Mobility issues

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by eddievanbitz, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Hi, I am after some information for once :wink:

    We get asked very often about the facility for charging mobility scooters and electric chairs.

    Now we know a lot about charging batteries and the best way to do it Winter and Summer, but we know very little regarding the chairs and scooters.

    We thought that we would try to get our heads around what
    disabled peoples requirements are to charge the batteries on their mobility chairs and scooters, so thought we would ask.

    On the mains charger there is a specification that will tell you somthing similar to Input voltage 220 - 240 VAC and then go on to tell you a figure in Watts.

    That is the figure that we are looking at to see what will be needed to introduce a dedicated charging system to assist with this

    Alternatively, are we trying to invent a solution to a problem that doesn't exist? does anyone have an issue with charging their equipment or is there a solution?

    If so we would be grateful for the information to be able to pass it on to people when they ask our sales staff when asked about mobility charging

    Thanks


    Eddie
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    We've got quite a few chair users that could help Eddie, I'm sure they'll assist when they see this. Bump
     
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Maybe I'm missing something but surely the only practical way to charge a scooter, bike or whatever is from the mains .. Few have enough battery power available to charge via an inverter .. it would soon drain the leisure battery..

    That being the case all that is required is a 230v socket mounted in a convenient location , ie in a locker or garage ..
     
  4. Johns_Cross_Motorhomes

    Johns_Cross_Motorhomes Trader - Motorhome & Accessory Sales

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  5. aba

    aba

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    Bump :hardhat:
     
  6. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    a 1000watt inverter 1500 peak will charge the chair battery it works on mine

    i have 5x120AH batts running 1kv inverter but 500W should work but may over heat depending on how low the chair batt is

    I also have on board Genny 5KVA with 240v 3KVA step up box
     
  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    unfortunately many chair users don't have the carrying capacity of a large RV......5 x batteries and a 5kw genny aren't light :Wink:
     
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  8. John & Joan

    John & Joan Funster

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    In my van I have duplicated the 240v sockets. I have standard white ones for 240v mains. I have also fitted the cream 240v sockets supplied by caravan shops connected a 1600w inverter which is running off my 2 x 110ah leisure batteries. I can run mains appliances at any time using this set up.

    If I wanted to charge a buggy battery I would do so on mains, but could also do so while travelling by changing the charger lead into a cream socket.

    I also have a Gasparini Energy 20 LPG 12v generator which produces 20 amps. This senses the state of the leisure batteries while off hookup and maintains the leisure batteries between 12v and 14v automatically. Again mains appliances are available even off hookup ie. George Forman Grill, Toaster, etc. without the fear of flattening the leisure batteries as the generator will cut in to supliment the load. We use a 1kw electric kettle from the inverter system so can boil water for a cuppa in a motorway services without breaking any rules.
     
  9. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    What we are looking at is the installation of a battery (or batteries) charged by the alternator that is completely seperate from the engine battery or the leisure batteries.

    A suitable inverter could then provide a charge or number of charges whilst away with no hook up, as you would have arrived with a charged system and a charged chair, and the ability to recharge the chair without effecting the leisure batteries or engine batteries ..So you can watch Corrie and charge the chair.

    Eddie
     
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  10. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Eddie the problem is a simple one take a full battery and a flat one, connect them together and you have two half charged batteries. A wheelchair battery is 24v so two batteries could only at best half charge it when the engine is not running. what is needed is a separate alternator or seperatesolar array and batteries suppling an inverter through which a scooter can be charged whilst the engine is running only. which will then not affect the house and engine batteries. Or is there such a thing as a 240v alternator. A dedicated generator is the only other way. It takes a lot of amp/hrs to charge 24V scooter batteries. The Gasparini Energy 20 LPG 12v generator is only an option if you have the space. It also has the downside that it can kick in in the middle of the night waking you up if you are a light sleeper.
     
  11. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    The Gasparini Energy is out, because of the fact that it is too noisy and when all said an done is simply a generator. If I thought that a generator would cure the problem I would advise our customers to buy a Honda 2i which is the best generator on the market.

    All alternators produce AC electricity, the rectifier transforms the voltage down to a suitable voltage for the application and converts AC to DC Typically they are 70 volts AC

    Because of this 220 - 240 VAC alternators are easily sourced and have been available for years.

    However, they are not always suitable for a given application. For example, in a marine situation the engines are manufactured for universal installation. Volvo D4 / D6 typically can be used by a number of boat builders so they have the capacity to run hydraulic pumps, 12VDC and 220VAC alternators, water pumps, additional water pumps etc.

    This is not a problem as there is plenty of room so you simply bolt on what you need. The same goes when building specialised vehicles such as emergency treatment rooms, hospitality units etc.

    With a motorhome, they all start life as a delivery van, designed to stop start, Monday to Friday driven by Fred the florist or Bob the builder. Motorhome converters get them for as little as they can and convert them.

    So many are low spec to begin with, an alternator that was intended to charge a single battery is now expected to cope with the engine battery, one possibly two leisure batteries and run a fridge freezer en route.

    Worse is that fact that the chassis manufacturer has used a cable with a cross section of about 30mm square (starter cable) and the distance between the alternator and the engine battery is less than a meter, but the motorhome manufacturer to save money, typically uses cable with the same cross section as a boot lace, and to further ensure that the leisure batteries won't charge properly they put them several meters from the charging source so the batteries can never charge irrespective of what it says on the pretty multi coloured display panel.


    If you doubt any of this, look in your hand book and see what the rating is for the split charger fuse! 20 amps normally, so when your driving no more than about 15amps is available in reality to charge your leisure batteries. So forgetting all other variables due to voltage drop and alternator inefficiency, say you have two 120Ah batteries that are 50% discharged you need to drive for eight hours to bring them back up!

    So, what we are faced with is not designing new technology but trying to sort out a problem that people who have mobility issues have when away from hook up, where the thought of using a genny (any of them) will either break rules, or at the very least alienate them from every one else in the vicinity.


    At the moment people use an inverter from the leisure batteries and then have the decision to make to either charge their chair which could flatten the leisure batteries, or have heating, lights and TV in the motorhome.


    What we have been playing with is in essence, a couple of batteries, linked to a good quality inverter dedicated for the mains charger supplied with the electric scooter/chair. The batteries are connected to a micro processer controlled charging system, via heavy duty, multi cored cable, to eliminate voltage drop. This cable is rated to be able to carry 170amps continuously.


    So you would arrive on site, with a completely separate battery bank fully charged, ready to go. This would not effect your leisure capacity in any way at all. The system could be used to charge the chair on the move, so your chair is fully charged as well.


    So you would be able to recharge your chair using the mains charger provided by the chair manufacture, via an inverter, taking power from a dedicated 12 volt source.


    Charge rates when driving is increased to a massive 80Ah and we are averaging 30 -35Ah on tick over, so you could even top up the system on site should you need to in an emergency.


    The charging system controls the charge to ensure that the batteries are not damaged with this charging regime.


    I started to look into this recently after a customer came to us, having spent a fortune on three solar panels, and a very small Efoy unit as she needed to use a breathing machine over night. The system that had been fitted was useless, and basically the woman had been tucked up. Whether the tucker upper was just a b4stard or clueless is academic she still had been sold a system that was never going to achieve what she wanted.


    It seems that most chairs have a mains requirement of 220VAC circa 500W is whish is easily achievable


    Eddie
     
  12. John & Joan

    John & Joan Funster

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    Hi Eddie

    Having used the Gasparini now for about 700 hours. I do not find it noisy at all. Infact we have run it on a remote site and asked people if it would annoy them and they have replied that they didn't even notice it was running.

    Joan and I have on occasions gone to sleep with it running and Joan is a very light sleeper.

    Point taken that you would not want it starting up on a caravan site during the night so it is usually swithched off overnight. I find other portable generators sound a lot noisier than the Gasparini. Ours is fitted under the van behind the rear axel. 1 or 2 hours use a day is all that is needed to keep the batteries topped up.

    John
     
  13. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    Hi Eddie, slightly different but next time you getting head round something, can you also look at how to get a disabled person INTO the motorhome please? My mum needs a wheelchair and the step into the van is too high.

    I have put small steps leading up to it but it is still impossible for her to bend her leg. I would love some kind of hoist - a belt that goes round their back (a bit like they have in hospitals to put them into the bath) ... I think. NOt sure and I just can't picture anything to help me pull her up into the van if I get her foot onto the step. :Sad:

    Thank you. Joy
     
  14. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    Hi Joy

    That's a problem that I am not qualified to help with, I would sugges talking to someone experienced, perhaps someone who works in a specialist disabled business.

    However, If I get a Eureaka moment I'll be sure to post:Wink:

    Eddie
     
  15. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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  16. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    The existing leisure batteries could/would be looked at as a separate issue. Of course this is bread and butter stuff for us as we have specialised in this kind of work for the last couple of decades. The wiring does not need to be improved, but removed and replaced with cable of a correct gauge.

    We envisage no real need to upgrade the alternator, as with most European motorhome set ups the alternator is only working at 10 - 20% efficiency.
    Adding an additional is unnecessary, causes warranty problems on new vehicles and as explained earlier very difficult on a mass produced factory line vehicle.
     
  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hi, Check out ebay item no 230597671481. This will charge a second battery bank but only when the primary bank is charged. This gismo is about £20 delivered and works fine for me. If you set up a seperate battery bank with invereter to charge your scooter batteries you know that there will be no chance of running your main leasure bank down. I have one of these charging my engine battery and am thinking of a second battery bank to do the same as you only to charge my electric bike with any excess solar power.
     
  18. Ambilkate

    Ambilkate Funster Life Member

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    Very interested in being kept up todate with this please Eddie, as we do on occasions have to use an unsociable gennie to charge Amanda's mobility scooter.


    Bill
     
  19. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Is there some similar technology all be it very simple in how Ice cream vans work? they have an Alternator uprated to power the freezers and teh machine that delivers the ice cream, hence the engine drop when they pull the leaver?
    My understanding is that this does exactly what you want in increasing the efficiency of the Alternator?
    All that would simply need to be done is split charging to differing batteries and have a couple dedicated to charging a scooter via an inverter?
    I suppose what it would be useful to know is how long it takes to charge a scooter? and why stop at scooters? do electric bikes have the same problem? hec, if you take it forward 10 years, we will be using it to charge our electric cars that we toad!!!
     
  20. aba

    aba

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    we recently broke an old transit ambulance and it had 2 alternators fitted to the engine.
    the standard ford fit 80a and an aftermarket 180a on the opposing side of the engine these seemed to be connected to their own battery banks with cable the size of hosepipe
     
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