Friday, June 19, 2009

Ramping Up for Battery Overload

This is what I look like right when the battery overloads. (I know Hardy's going to look at this and tell me I should have been leaning forward because changing my center of gravity would have helped.)

When Rhonda and I were having our grand adventure on Wednesday, one of the things we did was test the ramps around the Governmental Building in Baton Rouge. I hope you can get an idea of the length and slope of this ramp from the picture. Our TravelScoots handled rolling over the hose with no problem. Rhonda and I have identical setups as far as scooter size, motor power and battery, but I'm a lot larger than she is. She was able to get up this ramp just fine, but I fell short of making it.

See all those people in the background? Well, I had to use the brakes and sit on the incline until the group passed, then I turned around and rolled back down the hill. That restarted the battery. The next time I came up the ramp I knew where it was going to overload so I stopped before that, locked the brakes and got off, then unlocked the brakes and pushed my scoot a few steps to the top of the incline.

For some ramps, when I know I'm going to have trouble, I put my feet down and help the scooter along.

So, what is battery overload and why did it happen? Hardy Huber has a great explanation of the differences in batteries on his website, at I highly recommend reading it, if you haven't already.

There are two batteries available for the TravelScoot -- the lithium ion and the SLA (sealed lead acid). The lithium ion is a higher capacity battery and at 6 lbs., is much lighter in weight than the 20 lb. SLA battery. However, as part of the advanced technology of the lithium ion battery, if the battery is pushed too hard it will automatically shut off to keep from damaging the battery. To restart it you either have to plug it into a charger briefly, or keeping the power switch in the on position, you can give the scooter a hard push. I find that the "hard push" works best if it involves a strong 10-year-old boy (waves to Mark!) running while he's pushing the scooter from behind. However, I don't always have a 10-year-old boy handy, so another option is to turn around and whiz down the same incline I just came up. It almost always restarts the battery.

If you're a smaller person (250 or less), you shouldn't have any problems with a ramp like this one. If you have questions, write a comment and I'll do my best to answer.

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