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Thread: Can lithium deep cycle batteries be used with powerchairs?

  1. #1
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Can lithium deep cycle batteries be used with powerchairs?

    After doing some reading I see the suggestion that using lithium batteries with powerchairs - a straight swap or add-on, would most likely cause problems with the chair's electronics. Anyone have ideas about using or adding lithium batteries for our chairs?

    Shorai LFX36A3-BS12 ( http://shoraipower.com/lfx36a3-bs12-p126 ) 36 amp hour batteries.
    Last edited by grommet; 03-29-2017 at 02:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Interesting that you brought this up. I have often wondered why no one talks about converting to lithium, but not having a power chair I have not looked into it. What I have been doing however off and on since getting an I-Glide is re-doing it's battery system. It came with a very weak NIMH battery which is not much better than NiCad and it seems the re branded Tailwind is still using the old technology NIMH chemistry but in a larger size that do not fit the I-glide.

    So I got busy and concerned why they did not upgrade to a lighter and better chemistry. After much research and study, I came to the conclusion that they could have used NCM Nickel Cadium Magnesium cells with a little bit of a workaround. (I'm trying that now)

    That background is to let you know what I learned on the way. You can run two lithium batteries in parallel, but they must be in equal starting charge. Full charge is easiest. And to answer your other question, you cannot mix lithium battery types and not mix them with lead acid batteries without causing long term damage to the lithium batteries. If you need it I can find the discussion on this, but that is the bottom line that I read.
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  3. #3
    Wheelchairdriver.com forum for all things powerchair, especially lithium batteries. Those guys have been doing it for years.

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    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Thanks nonoise. I am doing more research and it agrees with you. I was hoping for a way to add extra capacity but it seems lithium isn't the way to go yet.

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    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Wheelchairdriver.com forum for all things powerchair, especially lithium batteries. Those guys have been doing it for years.
    Yep, I did some reading there. A lot to understand.

    Today I did talk to the folks at Shorai, a lithium battery maker. The told me their batteries are not deep cycle and should not be used the way I was asking. They also corrected some other information for me.

    Sometimes there are shortcuts and I find them. I think with batteries for powerchairs, it's going to be lead acid for a while longer.

  6. #6
    The heavy LA batteries provide critical ballast in some power wheelchairs, especially those with seat elevators and standers. The weight keeps them from tipping over easily.
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    Senior Member GJ2's Avatar
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    i agree with SCIfor55yrs and would ad that i dont want to sit on top of lithium just yet. I'm a little concerned about the fire/explosion hazard still.

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    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    The heavy LA batteries provide critical ballast in some power wheelchairs, especially those with seat elevators and standers. The weight keeps them from tipping over easily.
    Yes, you're right. I completely forgot about that. My batteries are very low and my seat elevator goes 12" high. Thanks for reminding me.

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    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJ2 View Post
    i agree with SCIfor55yrs and would ad that i dont want to sit on top of lithium just yet. I'm a little concerned about the fire/explosion hazard still.

    Yeah I thought about the Samsung thing and how we are sitting right over our batteries. Definitely a scary thought. One article talked about that. That because chairs are medical devices the safety testing was more thorough and can take a very long time. I guess with the idea of using lightweight lithium batteries for chairs, the chairs need to be redesigned to account for the difference in weight/COG and other factors. So it may not be for a long time.

  10. #10
    They are already using lithium batteries in wheelchairs. I have a Smart Chair (a portable electric chair) and the battery life is awesome, also I've seen some lightweight scooters with lithium batteries and Smart Drive does too. I've not heard of any battery fire/explosions. As far as ballast, you can always add that. It's time for the makers of full size power chairs to embrace the lithium ion technology. In the space where two Group 24 batteries go you could have lithium batteries that last 3 or 4 times at long. Well that's my rant and I'm sticking to it.

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