The majority of people who own an electric wheelchair charge their vehicle every night, but many people have no idea how to check or maintain the battery that gives their chair its power. In order to get the most out of your wheelchair and keep it in good working condition, you’ll need to follow these steps when caring for your battery. If you don’t properly care for your wheelchair battery, you risk damaging or having it die altogether, leaving you stranded in your chair with no way to charge or fix it!
What is an electric wheelchair battery?
Almost all wheelchair batteries are 12volts, but commonly wheelchairs are powered by a 24volt system. Meaning that you need two 12 volt batteries connected in series to power your electric wheelchair. So let's talk about chemistry. There are two different types of electric wheelchair batteries that you can use. First and most common is the Deep Cycle AGM batteries these are a type of sealed lead-acid battery. Secondly, Gel batteries are also a type of sealed lead-acid battery. The basic difference between AGM and gel batteries is how the electrolyte is stored inside the battery. In the more common Deep Cycle AGM battery, the electrolyte is held in each cell by a series of fiberglass separators that hold the solution between the battery's plates. In a gel battery, the electrolyte contains a silica additive that turns the electrolyte into a substance that looks most like a Gel. One other important thing to explain is what is a Deep cycle battery? Deep cycle batteries are engineered to provide a steady supply of energy to items that need power for a long time. This enhanced cycle life means they can be used for hours at a time, making them perfect for power wheelchairs.
How to charge a dead wheelchair battery?
There's a lot of information out there regarding proper battery charging. Here we're only going to talk about the do's and don't of how to charge a dead wheelchair battery! One of the most important things you can do is FULLY charge your wheelchair batteries after every use if possible. You DO NOT need to "Fully Discharge" your wheelchair batteries before recharging them. That is simply bad information. In fact, the more often you FULLY recharge your wheelchair batteries the longer they will last. Reducing your depth of discharge is the ultimate way to increase the cycle life of your batteries. Similar to the above, try not to let your batteries sit in a discharged state. If the batteries sit at a voltage that is less than 100%, sulfation will occur and sulfation will build upon the plates and cause premature failure and decreased cycle life. The time it takes to charge your batteries will ultimately vary with the age of the battery, and the level of discharge it's sitting at. A safe rule of thumb is to let your electric wheelchair charge for at least 8hrs overnight. This should ensure that you're getting a proper charge and you're starting the next day with a full charge!
Why does my wheelchair lose power sometimes?
Often times the connection on the electric wheelchairs batteries can become loose. We recommend that you check your electric wheelchair batteries connections at least every 3-6 months.
Can You Overcharge a Wheelchair Battery?
Both under- and overcharging can be harmful to your battery. For that reason, it's important to monitor the charging process to make sure that batteries are charging for the proper amount of time. Alternatively, you can pick up a smart or automatic charger. Automatic chargers monitor your battery to maintain the ideal charge. They will automatically switch themselves off to avoid overcharging your battery and begin charging again once your battery begins to discharge.
Can you charge a wheelchair battery with a car charger?
While not recommended for consistent use. You can charge each 12 volt battery individually, because most all automotive battery chargers are only 12 volt chargers. It is very important to make sure all series connections are unconnected and the 12 volt charger is only connected to a single 12 volt battery. If the electric wheel chair is a 12 volt system with two batteries in parallel. It would be acceptable to charge both batteries at the same time using a 12volt automotive charger. Another important reminder, is that we do not recommend using any automotive charger that charges at more than 8amps.
How long do wheelchair batteries last?
On average, a wheelchair's battery will last anywhere from 1-2 years. If you get a lower-quality battery, you may get about 6 months' worth of battery power instead. Although the type of battery influences the power and life of the battery, other factors are also important, including the charging history of the battery, the geographic environment the chair was used, the weight of the wheelchair's user and the quality of the components used in the wheelchair.
What are the best ways to extend the life of your electric wheelchair battery?
Extending the life of your wheelchair batteries is very simple.
1.) Charge fully after every use
2.) If possible, minimize the amount of energy that you're taking from the battery
3.) Never store the wheelchair without the batteries being charged first.
4.) Check the connections on your battery once every 90days.
When do I replace my wheelchair batteries?
Eventually, the wheelchair battery begins to deliver less power over the day and must be recharged more often. This is a sign of the battery losing capacity, the battery loses capacity as the number of cycles increases over the course of the battery's life. Traditionally, you will replace the electric wheelchair battery every 2 years. If the battery is allowed to get to the point where the charge won't last an entire day, it's probably time to look at replacing your wheelchair battery. Electric Wheelchair Batteries
How to test an electric wheelchair charger?
To check if a battery charger is working, check the voltage at the output plug with a multimeter. This can be done by plugging the charger into the wall outlet, switching it on if there is a power switch, and if the charger has an output voltage higher than the battery of the scooter, bike, or go-karts rated battery pack, then the charger is working. If the charger has no output Voltage then it is most likely broken, worn out, has a blown fuse, or has a faulty output plug.
If you still need have questions about your wheelchair batteries, please give us a call!
We're here to help 1-833-260-2005. We're always happy to help our customers with any questions they may have about their wheelchair batteries.