Electrically powered wheelchairs are an excellent means to freedom and independence for you. Confidence in the performance of a powered mobility product is essential, so below are some useful tips for how you can maximise the reliability of your batteries!
Always begin with at least an 18‐hour charge
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for the batteries to receive at least an 18‐hour uninterrupted charge as soon as possible. This process is known as “priming” and is vital because batteries only have a holding charge when supplied.
Charge by hours, not by the lights!
The lights on the controller or the charger units are guides. It is always better to leave the batteries charging for as long as possible, rather than finishing a charge early because the controller or the charger lights suggest the charge is complete. You cannot over charge your batteries – so follow the rule that the longer the better.
Charge as often as possible – but avoid short charges
There is no need to let the batteries run down between charging. Even if the power chair has been used very little it is recommended to charge the batteries overnight for a minimum of 12 hours. Regular short charging (less than 2 hours) is inadvisable. This damages the battery cells and creates a shorter life span.
Better than new
Power wheelchair batteries are one of the few products where the performance improves with use. After being used and charged around 10‐20 times the capacity of the batteries actually increases until they reach the maximum.
Charge in a suitable place
The ideal operating temperature for batteries is between 18 ̊C and 25 ̊C. However unlikely, do not charge batteries in temperatures under 10 ̊C or over 30 ̊C as this will lower the battery’s capacity and therefore shorten its life span.
Stay in the green and out of red!
While driving try and maintain a consistent speed, as constant direction or speed deviations can have a negative effect on battery life. If possible, try and avoid allowing the batteries to run into the red lights on the controller. This causes what is referred to as a “deep discharge” and the battery may become flat. Obviously on occasion this will be unavoidable, but letting this happen too often can lead to the batteries becoming damaged.
Follow the above steps and you should be free to enjoy your powered mobility product performing to the best of it’s potential, while benefitting from the freedom it was designed to provide.