might be best. Now that you understand how each wiring configuration works, you can determine the best option for your needs and proceed with confidence.

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