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Scroll down to read about this in car wheelchair charger!

Charging Wheelchairs (powered Wheel Chairs) on the move inside a vehicle. And inverters...   More Charging Methods

Charge ANY 24v powerchair or Scooter DIRECTLY from your car FAST!  

+ Charge FAST at home or while out and about...

See also:  Battery Charging  &  Powerchair and vehicle batteries & Detailed PowerChair Only Menu

Charging On The Move: Charging a power wheelchair in or from a vehicle on the face of it looks pretty simple. But unfortunately its not so simple.  It can be done though because after a huge fight I now do this regularly. As we know on a big day out power chair or scooter batteries die all too often! All those hills or grass soon kills the batteries. And when you least want them to die.


There are several ways to do this. You cant just arrange a connection to the vehicles battery and let the car or vans alternator charge your batteries though.  Because whilst a wheelchairs batteries are 12 volt lead acid, the same as your car, they are already connected in series.  Connected together to make a "string" of batteries called a series connection and this string is 24 volt. So your wheelchair needs a special 24 volt charger. See I told you it wasn't easy...  For answers scroll down.

Actually the wheelchair chargers are a bit more complex than just a 24v supply and charge at various different rates (amps) and voltages during the charge cycle, although fortunately we don't really need to know anything about that for now!


Simple cheap 300 watt 12v to 240v (120v) inverterPlug your stock wheelchair charger into a cheap common inverter?

The first cheapest and least efficient way to do this is to use an "inverter". Opposite.
This is a simple device that you can plug into your cigarette lighter socket in the dashboard and it gives you a 110/120v ac or 240v ac normal power outlet in your car.  But its MUCH better to connect it straight to the battery. Or have an extension cable connected to the battery that leads into the interior of your vehicle with an Anderson connector on the end. I use these on vans, chargers wheelchairs and everything else!

This one is 300 watts. That's the largest size you can use by plugging into a cigarette lighter socket. Actually its too big! A maximum current that these sockets are supposed to supply is 10 amps. A 300 watt inverter will try to take double that if you actually USE all of its 300 watts and will blow a fuse in your car after a short time.. So a 3 or 4 amp wheelchair charger would be about the biggest sensible practical size to plug into it. Any bigger and you must wire the inverter directly to the car or vans battery. Its not only useful for charging your powerchair though but also for anything else that needs mains power.  12v in and mains voltage but low power power out (about 150 watts maximum is sensible from a cigar lighter socket)

But many modern chargers are "switch mode"  devices. (these are lighter and more efficient) but they will not work unless your new inverter is a "pure sine wave" device.  And whilst available they are very expensive and not common. 

Most cheap inverters are not "pure sine wave" so most modern powerchair chargers wont work like this. This one doesn't work from an inverter. It has no heavy transformer and is small, light and "switch mode"...  If yours is one of these then you are stuck.

This next blue and white charger is an older type, "heavy" charger and it uses a heavy built in transformer. It works fine with the inverter that plugs into the car or vans power socket. Although its very borderline as it tries to draw the absolute maximum from your cars cigarette lighter socket. OK occasionally but I wouldn't keep doing it.  Something will melt or burn out eventually unless your inverter is wired directly to the battery..

A problem with these inverters is that if you buy a typical cheap small one  it may or may not have enough power to run your charger. Most larger 7 amp wheelchair chargers take about 300 watts. That's too much unless connected to the battery (not plugged into the dashboard). Look at the tag on your charger it will tell you. If you need a bigger one then it will mean you either need a smaller wattage wheelchair charger (swap your 7 amp one for a 4 amp one) or a bigger inverter. Mines 290 watts shown here.  A bigger inverter can be used but it will need wiring directly to your cars battery. Better to get a cheap small 3 amp charger from EBay. So this is the untidy and often problematic way to charge your powerchair or scooter on the move as you drive.


All in one 12v wheelchair charger, to charge 24v wheelchairs from your vehicle.This is a BETTER way. All in one inverter / wheelchair IN CAR charger. This thing is designed specifically to charge a pair of 12v batteries in series (just like our wheelchair or scooter battery system) from a 12v supply  Connect it to your cars battery and charge your wheelchair.. 

UPDATE  better still buy one of these instead...  Does everything and is more efficient and much MORE controllable!!!

Perfect simple solution on the face of it. Although expensive, and the company refused to refund the carriage (shipping) when I returned the first one dead on arrival across the Atlantic. And charged me a second time to send a replacement even though they advertise worldwide shipping. Be warned! www.powerstream.com Link removed since their bad service does not deserve one!  You will need to copy and paste it into your browser. Personally I would buy one of these instead now here  Much more efficient, smaller, more flexible and thousands of functions!

Anyway this thing charges at 5 amps and is a multistage pulse charger that works great. It gets stupidly hot though so I fitted a bigger fan in the bottom of the case. It takes about 15 amps from your accessory socket which is actually too much.  So make sure you use GOOD cables and fittings or hard wire it to your cars battery properly. My original chairs charger an 8 amp charger so this takes a little longer to complete but puts the bulk back while you drive! Don't use it without the engine running for long because it will flatten the battery quickly.  This thing can be a life saver! I keep in in my van most of the time.  It does try to melt the plug where it plugs in the dashboard though...

car wheelchair chargerThere are also small 2.5 amp units available from many places online like this one  "In Car Mobile Charger 24E" http://www.4-medical-supplies.com/products/MEIMobileCharge24E.html

I just ordered one to test it. I will update this when I see how well it works. 2.5 amp is very slow with a full sized powerchair, especially as I usually use an 8 amp charger overnight and a 30 amp charger (below) for fast charging in 1 hour or so during the day.  Tested. Works great. As long as you have endless hours to wait... Typical powerchair will take 24 hours. Yawn. So almost pointless...

I think these are also available from Pride Mobility now as well. Probably rebadged as a Pride product!

But putting any power back while you drive helps maintain the lowest average daily depth of discharge and so helps keep the batteries fit for use for longer!  Contrary to what you may hear elsewhere from other self proclaimed experts this does NOT harm batteries and is in fact very beneficial for longevity.

Fast Wheelchair ChargerFAST charge your wheelchair at home or anywhere there is a power socket in around an hour.  

Get yourself one of these. This 30 amp multi stage charger is brilliant.   Its 120 or 240v ac in and 24v 30 amp 2 stage and float charging out.

Typical heavy user scenario goes something like this:  I have been up hours, been shopping, up and down a few hills with the dog and then and my batteries are about 60 percent discharged by 1 pm in the afternoon. But I am going out later...  Happens often to me. 

60 Percent is a lot.. Any more and you wont break down or run out of power necessarily, but you are shortening your batteries service life quite drastically. The average depth of discharge is all important. A few really deep discharges ruins otherwise brand new batteries and effectively shortens their life. Whereas many thousands of shallow cycles doesn't.  The idea is that you keep your average depth of discharge as low as you can. In this way your batteries stay healthy for longer. Much like your car battery which gives many thousands of starts and gets a fast recharge and typically lasts 5 years.

Well this charger will charge my large 70 amp hour wheelchair batteries from pretty well completely discharged to 95 percent fully charged in around 1 and a quarter hours.  The last 5 percent occurs more slowly when you charge overnight. And it does not damage the batteries provided you are using decent quality AGM type batteries. I use Both Hawker Odyssey as well as Optima batteries as both are perfectly happy at this 30 amp recharge rate. Its a sophisticated logic controlled device. 

I sell OPTIMA batteries and the manufacturers specify no maximum inrush current at all.  Absolutely no limit. So no problem with fast charging.

LOOK OPPOSITE -- This info is from the 55 ah OPTIMA batteries technical information PDF file. 

It shows that charging at 30 amps is not only harmless but actually far less than they are capable of accepting.  My vans alternator for example charges them quite happily at 100 amps+ if they are pretty well discharged and that too is also acceptable. I post this because many self proclaimed powerchair "experts" will tell you otherwise...  Many other Quality battery manufactures will tell you the same as Optima do.   >>>

I wont guarantee it wont hurt other batteries so you better check with them first. Personally I would also risk it on any decent quality Gel type Deep Cycle batteries as well and do so regularly.

For example I just got off the phone with MK Batteries and Paul Clayton who confirmed the same. (I just ordered another set for this project) He says absolutely no worries using a 30 amp 3 stage charger (or even a constant 14.4v supply with no current limits) during the day to top up, as long as the battery gets its normal overnight full standard slow charge too.

Although if possible it is best to see the manufacturers data first!  For e.g. the excellent Sonnenschein A500 Dryfit batteries as fitted by many manufacturers from new also specify no inrush current limit either and they are also Gel batteries.

The Hawker Odyssey batteries also can be fast charged.  You do need to make sure they don't get above typically 50 degrees centigrade or over about 14.4 volts. (14.7 for AGM) But the charger watches this doesn't happen for you. Mine don't get warm at all. Tested by shoving a probe in between them in the battery box. Yours may be different. Check at least the first time you fast charge them and then forget about it.

20, 25, 30, AMP 24V WHEELCHAIR FAST CHARGERA cars alternator will typically charge discharged batteries at 100 amps or so. - as long as 14.4v to 14.7v is not exceeded. That's typical for many modern batteries.

Waiting typically 8 hours or overnight for a green light  for your wheelchair or powerchair / scooter to get charged is ridiculous!  I have a life to live.

Especially when you wake up and remember you forgot to plug it in as I often do... 

The standard scooter/powerchair charge socket cant stand 30 amps though. It would melt! As would the wiring loom. You will need to install a better plug and socket that can. This needs connecting directly to the batteries and this took about 20 minutes and isn't very difficult.

Remember that if you top your chair up to 95 percent maybe at lunch for half an hour or in the evening before you go out say, the average depth of discharge remains small. That means your batteries should live many times longer. 

This type of opportunity charging does not mean that you don't still need to use your standard slow overnight charger every night as well. Because that charger fully charges the batteries and equalises the cells.

This 30 amp one is an additional charger for FAST opportunistic charging during the day or as needed rather than a replacement charger. I keep one in the van as well as by my computer desk. It was extremely useful at a model aeroplane show recently as a day driving about on thick grass finished off my batteries by about 2 pm. A quick trip to the nearest bar and a pint +  a wall power socket saw my chair 95 percent fully charged and ready to go with a green light again. As such its completely invaluable to me.

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Power-Inverter-systems ((may be not trading now due to recession) Sellers EBAY Store.  Unlike the US company that supplied the Green car charger above this guy went out of his way to help me free of charge. He sent me some extra parts that he ordered from his supplier to convert it to a multi voltage charger. It will soon do 30 amps at 12v, 24v, and 25 amps at 36v, and 48v. I need this for other non power wheelchair projects.  Highly recommended seller!

Bar graph showing percentage of battery charged
LED indicators to show charge stage and warnings.

Input Voltage is selectable for 110V ac or 230V ac over a wide range so can run from generators.

The unit uses switch mode technology to give a classic 3 stage intelligent charge to the batteries that is Bulk charge, Absorption and Float.

Cooling system is by automatic Fan and Unit is Short circuit protected, Reverse protected and over temperature protected.

Specification:  Input Voltage : 90 to 130v ac or 200 to 240v ac, Input Frequency 50 or 60 Hz, Current without load less than 0.1 Amp, Maximum input current under 15 Amps, Maximum Efficiency on full power greater than 80%,

Output Voltage 24V
Maximum output 30 amps / 450W
Bulk charging voltage : 29.4V
Float charging voltage : 26.6V

I use this charger above (3) although there are plenty to choose from. Google and eBay (sometimes) are your friends! http://www.batterychargers.com.au/sa-mbc-multi-voltage-lead-acid-charger.html

list of bigger faster chargers RECOMMENDED and sold by the hawker battery manufacturer. http://www.odysseybattery.com/chargers.html

Soneil multi stage switch mode chargers - find a dealer! All will work and be safe with AGM or Gel batteries the 30 amp one is the most suitable for 70ah batteries and maybe 20 amp for 40ah batteries. 12 amp for small 25 or 30ah batteries.
2424SR - 12 amp
2430SR - 15 amp
2440SR - 20 amp
2450SR - 25 amp
2460SR - 30 amp

http://www.soneil.com/24_volt_high.html  All are on this page.

The internet is full of suitable chargers like this Gel and AGM safe one http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/24-volt/gel-cell/SEC24-25.html

Or for AGM only batteries http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/brands/iota/IOTA-DLS2725.html (slightly higher voltage for faster charge rate to suite AGM chemistry.  Personally I find eBay easier.

Battery connecting plugs, Anderson Plugs Picture of the plug I attached to the charger. a SIMILAR ONE (the other half) is attached to the batteries and the socket itself is just cable tied to a bar under the powerchairs seat.

These are Anderson plugs. See eBay! Strong and reliable.

These are actually the same as the ones most powerchair or scooter manufacturers use to connect the batteries under the seat. They are easy to get from caravan or leisure dealers.

Using THIS plug (Anderson plugs and sockets) fitted to my powerchair and connected directly to the battery terminals I fast charge my power wheelchair most days.

30 Amp Anderson Charging Plug Power Wheelchair

Fast Charge Your Power Wheelchair Read!  I know its white! Didn't have a black one left...  Connects straight to the batteries with thick heavy cable. It can handle much bigger currents than our 30 amp charger, Held securely with two cable ties. 

It also works in reverse of course and allows big high powered inverters to be connected to your powerchair for mains "wall" power when out and about!

A 24v to 120v or 240v for your scooter or powerchair.

This is another inverter that I find invaluable. It gives me mains power directly from my powerchair.

It is 300 watt 24Vdc input and 240v ac (120v ac) output! Extremely useful because if you fit a wheelchair charging plug in place of its normal battery clips it can plug into your wheelchairs charging socket. That means you can power small drills, mains lighting, electric beds (don't ask - we had a power cut!) and vehicle polishers, laptops, or almost any small mains powered device directly from your wheel chair outside while out and about. All powerchair and scooter users need one of these! Mine came from eBay. There are loads of these available from all kinds of sources...   Don't try to run any bigger inverter from this charging socket. According to the manufacturers of the control systems (Penny and Giles in this case) 12 amps is the maximum allowable current here. A 300 watt inverter is RIGHT on this limit. Bigger will damage your powerchair unless you fit a proper power socket like this

If you want to use a bigger inverter to get say a 1000 watts of power to Hoover the van out, or run a big power tool, then you need to fit an Anderson socket as shown above for the 30 amp charger. This is a good idea anyway as the normal charging sockets and connecting cables are a bit small even for normal charging.  Fitting an Anderson Connector

You may also want to take a look at this charger if you are a little technically minded!  It can charge your powerchair or scooter (12v, 24v, doesn't matter!) as well as the other way around!  You can charge your cars battery or in fact any battery no matter what type or voltage directly from your powerchair or scooter!

Its very flexible so has its own page here.

Very flexible and useful Hyperion charger can charge almost any battery. Including your wheelchair from your car or the other way around!


See also:  Battery Charging  &  Powerchair and vehicle batteries & Detailed PowerChair Only Menu

Related Pages

Lithium Ion Batteries for Powerchairs and Scooters

Detailed PowerChair Only Menu

Inverters and chargers for powerchairs

Fast charge your powerchair or scooter

Fitting Anderson Connectors to your powerchair




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