WHEELCHAIR BATTERIES - THE BASICS
Wheelchairs are one of the most common SLA battery applications and we want to give you some basic information to help you if you are about to replace your batteries.
To begin with, 99% of all Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs use two of the 12 volt Deep Cycle, Sealed Lead Acid Batteries. The two batteries are mainly connected in series to make a 24-volt system (with a jumper wire to connect the negative terminal of the first battery to the positive terminal of the second battery. Another set of cables connects the open positive and negative terminals to your application). This is why you need a 24 volt Battery Charger.
Capacity is the second major factor when looking at batteries. An Amp Hour (Ah) is the amount of energy a battery holds. The higher Amp Hours in a battery the longer it will last and further the mobility vehicle will go. Unfortunately, your mobility vehicle is limited to certain size batteries which determines a limit for the amount of Amp Hours you can go with.
Next, there are two major types of batteries - Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) and Gel Batteries. Both are Sealed Lead Acid (SLA), spill proof batteries. Both are approved by the F.A.A. and DOT to be brought on Planes and Cruise Ships. AGM batteries function better in colder environments than Gel batteries but Gel batteries last up to twice as long in terms of run time and also have longer life expectancy. Most mobility manufacturers state in their Owner's Manuals that either Gel or AGM batteries can be used so it is up to you to decide which version would you prefer.
Bottom line regarding batteries: Believe it or not, Gel Batteries are the better value even though their price is higher. This is because Gel batteries can be recharged roughly twice as many times as AGM Batteries.
Power Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter batteries are actually quite similar in size. There are hundreds of different mobility vehicles in use but if you add them all up, they only use around 8 different battery sizes. And of those 8 sizes, 5 of all sizes are the most commonly used ones. These are:
12 Volt - 12Ah or 15Ah, both are the Same size. Usually used in small portable vehicles.
12 Volt - 18Ah or 22 Ah, again, both are same dimensions. Usually used in small portable vehicles to help extend the range.
12 Volt - 31Ah to 36Ah, these are known as U1 Batteries and dimensions are similar. Mainly used in mid-size mobility vehicles.
12 Volt - 55Ah, known as NF-22 or NF22 Batteries. Mainly used in large size high weight capacity mobility vehicles.
12 Volt - 75Ah, known as Group 24 Batteries. Used mainly in Heavy Duty mobility vehicles.
If you want to upgrade to a higher capacity battery check this article for more information.
And last but not least, we recommend you look at the batteries that are currently in your mobility vehicle or refer to your Owner's Manual before ordering new batteries. If you need any kind of assistance, call us at 1-800-409-0250 and we'll will help you.