The heart of any power wheelchair is its battery. Both power chairs and mobility scooters have rechargeable batteries, these batteries get faulty and eventually burn out.
Any power wheelchair veteran probably already knows this.
If you use a power chair or an electric wheelchair, you must learn how to replace and change the battery to maintain independence or be prepared for emergencies.
Like our other DIY guides, we always ensure that you get the easiest ways to do stuff.
In this article, I’ll be showing you the easiest ways to change and replace the batteries of an electric wheelchair.
How To Change Wheelchair Battery
If you have a place to be or a face to see, nothing should stop you, especially the batteries in your electric wheelchair.
If you plan on changing the battery of your power chair, here’s a step-by-step guide on the entire process.
1. Unplug From A Power Source
The first thing you must do before you attempt to change the batteries in your power chair is to disconnect the chair from any power source.
You can easily disconnect your chair from a power supply by tracing all wires connected to the chassis or joystick of the wheelchair and disconnecting them from the wall socket.
2. Remove The Bots and Screws Around The Battery Compartment
Now that the chair has been disconnected from a power source, turn the chair around and remove all the bolts and screws used to hold the battery box.
You’ll need a screwdriver or scanner to loosen the screws around the battery box. Once all screws and bolts are loosened, remove the frame and you’d see the batteries.
However, keep in mind some models use a non-removable wheelchair safety system. This means the manufacturers don’t want you to tamper with the chair or its system.
If your wheelchair uses a non-removable wheelchair safety system, the batteries are usually under the chair. You can simply slide out the batteries from under the wheelchair.
3. Open The Battery Case
After all the screws and bolts around the batteries have been exposed, disconnect all the wires from the battery terminals. Make sure you disconnect the red wire first before you proceed to other wires.
Once you’ve removed all the wires from the terminal. Move to the base of the batteries, there should be four screws around each battery. Loose all eight screws and take out both batteries.
4. Insert The New Batteries
Finally, it’s time to install a new set of batteries. Once you’ve removed the old damaged batteries from your electric wheelchair, unbox the new ones and install them.
Reconnect the wires in the battery terminals and screw the batteries back to the chair.
Once you’ve reconnected the wires to the battery terminal, you can turn on the power chair to see if everything works before reassembling the chair.
If you turn on the chair, and it works, you can go ahead and close the battery compartment.
If you turn on your chair and it doesn’t work, one wire at the battery terminal wasn’t properly connected; reconnect it properly and everything should be back to normal.
Once that’s done, close the chair and reconnect the joystick. Test out the chair to see if everything works properly.
If it works, you’ve just successfully replaced the batteries of a power chair. Don’t use the batteries right away, it’s advised you give the new battery a good charge [10 – 12 hours] before you use it.
If it still doesn’t work, you probably make a mistake when inserting the new batteries. Go through the manufacturer’s manual to see what you did wrong or get a technician to give you a hand with the installation.
How To Care For Wheelchair Batteries
There are certain measures that you can take to ensure that the batteries in your wheelchair stay in optimum condition, last longer, and serve you better.
Whether you are a wheelchair user or a caregiver, these steps are straightforward, simple to implement, and require no technical knowledge.
Here are some of the best ways to ensure the batteries in your wheelchair stay at optimum performance.
1. Store Your Batteries At Room Temperature
Avoid exposure your wheelchair battery to high temperatures, extreme heat, or cold. High temperatures can cause overheating of the battery cells and reduce their efficiency afterward.
While riding your power wheelchair in the snow or other cold climates can reduce its overall performance. You can always feel the battery box to know if it’s too hot or too cold.
The best operating temperature for electric wheelchair batteries is between 15°C and 32°C.
2. Do Not Overcharge Your Batteries
If you have a new battery, it is best to charge them for up to 12 hours before you use them. But over time, it is advised that you charge them for just 6 or 8 hours.
This means you have to plug-in your electric chair overnight and unplug it from the wall socket once you wake up in the morning.
Overcharging the batteries in your chair would just decrease its overall performance.
3. Do Not Drain All The Cell In Battery
Do not empty the cell in the battery before you charge it again. Get down from the chair and charge it once you see the low battery warning.
Most wheelchair batteries have 1000 charge cycles, so charge your power chair while there’s still life in your battery.
4. Drive Your Power Chair Only When You Have To
One thing I always see people on power chairs do is riding their wheelchairs everywhere. Some even use their chair for racing, drifting, slalom drives, curb climbing, and a lot of other stunts that can strain the tires and batteries.
Stunts like this reduce the battery life of your power chair.
If you want to go to your favorite coffee shop or the shopping mall, call a cab or Uber to take you there.
If the distance is over 30 minutes or two miles, don’t ride your wheelchair there. This would conserve the energy in your battery and ensure that it stays at optimum condition.
5. Carry Only What You Have To On your Wheelchair
Carrying excess weight on your wheelchair is one of the easiest ways to destroy an electric wheelchair.
Most electric wheelchair weighs about 400 pounds with your body weight; it can be up to 550 pounds in total.
There’s no need to add anything that would make the total weight on the chair exceed 800 pounds. So tell your siblings or bestie to hitch a ride elsewhere.
How Do I Boost A Dead Wheelchair Battery?
When your wheelchair cannot charge to full capacity, discharges after every charge, or in some worse cases, goes dead entirely and doesn’t respond to charging current, then it’s dead and you need to boost it to restore proper working conditions.
Charging a dead electric wheelchair battery is easy, you can boost the battery using a pulse charger or using another battery.
How Do I Know When My Wheelchair Battery Is Overcharged?
You cannot overcharge your wheelchair battery if you are using the charger provided by the manufacturers. The manufacturer’s provided charger has an in-built safety feature that prevents overcharging.
Overcharging isn’t a problem if you are using a smart charger. Smart chargers are voltage limited and shut off automatically when charging is complete.
How Many Hours Can An Electric Wheelchair Go?
If the battery in your power chair is in optimum working condition, it should serve you for anything between 8-10 hours a day. This is equivalent to carrying you up to a distance of 16 miles for every full charge.
How Do I Make The Batteries In My Wheelchair Last Longer?
Just charge the batteries in your wheelchair before it goes less than 10% and it will last longer than you bargained for.
Batteries in wheelchairs and mobility scooters will last longer if you charge them before they go flat.
Even you’re your batteries are empty; do not leave dead batteries for more than a day without charging them.
This principle also applies to other electric and rechargeable devices including lamps, laptops, speakers, mobile phones, smartphones…
Which Type Of Wheelchair Battery Is Stronger?
Battery types can also affect its strength, I’ve used gel sealed lead-acid batteries, deep cycle AGM, Lithium-Ion, and even higher Ah batteries
I can tell you that gel-sealed lead-acid batteries are the best of the three rechargeable wheelchair batteries.
What is the Lifespan of an Electric Wheelchair Battery?
All things being equal, the average lifespan of an electric wheelchair battery is 19 months.
Although wheelchair batteries have an average life span of 16 months; proper usage can increase their life-span. Using your chair occasionally and charging it with the charger provided or recommended by the manufacturer will make your battery last longer.
How Long Do Wheelchair Batteries Charge?
Most electric wheelchair takes as long as 6 hours to complete a charge cycle. Some can take up to twelve hours to charge from 0 to 100%.
After prolonged use, rechargeable wheelchair batteries would have to be replaced.
This article has provided a detailed guide on how you can change your wheelchair battery and other essential tips to ensure the longevity of your power chair batteries.
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