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John Williamson

How to Charge a Powerchair or Scooter, Fast, Directly From a Motor Vehicle.

I do this AUTOMATICALLY as a matter of course every time I travel in my van...

Detailed PowerChair Only Menu

There are a few ways to charge a scooter or powered wheelchair in a motor vehicle. This is the fastest, cheapest and easiest! 

I use my powerchair a LOT. I always prefer to have fully charged batteries at every opportunity and the batteries like it too as they last much longer. But first the other methods! In order of how bad due to charge speed, complication or expense!

Method 1: Use your standard powerchair or scooter 24v charger with an "inverter" connected to your battery. This is very, very, slow and requires that you connect an extra "inverter" to your cars battery to obtain the "wall" voltage. Its very inefficient and wasteful to convert 12v from your car to 120 or 240ac  And then back down to 24v for your batteries.

And depending on inverter type, and charger type it may not even work. Its a hit and miss affair that is expensive.  And it takes typically 8 hours for a full charge...Yawn...

Method 2: Use one of the commercially available "in car" mobility chargers. These are only 2.5 Amps! So it will take 10 hours solid just to replace less than half of your charge in a typical powerchair or scooter. These are a waste of time and money. Unless charging something with very small batteries like a shopping scooter. Even then - slow.  

Method 3: Connect an "Anderson" connector to each battery on your powerchair.  Fit another one on your cars dashboard and connect it with HEAVY 10Sq mm (7 gauge) cable to the cars battery with a 100 amp fuse.  See Anderson style connectors  And Charge a Powerchair directly from a vehicle for info...This charges one battery at a time fast from any car.

Now you can connect one powerchair battery in turn (NOT BOTH TOGETHER) directly to your cars battery and therefore its charging system. After say 30 mins do the other battery. Make sure you charge each one for the SAME time period as you drive or run the engine. This typically can put up to 100 amps into your battery if its big, and very discharged. Amps fall away as it becomes charged up. But now you need one of these too overnight dual charger to balance the batteries up.

Method 4: Use the same Anderson connectors as in 3 above, but use a very special charger called a Hyperion charger to charge at 24v and charge both batteries at the same time at 24v in very efficient and controlled fashion as you drive.  See Very Flexible Hyperion Charger!

Method 5: The latest and easiest method!  Only recently figured out how to do this safely and easily!

Fit the two (one pair) of Anderson connectors to your powerchair or scooters batteries. One connector to battery 1 and the other connector to battery 2

Now use a volt meter on your batteries. Test one POSITIVE and one NEGATIVE terminal on different batteries. Not on the same battery!   (If you get a reading of 12v or 13v you are measuring ONE battery!)

One set of terminals will read 24v (actually more like 25v or 26v) and the other two POS and NEG terminals will read ZERO volts.

That's because the powerchairs wiring loom connects these two zero volt terminals together. It goes nowhere else. Undo the two that read ZERO volts and tape up the ends of the terminals and leave them disconnected. You don't want them any more. The powerchairs wiring loom then is now only connected in two places. The only connections to the two "centre" battery terminals should be your Anderson connectors.

Now the powerchair wont move... Because nothing links the two centre terminals to join up the string of batteries.  Until you remember the two freshly fitted Anderson connectors.


My pair of Anderson connectors yesterday... The grey things! The front one goes to the front battery. The rear one goes to the rear battery. Each one is now isolated from each other since we disconnected that powerchair wiring loom cable that joined the batteries together.. So the chair will not drive until we plug in a wire LINK below...

Here the LINK wire that makes the chair go is on the right. It simply plugs in and is left in like a "key" so that the batteries are joined in a string to allow them to be 24v for the powerchair or scooter. It can still be charged normally with the standard charge socket when this link is in place too. Remove it though and we have two ISOLATED 12V batteries!

So with the other connector shown on the left above we can plug the two batteries together as a single battery. A 12v battery. They are now connected in parallel and can be charged with any 12v battery charger or vehicle. This has the advantage of always making the batteries balance or equalise exactly during charge or even just by connecting them together, The chair wont drive like this. Which prevents you moving while charging which is good.  The control system will think there is a battery problem! And there is! its now 12v combined rather than series and 24v...

Advantages? You can charge DIRECTLY via an Anderson connector in your car. Both batteries at the same time at up to 100 amps. So very very fast recovery. Just make sure that only 7 gauge or 10 sq mm cable is used and that you understand the dangers.  Thousands of amps can flow and destroy vehicles and powerchairs if you cock it up!  Be warned.


Anyway here's how it goes... I walk the dog, or am just going out (like in these photos), to the shopping centre. My batteries are a little used up 3 lights gone...

I am going out for a good few hours so take my charge lead with me below...  Here its about 55 percent or more discharged.

Charge lead in hand! Van in distance... I drive this van from my powerchair so I have a connector in the dashboard ready.

Tiny black thing in the centre, under the ash tray. It is another Anderson connector. Its connected to the battery under the cars bonnet via a 100 amp fuse.

Now one end of my cable is plugged in. And then the other two plugs are connected to the powerchair. Cant photo that as its too hard to bend/focus etc... Now to show what happens I have a Digital "clamp" ammeter.

49 Amps, --- SIX TIMES FASTER than your mobility charger!  Yes, its a different cable! Its shorter (better)

This started up @ around 80 Amps, and settled down after a few minutes to 45 or so. After a 15 minute drive in town traffic it was just 6 amps. About 90 percent charged and ready for the pub! I do this daily. Helps keep the average DOD to sensible limits. Batteries last years longer.


As you can see here it is sat on my passenger seat while I drive... It started off showing around 2 amps going in the wrong direction! It was slowly feeding the vans electrics, from the ramp etc. Since the van, and the powerchairs batteries are now all connected together.

When I turn the key to start the van around 50 Amps went towards helping the van start. (This will start your vehicle with a flat battery too if you are stuck)

Once started it charged initially at around 60 amps, More if badly discharged. After a few minutes that settled to about 35 amps for a fairly long time. That's typically 5 to 7 times faster charge rate than your "mobility" charger.

Will it hurt the batteries? Most definitely not! Your cars alternator doesn't hurt ITS battery does it?

Actually it never exceeds 14.4v so its perfectly safe even for gel batteries. When all three batteries are charged the total amps falls to less than a quarter of 1 amp. Your car isn't stupid it doesn't overcharge batteries but it does charge your chair fast and cheaply. Just a few connectors and nothing to go wrong.

Related Pages

Charge a Powerchair directly from a vehicle  Earlier version - charges one battery at a time...Must read as explains in more detail than this MK2 version!

Anderson style connectors and why you need them

Fast Charge YOUR Powerchair in Around 1 Hour

Inverters & Chargers

Batteries for Both Vans & Power Wheelchairs

Which Batteries to Buy

Very Flexible Charger!


Lithium Ion Batteries for Powerchairs and Scooters

My Power Wheelchair or Scooter Will Not Charge

BCI Battery Sizes, Group 22, 24, 34, 27 etc

Drive Your Powerchair by Radio Control

A Superior Powerchair overnight charger

Battery Planning How to organise yourself for every eventuality!




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