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More about Batteries
Scooter and Power Wheelchair Battery Types
When looking for batteries for scooters and powered wheelchairs, a deep-cycle, sealed gel or AGM design is best, and here is why:
Deep-cycle batteries are specially designed to provide a constant flow of power over long periods, and capable of being recharged regularly without any issues. Gel batteries provide safe use with minimal maintenance, are proven to provide high-quality performance and a significantly longer life in comparison to other types – AGM Batteries average one to two years, when correctly charged.
Sealed gel or AGM batteries means that no water needs to be added, thus removing the need for maintenance and providing security from a convenience and safety perspective. AGM batteries are generally chosen for lighter duty mobility use. Although they do not match with the gel battery life cycle performance, they are lower in cost and still supply adequate functionality to cater to the needs of mobility applications with lighter usage.
These battery types are also subject to high quality manufacturing standards which ensures they can last longer than other battery types between charges, have been approved for airline and public transportation, can be recharged before full discharge and do not develop a ‘charging memory’ which can limit charging capability over time. Plus, they will not automatically discharge when placed on concrete.
Charging and Storing
The following instructions should be used to ensure your batteries are correctly charged:
- The automatic charger provided by the manufacturer should be used for all regular charging
- An automotive or ‘wet-type’ charger should never be used as this could cause damage to sealed or AGM batteries
- Do not allow the battery to completely run out of charge
- Do not frequently charge the battery for ‘top-up’. Instead charge in full cycle between 8 and 12 hours per charging cycle.
For daily mobility users who use their equipment for travel outside the home, batteries for scooters and wheelchairs should be charged overnight. For those who use the vehicle only occasionally charging should be carried out before any required use and afterwards. Remember to charge between 8 – 12 hours to ensure a full charging cycle is completed.
Batteries should be fully charged, checked every month and recharged as needed while stored. Sealed gel and AGM batteries tend to hold charge for up to six months. If a wheelchair or scooter is being stored for two weeks or more, the batteries should be first charged and then disconnected. Finally, extreme temperature areas should not be used for storage purposes.
There are some safety considerations that need to be made when dealing with all batteries as they can be hazardous. Batteries for scooters and wheelchairs contain lead and sulfuric acid which are toxic, and when batteries are charged, they produce hydrogen gas which is highly flammable. Sealed Gel and AGM batteries minimise the risk of explosion with their sealed properties, however proper care should be taken with charging and maintenance procedures to further decrease the threat. Users should take care not to allow contact between the battery terminals and any jewellery such as a watch or bracelet as this can cause shocks, sparks, smoke or fire. Scooter batteries should also be recycled via an approved agency to avoid pollution – if batteries are not disposed of correctly owners can be fined or prosecuted.