Looking after and regularly charging your battery will increase its reliability and maximum performance from your scooter and buggy. (BHTA, 2004), (Help My Mobility, 2010).
Scooter and buggy batteries are designed to give out a steady supply of power. They are likely to need replacing after about 12 or 18 months, although you may be able to use them for longer if you take care of them and check them regularly. Some scooters and buggies may require two 12 volt rechargeable batteries. The size of the batteries is directly proportional to the range and weight limit of the scooter or buggy. (Rica, 2010).
Batteries are rated in amp hours, which in combination with the efficiency of the motor, provide a guide to the distance the scooter can travel before requiring recharging. The higher the amp the greater the power. (Help My Mobility, 2010).
Different types of batteries
The three main types of batteries used in mobility scooters and buggies are lead acid (wet cell), AGM (absorbed glass mat) also know as sealed lead acid batteries, and gel cell batteries.
- Lead acid (wet cell) batteries are the least expensive but require a little more maintenance than other types. Electrolyte (acid) and water levels must be checked regularly and topped up. They are not sealed, so there is a danger of spilling acid. Lead acid batteries do offer at least a 2-6 month longer battery life. (Rica, 2010).
- AGM (Absorbed glass mat) batteries are more expensive and require less maintenance. These batteries are also known as sealed lead acid batteries. AGM batteries are just like flooded lead acid batteries, except the electrolyte is being held in the glass mats, as opposed to freely flooding the plates.
As the electrolyte (acid) in AGM batteries is contained in the glass mats, it can't spill, even if the battery is broken. Self-discharge in an AGM battery is known to be minimal. This enables them to be stored over longer time periods, with no charge, compared to standard batteries. (Article Base, 2011), (Wikipedia, 2011), (BatteryUniversity.com, 2005).
- Gel cell batteries are sealed in their cases and require almost no maintenance other than charging. Gel batteries are also the safest of the battery types, with no danger of spillage, although they are expensive. They are the only type of batteries allowed on aeroplanes. (Batteries 4 Mobility Scooters, 2009), (Rica, 2010).
Weight of batteries
Batteries can be heavy and may be the heaviest part of the scooter or buggy. You may need to think about this if you dismantle the scooter for transport or storage. The weight of single batteries (many vehicles have two) vary from 5kg - 26kg. (Rica, 2010).
Charging your battery
Batteries are an essential component of your mobility scooter and can be recharged by using an in-built or external battery charger unit from an electric power source.
External chargers keep the overall weight of the scooter down and may be less likely to fail, as they are not subject to the scooter vibrations, which in-built chargers are. (Government of South Australia, 2008).
Here are some general points to consider when charging your batteries:
- Charging your battery correctly is one of the most important procedures to ensure long life and maximum distance coverage. (Help My Mobility, 2010). It is advisable to carefully read guidelines recommended by the manufacturer.
- Check the charging point is easily accessible.
- Plug the charger into the scooter charging point before plugging into the mains.
- The battery charger may have a mains and a charging indicator light. Check they are both on.
- Take care not to overcharge the batteries. If this is frequently done it changes the chemical composition and will reduce the life of the battery.
- Most chargers have a cut out and a light indicator which operate when the battery is fully charged.
- Only use the approved battery charger compatible with your scooter or buggy. (Help My Mobility, 2010).
- Vehicles in constant use should be charged daily. Daily use will increase the life span of the batteries.
- New batteries must be fully charged before use. (Help My Mobility, 2010).
- If you have a wet-cell battery, the room needs to be well ventilated, as the battery will give off fumes when being charged. (Rica, 2010).
- Store your scooter and battery in a cool dry place if possible. If exposed to damp, it can cause damage to the battery. So if your scooter and battery get wet or damp, simply wipe down with a cloth. (Help My Mobility, 2010).
- If replacing the batteries, check that the new ones will fit into the allotted space.
- Always dispose of old batteries through an approved source. Please contact your supplier or local authority to find out how to dispose of your batteries appropriately.
Advice last checked: 17 October 2014 Next check due: 17 October 2017
All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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