When choosing a wheelchair battery for your power chair, first carefully review the battery recommendations from the wheelchair manufacturer.
Then, consider how you will use your chair. For example, will you operate your electric chair primarily indoors for a specific amount of time each day? Or, will you ride in your chair for more than eight hours a day, including a significant amount of time traversing rough outdoor surfaces?
Selecting the right battery can make all the difference in the length of time you can use your chair on a given charge and the level of power generated to propel you.
Cost, maintenance requirements, and transport ability are other factors to take into account.
Most importantly, choosing the right battery will help ensure you are not at risk for getting stranded when you least expect it.
According to the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Transfer (RERCTT), most power wheelchairs are run by 24-volt, deep discharge lead-acid (mostly gel-cell) batteries.
Most batteries last about 9-14 months or 365 cycles annually. Yet, the life of a chair battery depends on frequency and duration of use, as well as the traveling surface. When you notice changes in power or duration, it is likely time to check and replace your battery.
There are basically two types of wheelchair battery chargers: manual and automatic.
A manual charger needs supervision to ensure the battery is not overcharged, which can cause permanent damage to the battery. An automatic charger, monitors the charge and will automatically shut off when a full charged is reached.
Most chargers are too large to be attached to a wheelchair, but there are a few on the market that are portable, and allow you to remain seated while the battery is being charged.
The RERCTT emphasizes to carefully read and follow the instructions that came with your equipment for safety purposes.
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