Battery Care and Maintenance Guide
All batteries are not created equal! With batteries, you get what you pay for and choosing the right battery for your equipment can enhance performance and safety, simplify charging and in the long-run save you time, money and give you peace of mind.
Buying batteries off the internet makes it a lot harder to return batteries under Warranty or hold the seller to account, never mind the extortionate P&P costs to the Highlands!
In virtually ALL mobility applications, a deep-cycled sealed Gel or AGM design is best, and here’s why:
- SLI’s (Starting Light and Ignition) batteries are designed to provide quick bursts of power. While they can be recharged quickly, the number of times they can be recharged is relatively few.
- Deep-Cycle Batteries (unlike SLI’s) are specially designed to provide a more constant flow of power for a longer period.
- Wet Lead-Acid Batteries need to have water added on a regular basis and are not recommended for mobility use due to leakage issues.
- Gel or AGM Batteries need no additional water and are truly maintenance free. They provide extra convenience and safety. However, not all Gel or AGM batteries are approved for air transportation as non-hazardous cargo.
Always have your batteries installed by a Mobility Specialist. The have the necessary training and tools to do the job safely and correctly. Also, batteries are not VAT exempt if not installed this way.
Wheelchairs and scooters typically require two batteries with 24-volt series connections. Never mix and match different battery manufacturers or technologies, or use batteries that do not have similar date codes. Never mix Gel Batteries with AGM Batteries (Absorbent Glass Matt).
Follow Installation & Start-up Instructions provided by the mobility equipment manufacturer and always fully charge batteries BEFORE use.
Active users of Power Wheelchairs discharge and recharge their batteries daily (known as Deep-Cycling). Sometimes this compromises initial capacity in return for longer battery life. Gel batteries improve once the battery has been cycled 15-20 times. This break-in period is necessary to fully activate the battery for maximum performance and longevity. Therefore, range and running time of your mobility device could initially increase with use.
When to Charge?
Charge daily... the Charger supplied with your mobility device should fully charge your batteries overnight. Overcharging is not a problem with today’s Smart Chargers as they are voltage limited and shut off automatically. Sealed Gel and AGM batteries do not have a “use it or lose it” capacity-robbing effect (known as the memory).
Proper Charging Guidelines
Use the equipment manufacturer’s Automatic Charger for all routine charging.
Never use an Automotive or Wet-type Charger on Sealed Gel or AGM batteries as doing so will damage your battery.
Depth of discharge affects cycle life... The harder a battery must work, the shorter its life expectancy!
Avoid ultra-deep discharges and never drain your batteries completely.
Do not leave your batteries on a low state of charge for an extended period of time. Charge a discharged battery as soon as possible.
Do not discharge your batteries when they only have a low charge without regularly recharging them fully.
When the Charger Indicator reaches green this doesn't mean its fully charged!
It has only completed one out of three charging stages and must be fully charged to complete all three. For this reason we recommend the batteries are charged by time rather than by what the light on the charger shows. Charge for a minimum of eight hours.
Storage and Maintenance
Any performance-related issues should be handled by a Mobility Specialist.
Always store your batteries fully charged. And, check all stored batteries once a month and recharge as needed. Prolonged storage reduces battery life so we don't recommend that you store batteries, instead use them regulary!
Avoid hot and cold extremes when storing.
Fully charged Sealed Gel and AGM batteries can hold a charge for up to six months, however, they should always be charged before use.
When storing a Powerchair or Scooter for more than two weeks, charge the batteries first and then disconnect them for storage.
Sealed Gel and AGM batteries require no watering.
SAFETY: Batteries can be hazardous
Dropping a tool or touching a metal object (such as a watch or bracelet) across the terminals can result in an electrical shock, sparks, smoke, fire and even explosion.
Use extreme caution around battery terminals.
Battery posts, terminals and related accessories contain lead and lead compounds, and other chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling batteries.
Batteries produce explosive gases. Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times. Always wear safety glasses and a face shield when working on or near batteries. Ventilate well. Do not install in an airtight container.
Do not attempt to open vents.
Old batteries are considered “hazardous materials” and must be disposed of accordingly. Lead-acid batteries are virtually 100% recyclable. Follow National and Local Authority guidelines on recycling and disposal.
A printer friendly copy of this Guide is available here.