Sealed Lead Acid Battery Maintenance FAQ
Posted by Richard Cohen on 6th Feb 2019
- 1.How often should I charge my batteries?
If you use your POV, every day, you should charge it every night. (In this article, POV or power operated vehicle, refers to motorized scooters and power wheelchairs.) The next morning when you wake up, unplug it from the wall and unplug it from the vehicle and it will be ready for a full day of use. If you don’t use the POV much, charge it at least every other week.
- 2.What is the temperature range that the batteries should be stored?
It is best to keep your POV with your batteries attached in the same temperature range that is comfortable for you; which is, between 50 and 80 degrees F. Do not leave it in the trunk of your care where it can reach very hot or very cold temperatures. This will shorten the life of the batteries. Do not leave your POV in an unheated garage for long periods of time.
- 3.Should I wait until my batteries are completely discharged before recharging?
No, that will shorten the life of the batteries. See question #1.
- 4.What type of charger should I use?
It is best to use the charger that came with the POV. Do not use a charger made for cars or other devices. Be sure that the charger voltage is the same as the batteries. Most scooters and power wheelchairs use 12 volt batteries.
- 5.Can I overcharge my batteries?
Most chargers will stop charging your POV after the batteries are fully charged. Don’t forget to unplug the charger from the wall and POV from the charger.
- 6.What’s the difference between SLA and AGM?
Either SLA (gel cell, sealed lead acid) or AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries can be used to power a POV. They differ in the way the electrolyte is immobilized. Gel cell batteries and AGM batteries don’t offer the same power capacity. For example, a 12 volt 36 amp hour AGM battery would be rated as 31.6 amp hours in the gel cell. Gel batteries exceed AGM in slow discharge rates and will operate in slightly higher temperature. For most intents and purposes, there is little difference between AGM and gel cell batteries. More people chose AGM because they are less expensive.
- 7.What if I don’t plan to use my scooter for a long period of time?
At the very minimum, if you don’t use your POV, your batteries should be charged at least once a month. Do not keep the POV in a garage or vehicle that is not temperature controlled. Disconnect the batteries and bring them in a temperature controlled building and, if left in the POV, be sure to disconnect the batteries from the vehicle.
- 8.What do I do with my old batteries?
The batteries contain lead which is a very toxic, poisonous element. Old batteries must be recycled safely and properly. Again lead is very poisonous.
- 9.How far will my scooter/power wheelchair go on a charge?
There are many factors that enter the equation as to how far your POV will be able to go before the power runs out. Here is a list of most of them:
- The weight of the POV and the size of the batteries. Larger batteries hold more power.
- The weight of the person on it. Just like a jockey in a derby, the lighter, farther the scooter will go.
- The terrain. Are there a lot of hills?
- The wind. Is it a head or tail wind?
- The road surface. Paved surfaces offer less friction that grass, pebbles or sand.