Upgrading std Scooter Batteries to Li-ion Batteries

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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 15 replies - 26 through 40 (of 40 total)
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  • #121654 Reply
    Roger Poyner

    ChrisK

    Thanks for that information, I will probably give it a try.

    #125803 Reply
    Florin Sendrea

    Just be aware , easy trick on market! Lithium ion!!!    are not

    Lithium iron!!!!

     

    #125890 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    I’ve not heard that one before Florin but as with everything these day’s buyers must beware but that said the battery-megastore are genuine as are their batteries and I’m over a year and half with my first set of Li-On batteries from Ebay/Amazon seller and no problems what’s soever as too for the near on year old Li-On batteries from the megastore.

    Black Friday not far of now so will be checking the stores prices next month for any Li-On bargains.😊

    #130479 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    Just thought being that time of year (Black Friday week) I’d drop back in and give a heads up on these batteries.

    Checking directly with the Megastore there is no black Friday deals this year on the 12V x 12Ah Li-on batteries that I can see on their website, still priced at £105 for one unit or £189 for two but by chance while doing a search for anyone else selling the TN Power Li-On’s I dragged up their Batterymegastore Ebay shop and there these batteries are selling at £79.50p for one unit or £143.10p for two units all with free delivery.

    I don’t know how long the deal is on for but yesterday on Ebay there was a countdown clock running that had about 10 hours to run to end of deal but the clock was at 9 hours to go today so who knows.

    I was tempted to get a third set for my stand-by scooter but her in doors pointed out I’ve only used that scooter twice since Christmas day last year so I’m giving it a miss this time around.

     

     

     

    #136496 Reply
    Olebill.

    I’ve got a Little Gem 2 buggy, not doing anything. I wanted to,li- on upgrade, but dealer says it doesn’t happen . Cost too much to convert. Being a dealer he would want to sell the  much dearer upgrade. Me, still looking to do it on my own withe the information I might glean from experienced converters. Do we need a BMS electronic controller to add to the electrics . This is said to be needed on Rechargable power tools.

    looks like I need a new battery power display, as I left on tied on full power with wheels up, And dropped in the recharged battery. Something fuzzed, and it’s not working now.thing is now ,ca I do li-on batteries on it and what will I need.

     

    #136616 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    Hi Olebill

    I’ve had a quick Google for the Little Gem and it appears it’s a standard pavement scooter so upgrading the batteries to Li-on should not be a problem.

    There’s no need to change anything on the scooter as the electronics will just see a standard 2×12v 12Amp supply from the battery and changing the batteries is the same as if you where changing worn out lead AGM batteries. It’s simple enough to do and although the wiring inside the battery box looks complicated its just a simple of case of taking a photo of the wiring before dissembling and putting it back together in a reverse order following the photograph.

    Not sure what you mean “left turned on with wheels up” and why it’s not working now, more than likely its blow a fuse either the one on your current battery pack or one or two of the ones found on the scooter so check those as they are very cheap to replace.

    If the scooter does have something wrong with it that you can’t fix a local repair shop is the best bet but not one who’s main trade is selling new scooters. I renewed my scooter about 18 months ago from an internet shop and needed a spare battery box so went to the local repair shop expecting a higher price than internet sellers and was surprised they were £10 cheaper than anyone on E-Bay or Amazon and had a face to talk to so I’ve learnt a lesson here myself.

    If you do upgrade the batteries to Li-on make sure the scooter is in full working ordered with its original battery before attempting any upgrades or it can get confusing as you won’t know if its the upgrade or something else that was wrong before you started.

    One thing to lookout for using Li-on batteries as we’ve talked about before in this thread is the sudden power cut when the battery is flat as with lead based batteries you get a pre-warning because the scooter loses power and slows down however it will still go on, be it very slowly, to get you home or back to the car but with Li-on the battery meter on the scooter will drop a little bit then within a few hundred metres the scooter stops dead and that’s it until you recharge the battery.

    I’ve only tested this once while seeing what would happen in that situation but a couple of weeks before Christmas I was in Sainsbury’s and noticed the battery meter had dropped one LED and me being clever and not following my own advice thought it should be OK until I finished shopping however it was not and the scooter stopped dead right in the middle of an aisle. Thankfully I do carry a spare battery box (with Li-on) in the car and had to get my wife to go and get those while everyone in the shop tried to social distance themselves around me. 😁

    All said I only recharge the battery this time of year, with less use, about every 3 or 4 weeks but if I charged it every time I used it, as it does no harm, I would never of had this problem but its something to keep in mind if you often take your scooter to the range limit of the battery even though Li-on has a greater range it’s worth keeping in mind, more so if your away from home with no spare backup battery.

    #142810 Reply
    Robint
    Participant

    Hi scoobies.  I am hobbled by arthritis adn have been with scooters for 10+ years – for us afflicted guys these are a godsend and you come to rely on them heavily

    I am so glad I have discovered this thread – by accident – as I found there is almost no relevant forum for mobility users (ie that isnt a commercial site with their cowboys).  This seems to be a genuine user’s site which is what I want to share my frank experiences with

    This website seems to make it really obtuse to register a new user? weird, but figured it after half hour round the houses

    Also frustrating is the site is not subdivided into categories, so all comments are just lumped on top of each other, making is near impossible to find this thread from “home”.  Wrose still is you cant list the comments by their one line title (AFAIK)

    Well im here now and book marked

    I started my search cos I need to upgrade my dying Lab batteries 2×12 75Ah to an equivalent Lipo set so have been taking council here on others’ experiences.  I went into it all 2019 when I noticed my range dying off, but Covid limited my trips to a couple of miles to the local shops so I shelved my enquiries.  A recent 3 mile  trip showed me action was needed soonest (DoD down to 50% never happened before.

    So here I am hoping to exchange views

    BTW I notice that many of the comments are from lay users – no disrespect here – who have not the benefit of a technical background – which I have.  So I am happy to contribute to  the knowledge base for example

    Lab vs Lipo operation

    The discharge curve of a Lab is flat from 25v till about 40% Dod 24v then is rounded like a knee to 23v when it drops off very quickly

    Sadly if only it were that simple but the plateau level varies widely 26v – 25v  (summer full charged) down to 23v – 20v winter heavy load drawn

    The capacity say 100Ah new can drop to 60Ah on prolonged heavy discharge – going up a long hill

    It can be seriously false because of manufacturers exaggerated claims and hidden use of recycled materials

    Winter temps reduce capacity to ca 75%

    The ribbon LED range meters are a very poor indicator of remaining usage.  I never ran mine below 70% as the the rate dropped very rapidly after that with barely 500m left – I didnt want to get pavement stranded

    I found a better way (other than travelling known distances) was to use an app on my smart phone  GPS speedometer distance meter  free

    Age  and abuse will show in reduced range. Dont expect >4 years from a premium quality battery supplier

    Batteries must be kept in fully charged state.  Deep cycle does not mean you can go from 100% down to 0% like a tank of gas.  In good practice it mean 100-60% and maybe 80% in an emergency only

    For newbies for safety I would advise – whatever the range claims of salesmen divide by 4

    Hope that helps, I will try and post some more pix and graphs

    This is a very comprehensive popular source on Batteries

    file:///C:/Users/User/Documents/battery/batteries/lab/Measuring%20State-of-charge%20-%20Battery%20University.htm

     

    OBTW reason Lipos die suddenly is their  curve is much more like a doorstep than a knee

    But the positive side is that you can get a reliable DoD estimate from a simple no load voltmeter reading – more on this next time

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Robint. Reason: lipo info
    #142929 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    Hi Robint, welcome to the forum.

    Yes your right, we’re all lay users here but please feel free to add anything to the thread.

    The thread is in the Doldrums now as I’m not sure if there’s anything I can add to it and the only aspects of it now is time and how long these batteries last over time using (a) a dedicated Li-on fan assisted chargers or (b) the bog standard lead acid charger that comes with a standard mobility scooter and up to now, Ive had no problems with either.

    We already know the massive advantages of the light weight of these batteries and there extra range they give but would be great to one day have a battery meter on our scooters that are calibrated for Li-on if that’s possible as my two pavement scooter came with lead-acid batteries so the scooters meter would be calibrated for that type of battery.

    My thinking is EV cars have this cliff-edge cut-out too but is the display in a EV car any more informative as my scooters meter?

     

     

     

    #144302 Reply
    ThomasD

    Good post, thank you for the read Chris, but I would add something from myself regarding batteries. A blog I read has recently posted a quite nice post about reanimating batteries, so this might be insightful as well to someone, especially now that we are outside of cold season:  https://velobike.co.uk/blog/can-mobility-scooter-batteries-be-repaired/

    Hope this helps someone, as I found this guide useful myself

    Cheers!

    #144307 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    Hi Thomas

     

    Some interesting stuff in there and had it been yesterday morning (April Fools) I might have took that as a joke i.e. putting your batteries in a sealed plastic bag and leaving them in the freezer for 24 hours to reanimate them, but if and when any of my Li-on‘s show any sign of reduced efficacy I might well try that. Don’t know what her in doors will say when I take the pork chops out of the freezer to make room for my batteries. 😊

    With the all the kids on electric scooter around my way I think we will be seeing a lot more stuff about these types of batteries over the coming years.

    Thanks for the info Thomas.

    #144727 Reply
    Mark

    In case anyone is interested, the only precise way to measure Remaining capacity on a lithium iron battery is to use a Coulomb counter. These precisely measure the amount of charge leaving the battery and so determined a percentage left.

     

    #144754 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    Hi Mark

    I wonder if that’s what is used in the meters that come in Li-on scooters.

    My scooter came with lead acid gel batteries so the meter is calibrated for that type and as such is almost useless with Li-ons so I wonder if such electronic as the “Coulomb counters” are installed in equipment that sold with Li-on batteries.

    #144758 Reply
    Wigwam
    Participant

    An interesting question. I suspect @gothitjulie will know…

    #144759 Reply
    Robint

    the standard lead acid meters are simple voltmeters (cost a few pounds) calibrated to read (very approximate) SoC% eg red band/green band. You cant use them when running as the battery voltage drops substantially under load.  You need to leave the scooter standing for 5-10 mins to allow the battery to recover (let the gas bubbles formed on the plates under load to dissipate), This standing voltage also falls as the ambient temp drops and also the age of the battery. So you could have an over optimistic estimate of remaining charge of say 50%.  Experience should give you a clue.

    Ive never heard of a charge meter fitted to a scooter. They are expensive and have bulky wires to measure current.  I am evaluating one just now  £13  Its typically fitted to a solar installation.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-60V-100A-Battery-Power-Analyzer-Watt-Meter-Balancer-DC-RC-Helicopter-S6/402750177190?var=672995541100

    I shall monitor the Ah from a battery under static load (5A light bulbs) over time vs voltage. That way I can get an accurate idea of the remaining capacity after 2 years use

    So instead of 100% when new (allegedly – I am suspicious of claims – who ever measures capacity of a new battery) I might only have 50% available from fully charged

    Thats how drastic it can be with lead acid

    #144761 Reply
    gothitjulie
    Participant

    An interesting question. I suspect @gothitjulie will know…

    I suspect that I don’t really have an answer.

    A Coulomb counter measures all the current that goes out of the battery/batteries which is kind of clever but you could just guestimate the distances travelled since your last charge & not exceed your range potential.

    So, if you’ve calculated that you have maybe 8 miles range before hitting 20% of remaining capacity on those lithiums, don’t push it over 8 miles or you’ll potentially damage the batteries.

    Your aim is to keep lithium batteries in the 20% to 80% range when not being used, you can bump the charge up to nearly 100% just before you use it quite quickly.

    Charging strategies include balancing the cells, so a 100% full charge once a month is a good idea, but the rest of the time there is no need to keep lithium batteries at a full charge so best not to as they don’t like it.

    Yes, I have a lightweight lithium powered wheelchair and after 5 years the batteries are not as great as they once were, but I’m not planning to replace the batteries anytime soon as £300 each for 5 year old battery tech I’ll make my own battery packs with more modern cells, or, use safer cells such as the lithium iron phosphate cells I used in the big wheelchair. Also, at 5 years the lithium batteries are still better than new lead acid ones.

    One other thing about lithium batteries, please only use a charger suited to the specific lithium chemistry of your batteries, you only want to charge lithium iron phosphate batteries to around 3.55-3.60V maximum per cell (4 cells for a 12V equivalent, any lead acid charger that puts out over 14.4V in any charging phase will potentially cook them although this depends on what circuitry is inside those batteries, I suspect they have a charger & BMS that corrects any voltages). Lithium ion cells are usually max 4.2 volts per cell so need a different charging system (power supply plus BMS inside the batteries), the charger for my Lithium ion wheelchair looks like one off a powerful laptop computer & puts out 2A, I also have a 5A one but don’t use it often.

    Good luck

     

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