Series Vs Parallel Connection: What Should You Pick?

There’s no doubt that lithium batteries show the best performance out of all batteries available right now on the market. But sometimes having a single lithium battery doesn’t get the job done. When you’re faced with a situation like that, it’s when you feel the necessity of multiple batteries,

And here comes an important question. What should be the orientation of the connection that you need to be using? There are mainly two ways that this can be done: in series or in parallel. Which one is the best?

That’s what we want to help you understand today. The answer to this question will depend on several things. We’re going to talk about those and suggest series vs parallel connections for the tasks accordingly.

No matter what kind of specifications you need for your battery make sure to check out Thinpack power. We offer custom battery manufacturing services for your every need.

Without any further ado, let’s see which one is better in series vs parallel connection.

What Are the differences between Series Vs Parallel Connection?

There are obvious differences between a series vs parallel connection. What are the main differences between the two connection types?

Before we reveal the answer, here’s what you need to consider. Do you need more voltage output or do you need increased capacity? The orientation for your connection will depend entirely on the answer to this question.

Series Vs Parallel Connection
Series Vs Parallel Connection

There are certain electrical devices out there, where the output voltage matters more than the capacity. In those situations, you need a series connection. The final output voltage comes out as the sum of the voltages of all the batteries.

And a parallel connection is best for when the system needs to last longer. It’s the perfect configuration when you need more capacity vs output voltage.

Keep in mind that neither of these connections increases the overall available energy for the two batteries.

An Example

Take a look at this practical example. It should help you understand the differences better. Say that you have a battery system comprised of two 24V lithium batteries. And each one has a capacity of 100 Ah.

For the series connection, you will be left with 24V+24V or 48V of total output voltage. This means that the flow of electrical current will be much higher compared to a single lithium battery.

As for the parallel connection, you will get 100+100 or 200 Ah of capacity. This will result in an increased runtime for the whole system.

No matter which connection you end up going with, make sure that the batteries used are identical. That means the exact same voltage and capacity. If you mix and match, you’ll have to deal with several problems that are not limited to just battery damage.

Wiring Batteries in Series Vs Parallel Connection

If you’ve paid attention up until now, you should pretty much know how series vs parallel connection works. But how do you do it? You can just connect wires from one battery to another and be done with it.

To ensure that you have connected the batteries properly in the desired connections, there are some techniques that you need to follow. Let’s see these in more detail.

Series Connection

The idea behind the series connection is fairly straightforward. Think of it like connecting the different cars in a train. In order for the connection to work, the positive ends of the batteries have to be connected with the negative ends of the next battery. The connection is made with wires.

You can find out if the connection is made properly, you will need to measure the combined output voltage of the entire system. In order to measure the total voltage you will need a voltmeter.

Series Connection Demo
Series Connection Demo

You will need to attach the positive probe to the +ve terminal of the first battery. The negative probe on the other hand gets attached to the negative end of the last battery in the connection.

If you followed the orientation that we mentioned, you should see the output voltage reading in the voltmeter. To check if the reading is correct, do the math and compare your results. The voltmeter reading should be close to that sum.

Since the batteries are connected in series, you will not notice a change in the capacity of the system. Continuing with the previous example, you will have 100Ah capacity for the entire system in series.

Parallel Connection

We’ve got the wiring for series connection out of the way. But for parallel connectins, it’s a completely different setup. Let’s check it out.

To achieve a parallel connection, every single one of the positive end and negative ends need to be connected together. This process will repeat for all of the negative terminals as well.

After you have everything wired properly, it’s time to test and see whether the capacity of the lithium battery system increased or not. This time, we will need an ammeter which can correctly measure the ampere rating of the lithium batteries.

Parallel Connection Demo
Parallel Connection Demo

Since the terminals are sharing the same connection, you can pretty much place the measuring probes anywhere in the connection and get the capacity reading.

It doesn’t have to be two terminals of the same battery. You can mix and match which terminals you want to measure across.

So if you have 3 batteries connected in parallel with 150 Ah capacity each, the measurement reading will give you 450 Ah in capacity.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Series Vs Parallel Connections

If you’ve read up until this point, you should now know how to wire lithium batteries in series vs parallel connection. But now, we’d like to draw your attention to the advantages and disadvantages of using a series vs parallel connection. Let’s start with the series connection first.

Advantages of Series Connection
Advantages of Series Connection

Advantages of Series Connection

  1. As we’ve seen, the series connection can increase the total output voltage. This results in the requirement of a lower system current.
  2. In a series connection, you can get away with thin wiring. You can also get a lower voltage drop across the entire system as well.
  3. With a high-voltage battery system, you can benefit from quicker charging as well.

Disadvantages of Series Connection

  1. You can’t have a different operating voltage for a single battery connected in the series configuration. There’s no way that you can decrease the voltage without an additional voltage converter.
  2. If you have an electrical appliance where you have separate voltage requirements, you will need to use additional batteries or the converter mentioned above.

Now that we have the details of the series connection out of the way, let’s look at the parallel connection.

Advantages of Parallel Connection
Advantages of Parallel Connection

Advantages of Parallel Connection

  1. As you are increasing the capacity of the batteries, the more of them you have, the higher the output voltage.
  2. Even if one of the batteries in the system becomes faulty or dies, the rest of the batteries can keep supplying power without any interruption.

Disadvantages of Parallel Connection

  1. The only main disadvantage of a parallel connection system is that although you have an increased capacity, the system voltage will be lower. This will leave you with a high current draw that will require thicker cables.
  2. As you are just adding onto the battery capacity it’s going to take just as long to fully charge.

Choosing Between Series Vs Parallel Connection

How do you take the final decision between series vs parallel connection? The first thing that you do is consider what requirements you have.

For appliances that require a higher voltage, the choice is obvious. You’ll be needing a series connection. This is typically the case for machines that need more than 3000 watts of power.

You want simpler wiring with a shared voltage across multiple batteries for vehicles such as RVs and boats. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that you need a parallel connection for that.

Since you know the general idea behind using a series vs parallel connection, you can easily decide which one you want to go for. Always start by considering the power needs and you’ll be good to go.

Wrapping Things Up

Choosing the connection type for your electrical appliance can be as difficult as finding the right lithium battery. Fortunately for you, at Thinpack, we’re ready to assist you with both things.

As we mentioned, if you need a custom battery order placed, feel free to contact us. If you need advice regarding the configuration that you need to be using, contact customer support to get assistance.

If you want to learn more about lithium batteries and how they work, make sure to check out our guides on them on the website. Stay with Thinpack Power for all your lithium battery needs.

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