A question we get asked often is: “How should I charge my wheelchair/scooter batteries?” or “Why do my batteries run low so quickly?”
Normally, we answer these questions with a question of our own: “How have you been charging your batteries?” The answer to that question runs the gamut from: “All the time.” to “An hour or two when it needs it.” Both of these charging scenarios will produce unacceptable and expensive results.
Next, we proceed to explain the difference between the battery in your car and the batteries in your mobility device. The battery in your car is designed to let all of its power go at a very fast rate. This flow of power is similar to water flowing from a large pip. On the other hand, the batteries in a mobility device are designed to let its power out slowly over a long period of time. This flow of power is similar to water flowing from a small tube.
The arrangement of slow flowing power is what enables you to ride your mobility device over a long period of time without draining the battery. This same design also means that the batteries in your mobility device take a long time to fully charge because of the slower flow of power they are able to receive.
Improper charging of the batteries in your mobility device greatly reduces their lifetime. Batteries are continuing to increase in price just like gasoline and food so making them last as long as possible is very important to your wallet and mobility budget.
The following is my recommendation for proper battery care:
To break in new batteries for maximum efficiency:
- Fully recharge any new battery prior to its initial use. This brings the battery up to about 90% of its peak performance level.
- Operate your mobility device throughout the house and yard. Move slowly at first, and don’t stray too far until you become accustomed to the controls and break-in the batteries.
- Give the batteries another full charge of 8 to 14 hours and operate your mobility device again. The batteries will now perform at over 90% of their potential.
- After 4 or 5 charging cycles, the batteries will top off at 100% charge and last for an extended period.
Daily use: If you use your wheelchair or scooter on a daily basis, charge the batteries as soon as you are finished using your mobility device. It is recommended that you charge the batteries 8 to 14 hours after daily use.
Infrequent use: If you use your mobility device infrequently (once a week or less), you should charge the batteries at least once per week for 12 to 14 hours.
Keep your batteries fully charge and avoid deeply discharging your batteries. Do not charge the batteries for more than 24 hours at a charging cycle.
Replacing batteries can get very expensive – so remember – Charge More, Get More and Save More!