Friday, August 7, 2009

Battery overload and motor overheating

Before you read this post please keep in mind that the problems I experienced at the hotel and in Washington, D.C. only happened to me. The other TravelScoot owners (Hardy, Rhonda, and Lynn Ellen), did NOT have these problems. They all carry less weight on their scooters than I do. With me, the batteries and whatever I was carrying at the time, I estimate that my scoot was carrying between 475-500 lbs.

If you're wondering if I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now, the answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY!

Dulles Marriott Carpet
The picture to the left is from the Dulles Marriott website. This gives you an idea of what the carpet looked like.

I had problems with my TravelScoot at the Dulles Marriott hotel, and it was because of the carpet. It was an exceptionally thick pile carpet, because I could feel the drag when I was riding on it. The drag wasn't a problem particularly, but what the drag caused was a stress on the motor and battery. Hardy, Rhonda, and Lynn Ellen felt the drag the carpet created too, but it didn't cause their motors to overheat or their batteries to overload. They could feel the difference because they know how it normally feels. The dozens and DOZENS of people who tried our TravelScoots didn't realize anything was different.

Our hotel room was at the end of a LONG carpeted hallway, and the meeting rooms were all along another long carpeted hallway. I had my sla battery and my l-ion battery stacked. If I used the l-ion battery and rode from the room to the meeting rooms, sometimes the l-ion battery would overload somewhere along the way. If I used the sla battery instead, which does not overload, I could go further, but then the motor might overheat.

Before this vacation I had NEVER experienced the motor overheating. What happens is that there's a protection built into the motor and if it gets too hot, it switches off. The way you know it's the motor is that you will still have a green light on the battery control near the throttle, but the scooter just won't go. I would sit for a few minutes and try it again and go scooting off. The sla battery never overloads because it's not sophisticated enough to have that sort of protection. With the l-ion battery, if it's pushed to hard it will overload and shut off. When that happens, you won't see any lights on the battery control near the throttle. This is confusing, even to me, so let's go through it again...

BATTERY OVERLOAD - Scoot won't go, and no lights are lit on the battery panel.

The SLA battery will not overload. When the l-ion battery overloads, it switches off and you lose power. You won't see any battery lights on the panel near the throttle. There are 3 ways to fix an overloaded battery.

1) If you were going up an incline when it overloaded, turn around and go back down the incline. Stay on the scoot and give it a good shove off with your a foot (or feet). You'll see the battery light come on as red and then when it goes to green you are back in business.

2) You can also plug the battery into the charger and that will reset the battery.

3) Hardy Huber's instructions say you can get off the scoot and give it a good push and it will reset the battery. I haven't been able to do that on my own yet (and I've tried!), but if you have a 10-year-old boy handy, just get him to run a few steps with it and the green light will come back on pretty quickly. A 56-year-old hubby can accomplish the same thing. (Thanks to mine for being there to get mine going again!)


If the motor overheats you will still see a green light on the battery panel. If you're brave (or stupid, take your pick) and TOUCH the motor casing, it's going to be very hot. Sit still for a few minutes and try the throttle again and you'll be on your way.


When the battery starts getting low on power you'll see the light go from green to amber. When it stays amber that's your cue that you need to get somewhere where you can charge the battery or switch batteries. When it goes to red just picture the robot from Lost in Space saying, "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!" Hardy says you have about a half mile left once you go to amber, if you weigh 180 lbs.

Sightseeing in Washington, D.C.

We went into D.C. three times. Twice for sightseeing, and a third time to go to "the hill" to meet with our Congressman's representative. These three days all involved navigating many ramps and hilly areas and I had many times when either my battery overloaded or the motor overheated. In an ideal world I would have gotten off my scoot every time I came to a ramp or uphill climb, but that's not really practical in D.C. Lynn Ellen went with us the second day and she didn't have any battery or motor problems. I really believe that once you get to a certain point, every pound makes a difference. I also had the SLA battery on it which added another 20 lbs. If you're wondering why I didn't just use the SLA battery the whole time, it's because it would have run out of power. Usually by the time we got back to the hotel I didn't have a lot of battery power left in either battery. We would either go back to the room and charge the battery or we'd plug it up in one of the meeting rooms or a restaurant.


  1. Elizabeth, when you made this statement, "If you're wondering if I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now, the answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY!" were you referring to taking the TravelScoot to the event in DC or buying it in the first place?

  2. D, I was referring to both things. I would take the TravelScoot to an event like the one in DC again, and I would absolutely buy it again. At least 99% of the time it serves me flawlessly. That's so amazing for a scoot that weighs 35 lbs., when I'm more than 12 times that heavy.

  3. Elizabeth, I weigh 300 lbs. The travel scoot was designed for the flat land. I have repowered mine with a larger motor with 5 ti 1 gear reduction. It no longer goes as fast. It is awesome, It will go anywhere.
    I love Victoria, hills everywhere, no longer a problem. I have two Li-ion 11 Ah batteries. I have yet to get it to shut down. I willbe taking mine to the Holy Land in two weeks, now that will be a test!
    Glen Glancy

  4. Glen, thanks for your comments. I hope you'll update us after your trip to the Holy Land. I'd love to hear how your scoot handles that area. I'd also LOVE to see pictures of your larger motor and hear a detailed account of how you did that.

  5. Can you please send me the article you had earlier (or direct me to it) that discusses recharging the li-on batteries? It is a good review. Thank you.

  6. My wife is thinking of buying a Travelscoot. She tried one out which had a 150 watt Lithium-ion battery, which seemed underpowered except on flat ground. What motor & gearing options are available, and what would you recommend for a 70Kg person who wants to use it on undulating ground?

  7. I received my scooter in late May, used it about 10 times, but the last two times, I had a problem where the battery went from green to amber and hit red in about 10 minutes of use. My weight is 287, within the weight restriction of 325. I always take my battery in and fully charge it after each use, and only use it on flat terrain with smooth surfaces. Funny thing is it still seems to go really fast after it hits the red and doesn't appear to be discharged. Maybe the battery indicator is malfunctioning??? don't know but was wondering if anyone else has had this problem? And feedback it greatly appreciated.

    1. It sounds like you're having some type of battery problem. You might want to call TravelScoot and talk with them about it. Your scoot should still be under warranty.

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