Basic battery pack wiring to achieve specific voltage and amp-hour capacities

reikiman's picture

Refer to Electrical basic measurements and values for basic electric vehicle for basic electrical values. More details about batteries are in: EV Batteries

Batteries come with voltage values which depend on the battery chemistry, and on the arrangement of battery cells to form the battery pack. The amp-hour capacity is based on the battery chemistry, and essentially how heavy the battery is because the more material in the battery the more electrical charge it can store.

Typical per-battery-cell voltages are:-

  • Lead acid: 12 volts (technically lead acid batteries are delivered as multiple cells packaged as one battery)
  • NiMH: 1.2 volts
  • Lithium ION: 3.7 volts
  • LiFePO4: 3.2 volts

How do we get a 36 volt, 48 volt, 120 volt (or more) battery pack? It's simply done by wiring the batteries in parallel or serial fashion to get the desired numbers.

In a series-connected battery pack the measurements come out as follows:

voltage = volts-per-cell * number-of-cells
amp-hours = amps-hours-per-cell

In other words, for a series connected pack the voltages add based on the number of cells. However the amp-hour capacity does not increase.

A big assumption in this is that each battery in the pack has the same rating. It's best to have matched batteries in a battery pack. It's been observed that in a mismatched pack cells with less capacity will cause the rest of the pack to work harder, and the pack becomes damaged more quickly.

In a parallel-connected battery pack the measurements are the reverse of the series-connected ones:

voltage = volts-per-cell
amp-hours = amp-hours-per-cell * number-of-cells

You can also combine techniques if necessary, to create a series-parallel battery pack

You can wire a series-parallel pack as shown (wire the batteries in parallel "strings", and connect each string in series) or the other way around (wire them in series strings, connecting each string in parallel). The effect will be the same, namely:

voltage = volts-per-string * number-of-strings
amp-hours = amp-hours-per-string * number-of-strings

Adapted from: Electrical Basics covering batteries in electric vehicles

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kevin smith's picture

What if i was to use 100ah. Lithium ion......????? or lifepo4........????? battery pack.

Which pack would charge up the quickest if i used same quantity, and .

Which pack would be the lightest.?? And which pack is the best.

for long range i/e 120+ MILES range as i want to be able to go to the seaside when ever i like .
And go on long range rides...??

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