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Determine How Many Cells In A Battery Pack

Working with batteries and battery packs is sometimes an overwhelming task if your new to it. As a blogger and battery store owner, I get alot of question about batteries. Such as, how many cells in a battery, comes up frequently. How many cells do I need to make a battery pack with a certain voltage. You get the point. Check out the video below to see me explain it.

[message_box title="WARNING" color="red"]Math Ahead!! Run for the hills if you hate it.[/message_box]

Math For Cells In A Battery

The math is actually not that difficult. In fact is only a simple division problem. Lets do a couple examples with the following formula. Use the tables below to get the voltage and cells chemistries used in your battery packs.

Battery Voltage / Cell Chemistry Voltage = Number of Cells

Cordless Phone Battery: 3.6V Ni-CD Battery / 1.2V Ni-CD voltage = 3 Cells
Airsoft Battery: 9.6V Ni-MH Battery / 1.2V Ni-MH voltage = 8 Cells
Laptop Battery: 11.1V Li-Ion Battery / 3.6V Li-Ion voltage = 3 Cells (Actually 6 cells) this is a series-parallel configuration.

I will be explaining in an upcoming post how to determine series-parallel vs series configurations. When to use them and how they work.

Device Cell Orientations and Chemistry Voltages

The table below will help guide you with common battery pack orientations. It can also be used to help you build custom battery packs for your do it yourself project. You may decide that you need a similar pack and need to know how it is constructed. If I have missed any, use the comments to ask me how its built. I would be happy to explain any configuration.

Common Device
Amount of Cells
(Depends on Voltage)
Cells Used
Cell Configuration
Airsoft Battery
6 - 12
Airsoft Lithium Battery
3 - 6
Li-Polymer Packs
Series or Series-Parallel
Cordless Phone
2 - 4
AA, AAA, 2/3A, 4/5A
Laptop (External)
6 - 12
Laptop (Internal)
6 - 12
Li-Polymer Packs
Power Tool Battery
7 - 12


Common Chemistries
Cell Voltage (Nominal)
Ni-CD (Nickel Cadmium)
Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride)
LiFePO4 (Lithium Phosphate)
Li-Ion (Lithium Ion)
3.6V / 3.7V
Lithium (Primary)
Silver Oxide


Still need more information on battery chemistries. A simple google search will find you everything you need but I actually like this article from Battery University. Whats the Best Battery, its explains the advantages and disadvantages of battery chemistries, their charge and discharge characteristics and best suggested application.

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