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Thread: How often do you charge your power chair?

  1. #1
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    How often do you charge your power chair?

    Ryan was told at rehab to charge his power chair every night. He has decided (as with many things) that he is going against the grain. His chair has a power monitor and he refuses to charge it until it is dead.

    I would like to compromise in that I think the chair should be charged when it gets below 20%. He does not go far on most days and is OK with charging if borderline when he knows he going to go far. I am afraid that the day is coming when I will have to get the 500+ pounds (combined weight) up the ramp to get him in the house. This is really not physically possible for me.

    I am interested in what others do to compromise between battery life and power needs for the day.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  2. #2
    I was told to let mine charge every time I am not using it so mine is charging for months because I use only a few times in the winter when I need to get outside the house. They told me the same with my van so it is charing for days sometimes.
    TH 12, 43 years post

  3. #3
    I charge mine every second or third night. I use mine everyday and school and sometimes to walk to the coffeee shop, too.

    WG

  4. #4
    As far as charging goes, my experience has been that you need to alternate charging between charging every single night and charging say, every second night. I have a power (transit) chair that I had been using as an everyday chair prior to acquiring my manual chair that I now use exclusively.

    I was finding that if the power chair was charged every single night at exactly the same time (over time) the battery began to reverse charge itself ie: Instead of the chair being fully charged it would only get close to 20% charged and the charger could not go any further.

    Charging the chair say, every second night regardless of the percentage of charge was a lot better and it kept charge longer and pushed the charger to charge the battery to it's absolute capacity.

    It is risky leaving a small window of charge in your chair because you might end up stuck somewhere, but i just feel that overcharging of the batteries is a bigger deal than the manufacturers or dealers would have you believe, not that they are lying but I just don't think they believe it's a concern.

    Although, over ridding all my comments is that: a dedicated power chair does use bigger far more powerful batteries, my little chair only used 2 small batteries because it was a chair that was made to be broken down for transportation. Your power chair may take scheduled charging far better.

    Just try and keep in mind the amount of work the chair may have had that day, if the chair was used quite a bit that day give it a night on the charger. Then say, the chair only gets a little 'round the house use on another day, don't charge it that night and be a little careful the next day, just find the batteries limits.

    I may have confused you more than anything, hope not.

  5. #5
    I charge my wheelchair every night after I get out of it and into bed. My first power chair and charger lasted 10 years and I still have it as a life boat. I have been charging my new chair every night after I get into bed for 4 years and I haven't had any trouble with battery "memory" etc. Talk to your durable medical equipment supplier (to break the deadlock/tie) and follow their direction or refer to the owners manual that came with the wheelchair.

    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    Every night. The advice really depends on the type of battery and the quality of charger. The recommendation from the battery manufacturer on gel batteries with a newer charger designed for them is to charge every day, especially when the battery is breaking in. I have had no problems with this routine. As a routine, I tend to not forget as I did when charging every 3rd day. The worst is to let the batteries sit a LONG time without charging them. That can prematurely kill the battery.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  7. #7
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    This may blow your minds but Ryan has had his new chair for more than three months and we have only charged it twice. Until the power monitor gets to the red zone, he yells at me for wanting to charge it. Unless tomorrow is going to involve him traveling any real distance, he wants to let it wait. His "normal" day does not involve any real distance in his chair. In addition to the around the house stuff (bedroom to bathroom for face & teeth, kitchen for some meals-he likes to eat in his "lair") he only goes from the van to the door to therapy or doctor's office. He turns his chair off when he is not actively driving and most days, honestly, he goes less than 200 yards. He is worried about shortening the life of his battery even though this chair will probably only last him a couple of years. This is because at 19, he is still growing and the last one had to be replaced in less than 2 years because he had outgrown it. This one has some ability to be adjusted as he grows but that is limited.

    After hearing what others have to say, I will probably charge his chair more often, regardless of the power left. I have no interest in pushing that chair on a level surface, let alone going up the ramp into the house. This will probably mean plugging it in after he is asleep because I do not want to fight with him about it.

    The last chair had a issue in December after he drove it over where I had swept the snow out of the way-there was less than 1/8 inch of snow on the sidewalk. It was an Invicare TDX-SP chair and this one is a Quickie 6000. It took two days for the electrical system to dry out fully and then it worked fine. It would be fine except it is too small for him-gathering dust in the spare room. He has a manual chair for emergency use but cannot push it for any distance due to weak shoulders. As weird as it sounds, he will probably walk before he can propel a manual chair. Legs are working better than shoulders. It is odd but true.--eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

  8. #8
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    To confuse things further, we were told to run it down as far as possible (while being sensible - e.g don't go out for a 2 mile roll with it at 20%) and then only charge it when its very low. And that after it's charged, remove the plug if it has to sit for more than a day or two - e.g. don't let it charge for a long time after its full. He used to charge it every day, the way we do it now and has improved battery life tremendously. He has a Permobil C500.

  9. #9
    We were told to run it down to 20%, 2 bars also. It is weird like some gas tanks though, the second half seems to go down faster.
    That's really something how that lasts eak.
    Yes, pushing it as 650 pounds plus for me is not something I look forward to.

  10. #10
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    I thing I have decided to meet him in the middle, when it hits 20%, I will charge it no matter what he says-he let it go to to less than 10%. I agree that the last quarter goes the fastest, just like the gas tank. At least with the van, I have AAA that will bring me gas (for a premium cost), if necessary. I know of no way to bail out a power chair that has no power. --eak
    Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
    mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
    Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

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