Upgrading std Scooter Batteries to Li-ion Batteries

This topic contains 14 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Bandit 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #79845 Reply

    ChrisK
    Participant

    Just reading Brydo thread about having something to say, so here I go. ?

    I don’t know if anyone else has done this but just thought I would make a thread about upgrading the batteries in your pavement scooter.

    I have a Pride Go-Go Traveller Elite LX but as with other scooters of this type the batteries are very heavy and can be a chore bring them into the house after every use to charge them back up.

    I’ve been looking at the scooter that have Li-ion batteries with the like of the CareCo Li-Tech scooters and may well get one of these in future however my Go-Go is a very capable scooter so got me thinking about upgrading the batteries to Li-ion ones.

    Having got information about this I was all set to buy two Li-ion batteries to replace the GEL batteries in my scooter. Then I read a few reviews of folk who had already done this and it just left me confused.

    The batteries in question are a direct replacement for 12V 12 Ah GEL batteries already in my scooter so advertising guff says to simply swap out your batteries and you then have a Li-ion lightweight scooter. Well not quite? The Li-ion batteries come with a 12V charger and here’s where some confusion sets in.

    In one review of these batteries someone said the batteries don’t charge properly and he or she went on to say they take the batteries out of there box and charge each one individually with the 12V charger and went on to say what a pain that was and yes I can imagine it is.

    With that in mind I contacted the seller about this problem and the fact they say these batteries are a drop in replacement. There answer was they are indeed drop in replacement but when you order them you have to tell them there for a mobility scooter that has the common wired in series batteries so they then changed the 12V charger to a 24V charger with the standard scooter charging plug and once you change your batteries over you use your new supplied 24V charger just as you did with your old GEL lead acid charger. The two are not compatible so don’t charge your Li-ion battery with your old lead acid charger and visa versa.

    One downside to using Li-ion batteries is the chargers are fan assisted and that means while the batteries are being charged there is the noise of a fan that continuously runs until the batteries are charged then the whole lot closes down. So that means it can be a pain charging the batteries in the same room your watching TV but I’ve found it convenient for me to charged them under my stairs and most folk will have somewhere out of the way to charge them not that its that loud, its just annoying.

    Reading up on the workings of Li-ion batteries they have electronics built into the battery casing that monitors each cell with-in so as to make sure each individual cell is kept in tip top condition. How this works when charging the batteries the very first time had me worried? In the instruction manual for the charger it says “if the charger LED does not changed from red to green in a reasonable time then turn the charger off as Li-ion batteries can be damaged by constant charging” hence the charger shutting down as noted above when the batteries are charged. Only thing is, it does not say what a reasonable time is. The guff that comes with the batteries says they are 80% or more charged on delivery and can be used right away. With that in mind and the fact the supplied charger is only a cheap 2 Amp version that takes 6 hours to charge a completely flat battery I took it to charge the batteries should take less than 2 hours given that there already at 80% however after 6 hours the charger and its fan are still going.

    Worried that I might damage the batteries I stopped the charging and put the batteries on my scooter (more of that below) and took it for a spin then got back home connected the charger again and after a short while the charger turned itself off so a great relief for me this set up was working as it should.

    Li-ion batteries do not have to be charged after every use so this means you can just leave them on the scooter until the battery meter on scooter is showing low but to be sure they don’t run flat while out and about its best to recharge them after about 3 or 4 medium distant uses or if your going to go a long way on them. It does them no harm to charge after every use or every five minutes if you wanted so its up to you and how you use your scooter when to charged, oh and also you can store the batteries long term with no need to trickle charged them if your not using them say like during the winter.

    Now using the batteries in my scooter for the past week they have given a massive boost to its performance and although these scooters are governed to 4 MPH it seem like its going that little bit faster and going up hill the scooters battery meter shows no sign of the batteries being put under stress whereas my old GEL batteries would shown a deflection on the meter even when they just came off the charger.

    I used the scooter for a full week without recharging but not massive distances but around local supermarkets and B&Q and the likes with battery meter still showing full and I only seen one slight deflection of the meter while going up a very steep inclined at a garden centre.

    Not had them long enough to say how much further the scooter will go on one charge but with the scooter being about 7 Kilos lighter that alone would give me another mile or so.

    That’s the other advantage of these batteries, they only weigh 25% of the GEL batteries so I can quite literally lift my scooter battery box with my little finger, of my good hand. There is a downside to the less weigh though and that it can make the scooter a bit top heavy so be careful taking bends at full speed. That may sound funny at 4 MPH but I can even get my scooter to do what they call “a hand-brake skid” very slight but put her into a tight turn on a supermarket smooth floor while letting go of the wigwam speed controller sends the back wheels in to a slide, a small slide of a few mm ?but shows how these Li-ion batteries preform over standard batteries.

    One last thing is the cost of these batteries and there are no doubts about it, they are expensive, or are they?

    The batteries are sold on Amazon and E-Bay and each battery cost about £110 so with there being two of them its about £220 including the charger. It’s the same seller from both of the above with Amazon being about £10 dearer and another thing there is no option for VAT exemptions so you have to pay the VAT but to be honest I never asked but there’s no drop down menu to apply VAT exemption.

    At first 200 odd quid sounds expensive but apparently Li-ion batteries last up to 4 times or longer than the old lead acid GEL batteries so long term you should save money but it will be awhile before I can confirm that.

    Just one more thing going back to the 12V or 24V charger, on Amazon there is only one option to buy one battery or multiples of but this means you will get a 12V charger however on E-Buy the batteries are listed 3 time, one as Amazon and another with discounts for buy more than one battery but both of these option come with the no good to us 12V charger with crocodile clips however there is a listing for two batteries and a 24V charger with the standard charging plug for scooters just for the likes of us and this is the one you need for mobility pavement scooters.

    To find them Google 2 x LITHIUM 12v 12Ah (as 14Ah & 15Ah) – MOBILITY SCOOTER WHEELCHAIR BATTERIES

    Can’t think of any thing else for now so I will shut up now. ?

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #79854 Reply

    Oscarmax
    Participant

    Well done Chris I have often thought about it, I too have a Pride gogo but mine is the gravelled plus with 2 17amp batteries which as you can imagine weigh a tonne. I brought a 200w inverter from eBay about 7 or 8 years ago for about a tenner, I plug the inverter into the 12v socket in the boot and plug the gogo  charger into the inverter and charge up as I go alone.

    Lifting the battery box is now telling on me, the wife has suggested a new lightweight scooter but they are around £2000 plus, and they are nowhere as reliable or robust as the Pride GoGo, mine cost about £200 secondhand 10+ years ago.


    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #79871 Reply

    Shawn
    Blocked

    Thing to remember about lithium ion batteries is that they work best at between 20%-80% Just as EV’s do.

    Another thing to know is that they can slip so low in charge that the charger will refuse to charge them and they appear dead but you can link them in parallel to another battery and bring them back.?

    East Yorkshire.
    Still looking for an EV I can get my wheelchair in or has not got a ridiculous AP!

    #79876 Reply

    Brydo
    Participant

    Chris k glad my post inspired you.

    Great thread you’ve created with lots of interesting info.

    I have just bought the wife a scooter, with lithium ion batteries, she has never had a scooter previously so don’t know how heavy the older ones are but this scooter is still pretty heavy, or am I just weak lol.

    The weight thing is a bit of a problem as I have a dodgy back. I will be contacting the supplier about this but can you get a 12v charger so as it can be charged in the boot rather than removing it each time it needs charging?

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe

    #79884 Reply

    ChrisK
    Participant

    @oscarmax

    Hi Oscar

    It’s been a mistake of mine with my first and now with the Go-Go to buy the version with the smaller 12 Ah batteries to save on cost but then have to spend more money getting a spare battery box and batteries so defeats the saving on cost in the first place.

    I can imagine those 17 Ah batteries are a handful and looking at the equivalent Ah in Li-ion the cost go up way past £800 but I think we will see more of these battery types in scooters in future so cost will come down I’m sure.

    I’ve got a 150W inverter in the car hidden under the floor for emergencies but have never had to use it.

    A lot of the Li-ion powered class 2 scooters seem to be the folding type made for overseas travel and the likes and with there complex mechanics plus Li-ion batteries give us those eye watering prices but with the arrival of the CareCo Li-Tech scooters Li-ion now seems to be making its way into what I call “bog standard pavement scooters”. They have 3 in the range and the only difference is battery Ah range and was going to buy the mid-range 19Ah version but they put the price up £50 across the range (summer season I guess) last month so I’ve put buying one on the back burner for now.

    Of course you still have to deal with the weight of the scooter itself when stowing but it’s the advantage of extra range due to less weigh on the scooter, after all I’m a near on a 16 Stone lump myself without heavy batteries on board too and also man handling the scooter off the pavement were they have no dropped kerb is much easier.

    @shawn

    Hi Shawn

    That is a concern of mine with these batteries and by the end of summer I hope to have more experience in how they work with scooters.

    They are, so I’ve read, made to handle deep cycle recharging and should cut off power as not to damage the battery. Now the problem I have with that is how severe is the cut off, does it suddenly just stop working or will the battery indicator give me fair warning of a pending flat battery.

    As we know with lead acid batteries they have tendency to slowdown long before they give up the ghost and when they seem flat resting them for 10 minutes or more they seem to recover enough to get you back home as if on impulse power very slowly.

    If Li-ion just suddenly stops and that’s it, it could be a pain but time will tell as in 6 years of using these scooters I’ve only been caught out twice with having to put the scooter in freewheeling mode and pushing it back to base.

    @brydo

    Hi Brydo

    I don’t think you can charge the batteries with a 12V charger unless you remove the two batteries from there casing and charge them individually and that requires a lot of time even if your are abled and as the screws that hold the battery box together screw into plastic it won’t belong until there knacker. If you were to go for that method you would require the battery charger that comes with crocodile clips much like a car charger does to connect to the two spade pins on the battery.

    The best way around charging in the boot of the car is to use an inverter as mentioned by Oscarmax above. I’m assuming your asking about the scooter you’ve already got with Li-ion batteries so its a simple case of buying an inverter and plugging it into the 12V socket in the boot (if you have one, most do these days) then plugging your home charger that came with the scooter into the inverter using it’s standard 240V three pin socket one end and the 24V scooter socket the other end. I’m assuming again that the new Li-ion pavement scooters come with the same old three pin connection to the scooter that lead acid GEL batteries scooters come with.

    One other thing is although I carry an inverter in my car I’ve never used it so not 100% sure what value inverter you should use. The every day ones you can buy nearly everywhere start at a loading of 100 Watts and up to 1,000’s of Watts but as you got up the scale, like Li-ion batteries, they become very expensive but mine is 150 Watts and sure it would have no problems powering a 24V charger.

    I don’t know if you can buy a charger for Li-ion that plugs straight into the 12V car socket but it’s output has to be 24V so imagine it would have some sort of inline inverter and it also has to be for Li-ion batteries and not lead acid ones but I would be interested in what your supplier says if you do enquire.

    #79901 Reply

    vinalspin
    Participant

    I bought a 1000w inverter a few years back for when I go to watch touring car and it worked a treat with just an hours charge in the lunch break.

    Now I have a 240v socket built in to my current car so can just plug in same as at home but now I’ve changed scooter I don’t really need to as it has 3 packs of 2 paired 15ah batteries giving me a range way over 25 miles, if I were to replace these with Li-ion type it would cost me more than the scooter that I bought brand new last year, crazy!!!

    I also have 2 powerchairs, one takes 2 35ah batteries and the other 2 70ah, I can’t find anywhere that sells replacement’s for these and I assume if there is somewhere they would be so expensive that it would be cheaper to hire a butler and have him push me everywhere.

    On the power cycle issue with lithium batteries I would think it would work like the one’s in power tools, they work at 100% for virtually all their charge then at the last 30 seconds they dip massively in output and then stop(they don’t actually drain to 0% but around 5-10% but you can’t access that reserve as it’s made to save to battery, I wouldn’t take the scooter near it’s range limit without some kind of backup in place.

    #79905 Reply

    Brydo
    Participant

    I’m sure there are a couple of evs, although I did a quick search and couldn’t find any, that have a three pin socket on the chassis so as you can plug a TV, cooker and the like when camping.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe

    #80659 Reply

    ChrisK
    Participant

    Though I just do a quick update to this thread after using the Li-ion charger a few times since writing the above and discovering why the batteries don’t appear to reach full charge after several hours of charging.

    In two of the paragraphs above starting “Reading up on the working” and “Worried I might damaged” I’ve discovered that I’ve got to connect the charger to the battery box in exactly the same procedure as its written in the manual?

    The procedure is… plug in the 3 pin 240V mains plug and turn the power on then check the LED’s on the charger is showing one green and one red then plug in the 3 pin scooter battery socket in to the battery box and charging begins with the fan running too and both LED’s now showing red. When the batteries are fully charged the fan turns off and the charger LED’s show green and red again.

    That is the correct way and how it is written in the user manual but I always with most electrical things make all the connections first then turn on the power to be sure there is no possibility of a spark while making the connections however doing it that way the batteries don’t reach full charge and the charger just keeps going or may be the batteries are not charging at all but at least I’ve learnt that lesson now.

    #92519 Reply

    ChrisK
    Participant

    It’s been awhile but just thought I’d put a finale on this thread in how these batteries work in respect of when they go flat and just die or do they give fair warning?

    It’s taken me months to get to the situation where the batteries are completely flat as it’s not often I’m somewhere where I can risk running out of juices but last week I came across a time where I could risk it.

    On this occasion I’d used the batteries for 3 to 4 weeks without recharging with distance not counted and after removing the scooter from the car I did a little tour of the local Halford’s while her in doors went to her favourite shops. When I came out of the shop I noticed the battery indicator on the scooter had gone down one LED and the other half was about 300 metres away in another shop that I was now making my way to.

    After going another 200 Mtrs with 100 to go I was 2 LEDS down on the scooter meter so continued to make my way and after another 150 to 200 mtrs driving around the shop looking for the wife the batteries died and I mean died with nothing more to be had from the batteries.

    I put the scooter into free wheel and pushed the scooter out of the shop as not to get in anybodies way and when the wife came out she walked back to the car across the car park and got my other battery box with the GEL batteries in to get the scooter back to car.

    I can’t see a time where this would be a problem for me because if need be I’d just charge the batteries before going on what might be a longer journey but at least I now know you don’t get much of a warning of depleted batteries and I would say about 500 metres at best.

    I wonder how those scooters that some of you guys have that have calibrated battery meters for Li-on batteries and how much warning do they give? As my scooters batteries were calibrated for lead acid GEL batteries so wonder if they give more warning overall though I add an upgrade that was well worth it.

    #92533 Reply

    Oscarmax
    Participant

    Hi Chris thanks for your update, I have decided to renew my 2 x 17amp batteries with new Yuasa 2 x 18 amp £72.99 including delivery, however I intend to add 2 x 15/20 watt solar panels which I can also use on my large 8mph shoprider.


    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #92537 Reply

    vinalspin
    Participant

    Li-ion batteries in general run at full beans until the last drop then they fall off a cliff with barely any warning and as far as giving notice, even with a proper calibrated display you get the same kind of notice, ie, going, going, gone.

    #92561 Reply

    Zelda
    Participant

    Do be careful of those sharp turns on your scooter chrisK, I can tell you from experience that although those scooters aren’t the biggest or heaviest scooters on the market, when one lands on top of you, you damn well know about it :/   :'(

    #92601 Reply

    ChrisK
    Participant

    Hi Zelda

    Thanks for you concern Zelda but yes I do take care on the scooter and my remarks about the skid was just the first time I used the scooter with the upgraded batteries so don’t make a habit of it. ?

    One thing that is a problem that seems to go under the carpet is some dropped kerbs outside private houses as some seem to be very steep and when you drive across them my scooter leans into that reclining slop.

    It’s mostly where folk have done a DIY pavement ramp as council approved ones are OK but this is more or less the only place I have problems navigating with my scooter and more so now because a few months ago I upgraded my scooter to one that has all round suspension so makes crossing some dropped kerbs very hairy as I have to lean in the opposite direction to make sure the scooter does not topple.

    #92604 Reply

    vinalspin
    Participant

    This is the way to go.

    Alternative perspective

    Heh heh heh.

    #92657 Reply

    Bandit
    Participant

    Thanks for this informative post Chris. I’ve been contemplating the purchase of a 2nd hand scooter lately and it’s interesting that you can replace the old gel batteries with li-ion. Especially as many scooters are advertised as could do with new batteries etc.

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