Looking for some tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery?
I totally understand why; those babies aren’t cheap!
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to save a lot of money in the long run (and more importantly, make sure you’re never caught away from home with a drained power supply).
Just keep reading to see what they are!
Tips on How to Extend the Life of Your Power Wheelchair Battery
For a power wheelchair battery to save you for long, it should be well maintained. Proper. By taking care of your battery, you ensure that your battery’s capacity is not drained that way, increasing its life expectancy.
The following tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery will enable you to understand how to take care of your battery competently. This is to ensure that the battery gives power to your power wheelchair for outdoor use for excellent service.
Even the best wheelchair battery can fail without proper charging, so that should always be your first step.
Even if you do not end up draining your battery during the day, put it on the battery charger every night. Let it remain plugged in by giving it ample time to be fully charged to ensure it remains healthy.
This will also improve the battery cycle by ensuring that it does not get unplugged before it fully charges.
At the same time, though, don’t overcharge it. Like most rechargeable batteries, yours most likely has a “memory.”
Both taking it off and putting it on the charger too soon can potentially mess with the memory, causing your battery to slowly lose effectiveness.
So, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, follow them to the “t,” and always use an approved charger.
2. Do Not Over Drain Your Battery
You should never at any given time drain your batteries beyond 80 percent (in other words, leaving just 20% power).
If this happens, you will kill your battery and not perform as it should. Think of ways to add to your budget for a new backup wheelchair battery to prevent a case of an empty battery.
Focus on draining your battery up to percent not daily but within ten days of usage. Strange as it may seem, this is a remarkable way of improving and saving your battery life.
The temperature at which you charge your wheelchair battery is quite important. Extreme temperatures can significantly damage your battery health and, in time, shorten its life expectancy.
Unless the manufacturer instructions say otherwise, the ideal recommended temperature for charging your battery ranges from 64 to 77˚F (18˚C to 25˚C).
Avoid temperatures below 50˚F (10˚C) or that exceed 86˚F (30˚C). Both extreme heat and cold can ruin your battery.
4. Driving Patterns
This might come as a surprise, but it is a fact that your driving pattern can deeply affect electric wheelchair batteries.
You have to ensure that you drive at a constant speed without having irregular driving patterns because that will affect your battery life.
Learn to maintain a consistent speed when on the road in your power chair because that is the only way to extend the life of your battery.
5. Battery Installation
Seek the services of a certified and trained wheelchair technician when installing your battery.
This way, you will be assured that they will do a perfect job in that they will use proper tools and follow the right procedure to install the battery.
Do not install the battery yourself because you can miss essential specifications that affect your battery.
READ MORE: Electric Wheelchair Accessories
6. Bear in Mind the Hazards
Batteries are powerful in that they ensure your wheelchair works perfectly; however, they can also be quite hazardous.
To maintain the life of your wheelchair battery, you need to keep it in dangerous conditions. I am sure you wouldn’t like your battery exploding because of being exposed to dangerous situations.
Extreme care should be taken when using wheelchair batteries, especially when handling the terminals. You may be exposed to electrical shock if proper care is not taken.
7. Read the Manual to Keep Your Battery Healthy
Every power wheelchair battery comes with a manual that outlines how to care for and maintain it.
Yes, even if you’ve had dozens of others before this one and think you know exactly what to do, it’s important to read that manual.
Different types of batteries have different needs, specifications, quirks, and so on.
Just because you’ve used, say, lead-acid batteries your entire life doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do with lithium-ion or deep-cycle batteries
You do not want to have a battery with no power because- needless to say- your wheelchair can’t really perform properly without it.
Make it your mission to gather all information regarding battery care and maintenance to extend your battery’s lifespan.
Now that we’ve covered the reason you came here in the first place, I just want to share some additional information with you that will help you, starting with actually understanding what your battery is made up of.
Components of power chair batteries
In order to fully understand how your wheelchair batteries work, you should know three components of every wheelchair battery: capacity, current rating, and cell type.
This is the part that will probably interest you the most.
Wheelchair capacity tells you how long your power chair battery can last.
Wheelchair batteries’ capacity is always expressed in Ampere-hours.
For example, if your power wheelchair runs at 10 Amperes, while the battery has 30 to 90 Ampere-hours, this means that your wheelchair has the capacity to run continuously for three to nine hours.
However, you surely won’t use the wheelchair continuously, so that your power chair batteries will last for more than 9 hours.
- Current rating
Current rating explains the rate of electron flow and it is also expressed in Amperes.
Higher Amperes affect the better performance of your wheelchair while it runs over uneven terrains.
- Cell type
The two main types of battery cells are wet or gel cells.
Both types are compatible with power wheelchairs, while gel cells are more recommended due to their easier maintenance and environmental protection.
How long does it really take to fully charge my power chair batteries?
As we mentioned above, it will take around 8 hours, or in other words – one night.
Still, if you got your wheelchair batteries recently, charge them for ten or more hours in the beginning.
Specially designed chargers prevent the risk of overcharging, which means that leaving your batteries on charge for a bit longer won’t harm them.
When I fully charge the batteries, how long will the charge last?
Well, it depends on the battery. Still, you can expect a time range of at least several hours and a ten to twenty miles distance range.
If you want your power chair batteries to last longer, it would be great to purchase lead-acid batteries, as this type proves itself the most durable.
Your weight as a rider might also affect the battery’s endurance.
How can I know when my battery charge is running low?
Each power wheelchair has battery gauge lights. They are located on the joystick controller. Indicator lights show the battery strength and you will always know when your battery is fully charged or it is running low.
When is the right time to replace my power chair batteries?
Your batteries should last at least six months. Still, the usual lifespan of the batteries is one year or longer.
On the other side, if you notice that your power chair batteries are losing power quickly and you experience a decrease in their range, then it is the right time for a replacement.
If you maybe find this option too expensive, due to battery replacement, it would be also great to think of purchasing a portable wheelchair. This is an option for low budgets, but it still does the job – provides you all-day mobility.
What is my power chair battery’s range?
Battery health is the most important factor when we talk about ranges. Newer batteries have a distance range of up to 20 miles, while the older ones might serve you for around 10 miles daily.
For example, batteries older than a year and a half shorten their range significantly in comparison to 6 months batteries in most cases.
On the other side, as different people use their wheelchairs for different purposes and different terrains, it might be the case that older batteries serve better than the almost new ones. Still, we are talking about some usual cases.
Lead-acid batteries are generally more recommendable battery types, but even these have to be replaced.
Do the replacement after a year and a half of use, as you will for sure notice the shortage of distance and time range.
Whether you’re using a folding power wheelchair or a standard one, the battery is a considerable component. It needs to be well-maintained to extend its lifespan.
The tips on how to extend the life of your power wheelchair battery that we have outlined above should help know what to avoid.
Remember, for a battery to serve you for a long time, you need to ensure it remains in top-notch condition.
There is no specific time given to indicate the duration at which a battery should serve you. It all depends on how you properly care for your battery.
So, when operating a power wheelchair for outdoor use, ensure you bear in mind the tips we have discussed so that your battery serves you longer.
In short, the life of your power wheelchair battery is in your hands; if you do not follow the right procedures, it will cost you big time.
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years. Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER