A Guide to Buying and Fitting Mobility Scooter Batteries
There are essentially three main types of mobility scooter battery; 1) Sealed Lead Acid (also known as absorbed glass mat, or AGM), 2) Gel Cell and 3) Li-Ion. These are usually 12-volt batteries and mobility scooters use them in pairs, giving a total output of 24 volts.
The first two types (AGM and Gel) both use a lead-acid reaction to generate power in the same way a car battery does, but be aware that a car battery cannot be used in place of a mobility scooter battery, due to the way they deliver their power. This type of battery technology has been around for well over a century, but unlike many car batteries both these types are sealed units, which ensures there is no chance of spillage and no need to top up the fluid levels. Since both types are sealed and maintenance free, you should experience few problems handling batteries and no issues with travel by air, should the need arise. AGM batteries are cheaper than Gel Cell and enjoy superior performance in cold conditions. They also have a high level of charge retention when not in use. This makes the AGM type the obvious choice for those who will use their mobility scooter only occasionally. Gel Cell batteries can undergo many more recharging cycles before they need to be replaced, and for daily users, will almost always offer better value for money in the long term. Some mobility scooters, particularly the newer lightweight folding scooters, now take advantage of Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery technology. This is similar to the type used in your mobile phone or laptop, and benefits from a much better power to weight ratio which for the user, means a much lighter battery to lift out of the scooter while still retaining good range. Of course, these types of battery are more expensive to buy than lead-acid batteries, but they make up for that in the long run, because they can go through many more charging cycles before needing to be replaced.
As well as the voltage, there is another important code factor to consider. The number of amp hours (abbreviated to Ah) will have an impact on the range of your mobility scooter. Although there are a large number of different Ah the vast majority of scooters share around five main ones Ah types, and many batteries will be compatible with more than one scooter. The exception to this is Li-Ion batteries which are usually unique to a particular make or model.
How to Choose and Change the Correct Mobility Scooter Battery
The first and most important piece of advice, is to check the specific details for your make and model in the operating instructions for your mobility scooter. Mobility scooter batteries come in pairs of 12 volts each, connected in parallel, making a total of 24 volts output. If you are replacing old batteries, you should always replace both at the same time with a pair of new ones. When buying new batteries, it is also important to know the physical battery dimensions as batteries of the same Ah can vary in size. Another important factor to know is the battery terminal type. Make sure the terminal is the same and will not come into contact with the mobility scooter chassis causing it to short or even start a fire.
Mobility Scooters with a Li-Ion battery are generally a lot simpler, since the battery will be much lighter and simply clicks into place with a simple release mechanism for removal. Li-Ion batteries are also much simpler.
It is also worth remembering that not all batteries are the same quality. It may be tempting to replace your batteries with far cheaper versions, but remember the old saying; “you get what you pay for”, and in the battery world, this certainly true! Stick to trusted brands from reputable retailers, and you will gain many years hassle free scootering!
Once you have chosen and fitted the correct batteries, it is worthwhile confirming the charger and charge-system of your mobility scooter are working correctly. This can be done with use of a multimeter. You will need test the voltage with the charger not connected first, then plug in the charger and confirm that a charge is getting to both batteries and is within the manufacturers specifications. Failure to check this can damage a new set of batteries very quickly. Remember, if in doubt let you reputable local mobility scooter retailer carry out the work to avoid damage or even a fire!