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Battery Charging checklist and advice

Battery Charging checklist and advice

Battery Charging advice for Powered Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs

When you are ready to charge your scooter or Power chair, please follow these guidelines for best results

One of the most avoidable mistakes with powered mobility products is battery issues that arise from poor charging regimes, here is a quick guide to getting the most from your charger and batteries, the better the charging regime the longer they should last. However it is always important to follow the manufacturers guidance in the handbook or user instructions for your product. Most of theses are now downloadable from the manufacturers respective websites.

One of the most common misunderstandings around mobility products and batteries is that there are almost always 2 batteries, sometimes they are in one big box or holder but its important to realise that Mobility products such as Powered wheelchairs or Mobility Scooters run on 24volts (2x12V) batteries, the only exceptions might be the models that use Lithium ion cells but these are the minority and most of them are among the super portable and lightweight models.

Tempting as it is, cheap batteries are exactly that, a good battery can last between 3-5 years and in theory some people only change one set of batteries in the lifetime of the product.  As most folk will rely heavily on the machine they use, particularly Powered Wheelchair users, they will not want to be getting poor range, or poor lifecycle from using cheap batteries. Osteopoise only use quality batteries that have proven themselves over time and our customers know that they can positively rely on our expertise and backup service to keep them mobile. so here are our top tips for happy charging.

Frequency of charging:  Our general advice is based on the following statement.

Batteries give longer service and better performance the more often they are used & charged, it is the cycle of use and charging that they thrive on.  They don’t like little use and long gaps between charges.  If however this cannot be avoided then the following advice will help especially point 6&7

If you don’t use or need the product very often or  say during the winter and your usage is less,  we would suggest you charge the product at least once every 2-3 weeks if its kept indoors in a warm house and definitely before you plan to use the scooter or wheelchair. if your product is kept in a shed or garage where the temperature can drop significantly, you may want to charge at least once a week during very cold periods.

Why are my batteries not holding a charge or my range is reduced?

There are a number of reasons that the range might vary.  The top 3 reasons include the age of the batteries, environmental factors such as terrain, gradients heat or cold.  The charging regime or how well they have been maintained, maintenance is just a way of saying how well and how often that have been charged as per the 10 commandments below.  However the fourth factor would be the charger itself and whether is is performing correctly. this is why we ask clients to see the whole machine and not just the batteries when they report an issue as the charging/charger may be the root problem, batteries always get the blame when in fact it might be charging related and that can include the charging loom on the machine as well as the charger so a full diagnostic will always reveal the problem.

So here are out 10 commandments for charging & battery life.

  1. Check and ensure that the vehicle is turned off.
  2. Make sure the power socket on the wall is also turned off
  3. For chargers that have a removable power cable, i.e. the cable that plugs into the wall socket also detaches from the charger, normally a kettle lead type socket, please make sure that the cable is secure at the wall and on the charger.
  4. Make all of the connections when the chair or scooter and charger, wall socket etc. are all OFF.
  5. When all of the connections are made and secure, turn the power on at the socket (wall) and check for the power light on the charger, depending on the type of charger you may also have a charge level light as well, this will normally move along or down the scale to indicate the charging progress or change from one colour to another or change from a slow blink to a constant glow, depending on to your particular charger. Refer to your product user manual.
  6. Regardless of the charger type or the charge level indicator, please leave the product on charge for a minimum of 8-12 hrs without interruption, It will not harm the batteries if you do leave it on for longer as the charger will cut off automatically when the batteries are full and will then revert to safe mode. please resist the temptation to take them off charge just because the charger says its full.  Please leave them on for at least 8-12 hours, ideally over night when its cheaper and you are less likely to use the product.
  7. Please avoid short “top ups” or trying to boost the charge between uses.  this simply does not work and will reduce efficiency over time.
  8. All mobility batteries are designed for long deep cycles of charge and discharge. Use your product normally throughout the day and put it on charge last thing and leave on charge overnight, the bigger the battery the longer the charge. Short charging cycles reduce the life of the battery and you will need to replace them sooner.
  9. Do not use a timer, smart plug or leave the chair connected to the charger when the wall socket is turned off. This will drain the battery.  
  10. Do not plug or unplug the charger from the chair or scooter when the charger is turned on. Always turn the charger off at the wall and then disconnect from the Scooter or wheelchair.