Having an electrically powered mobility aid can make a huge difference in your day-to-day, helping you stay more independent as you don't need to rely on others for help. It's important that you can trust your powered mobility aid won't let you down at a crucial moment, which starts with looking after its battery.
Here are our top tips for maximising the reliability and lifespan of your batteries to help keep you on the move.
1: Charge it for 18 hours as soon as you can
When you get a new powered mobility aid, the batteries are only supplied with a holding charge, which is usually just enough to give it a little try but ultimately won't get you very far. It's absolutely vital that you charge the batteries in your new mobility aid as soon as you can, for a minimum of 18 hours uninterrupted. This is known as "priming" and its a vital start to getting the most out of the battery
2: Don't be tricked by the charging lights
The lights on the controller or the charger units are only rough guides, so even though they might suggest that it's finished charging, it actually might not have reached a full charge yet.
Leaving the batteries charging for as long as possible is always better than finishing a charge early. You can't overcharge your batteries and a full charge means you'll be able to go further than you would on a partial charge.
3: Charge regularly, but avoid short charges
There is no need to let the batteries run down between charging. Even if you've hardly used your powered mobility aid that day it's recommended that you charge the batteries overnight for a minimum of 12 hours. Frequently giving your battery a short charge (under two hours) can cause damage to the battery cells and shorten its lifespan, meaning you'll be forced to replace it sooner.
4: It gets better over time
When looked after properly, power wheelchair and scooter batteries are one of the few products where their performance improves with use. After around 10-20 charges the capacity of the batteries actually increases until they reach their maximum potential.
5: Not too hot, not too cold
The ideal operating temperature for batteries is between 18°C and 25°C. It's not always possible to control the temperature of a room but try to avoid charging batteries in temperatures under 10°C or over 30°C. If you do charge it in an environment that's too hot or too cold, it'll reduce the battery's capacity and as a result shorten its lifespan.
6: Stay out of the red
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 go flat. You won't always be able to avoid this, of course, but try not to make it a habit as it can lead to the batteries becoming damaged.
7: Keep it steady
Constantly changing direction and speed can have an adverse effect on your battery life. Keeping your speed steady will be less of a drain on your battery life, leaving you free to enjoy the freedom your powered mobility aid was designed to provide.