Are you having trouble with your wheelchair battery? While there could certainly be different malfunctions impeding you from using it as usual, maybe it’s just the battery. However, saying just the battery isn’t as simple as it sounds.
A wholly drained wheelchair battery can’t be charged just by plugging it into a wall socket, unfortunately.
For example, if you buy a USED wheelchair, the battery might be DEAD, it might not even turn on, and the charger won’t charge it.
But don’t worry for a second! This blog post provides easy and safe methods to charge a dead wheelchair battery, ensuring you’re never left stranded.
Methods for Charging a Dead Wheelchair Battery
To charge a dead wheelchair battery, you have three options: the DIY option, the professional service option, or the use of power chair batteries.
Problems and Risks With Old Batteries
Remember that if you leave any old battery (Gel or AGM types) discharged for a long time, it might be permanently DAMAGED, even if you manage to charge it.
If you have a modern multistage smart charger, it might not even start charging a low-voltage battery.
Sometimes, you can brute-force a charge into an old battery using an old dumb battery charger (constant or timed).
Using a dumb charger allows you to partially charge the battery so that the smart charger can then work.
Don’t charge a damaged battery, as a potential fire hazard exists. And never leave the battery charging unattended.
Is It Better to Get New Batteries Instead?
Although old batteries take charge, they might only HOLD it for a short time (maybe 1 mile of driving).
So, if you want your wheelchair to have a proper range, you’ll still need new batteries. Wheelchair batteries typically range from $50 to $300 per battery.
DIY options to charge a dead battery have potential risks (if the battery catches on fire, especially for people who can’t move).
Safety first: We do not recommend DIY options for the average user, especially when the voltage does not match.
When reviving a dead wheelchair battery, a DIY option is straightforward and budget-friendly. An external 12V charger is your go-to tool for this task, providing an effective solution.
Remember that the charging time depends on the charger’s power and the battery size, typically 4 to 24 hours.
Reconditioning is another DIY method that can work wonders for batteries that no longer hold a full charge.
While using a car charger might seem intriguing, its effectiveness is uncertain and might not be the best way to recharge your wheelchair battery.
Professional Service Option
For those who prefer a hassle-free approach, professional wheelchair battery services are here to rescue you from dead battery woes.
The average battery replacement service cost in the United States is $75 to $100. The price of the battery is separate from the service cost.
Experts can recondition your wheelchair’s power cell, even if it seems beyond revival, potentially saving you the expense of purchasing a new one. This means restoring the battery to brand new.
The battery can be reconditioned 3-4 times before replacement is necessary, offering a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution. Alternatively, you can find reconditioned batteries as an affordable replacement.
Professionals prioritize safety above all else. They ensure that all procedures are carried out correctly, minimizing the risk of any future damage or malfunctions.
Using Power Chair Batteries
Reviving your dead wheelchair battery is a breeze with power chair batteries. These batteries are designed for deep-cycle use, making the charging process slow and steady.
The best part? You don’t need fancy equipment – just use your power chair as you normally would during your daily activities, indoors or outdoors, and let it work its magic to recharge the battery effectively.
However, a word of caution: be mindful of overcharging, as it can harm the battery. Make sure to disconnect the charger once your battery reaches full charge instead of leaving it plugged in indefinitely.
Tips for Maximizing Wheelchair Battery Life
To ensure your wheelchair battery serves you well for the long haul, here are some essential tips to remember.
Full Initial Charge: When you have new batteries, give them their first full charge before use. It might take a bit of time, around 10-12 hours, but it’s a small investment for top-notch performance.
Gentle Introduction: During the first ten days of using new batteries, try not to drain them completely. Aim to keep them above the 30 percent charge. This gentle introduction helps condition the batteries and extends their lifespan.
Nightly Charging: Make it a habit to charge your wheelchair battery every night, even if it’s not entirely depleted. A full charge for an electric wheelchair usually takes between 6 to 8 hours. Regular charging helps maintain the battery’s overall health and keeps it in great shape for longer.
Maintenance Matters: Proper battery maintenance is vital to longevity. For flooded lead-acid batteries, keep an eye on the water levels and top them off as needed with distilled water. Additionally, regularly clean any dirt or debris from the battery terminals using a damp cloth or a mild detergent solution.
Common Causes of Dead Wheelchair Batteries
Just like we had several tips to care for wheelchairs, here are some reasons why they falter.
Watch out for Corrosion and Proper Connections: Keep an eye on your battery terminals. If they become corroded or are not connected correctly, it can impede the charging process. Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent this.
Ensure Correct Wiring: Incorrect wiring can hinder the proper charging of wheelchair batteries. It’s crucial to double-check that all wiring is set up correctly to avoid charging problems.
Check Your Power Outlets: Faulty power outlets can cause issues with charging. Ensure your outlets are in good working condition to prevent interruptions in the charging process.
Avoid Extended Periods of Inactivity: Leaving your wheelchair idle without external charging can result in drained batteries. Regular use or scheduled charging can help maintain battery health.
The Bottom Line
Charging a dead wheelchair battery requires careful steps to ensure the best results. Whether you choose a DIY option or seek professional assistance, following manufacturer guidelines and using the right equipment is essential.
Remember to test and maintain your battery regularly to extend its life. With these tips, you can keep your wheelchair powered up and ready for any adventure.