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Charging your Personal Mobility Aid (PMA) During Circuit Breaker

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Your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair may have been left uncharged since the Circuit Breaker began on 7th April. But did you know that they still need to be charged regularly to maintain the health of the batteries?

Personal Mobility Aids (PMA) that use sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries have this problem. The type of SLA batteries used by PMAs are not exactly the same as those used by cars, but they are similar in nature.

Most people know that if you don't start a car's engine for too long, the batteries may die and you won't be able to re-start the car. But for a PMA, it's not about whether or not you use the PMA, but whether or not you charge it.

SLA batteries lose charge naturally over the course of time, but that happens much faster when they are still connected to circuits.

In storage, fully charged SLA batteries can be stored up to 6 months without deterioration, and all you need to do is to charge them up again to store for another 6 months.

However, when they are connected to circuits (e.g. in a PMA or a car), the voltage of the batteries drop much faster. Once they drop below charging voltage (about 8 V), you will no longer be able to recharge the batteries, and they need to be changed.

In a car, the battery is recharged when the engine spins the alternator (or dynamo in older cars). Energy is those converted from the fuel into electrical energy and stored in the battery.

But because PMAs don't run on fuel, their only source of energy comes from the battery. This energy needs to be replaced from the power grid by charging the battery.

It's now more than a month since the Circuit Breaker began. Have you charged your battery since then? If not, please do so now!

Alternatively, if your PMA has a detachable battery pack, you can charge it up, then disconnect it from the mobility scooter or motorised wheelchair. This will allow you to store it for several months without the need to recharge.

 

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