Common Mobility Scooter & Power Wheelchair Repairs

Common Mobility Scooter & Power Wheelchair Repairs

On April 10, 2015, Posted by , In blog, With Comments Off on Common Mobility Scooter & Power Wheelchair Repairs

Do you have a broken down mobility scooter and not have the money for your mobility scooter repair? I am a mobility scooter technician with over 5 years hands on experience in South Florida. I know a thing or two about the repair of almost every machine in the industry. My knowledge is your knowledge. Here is the ultimate heavy duty mobility scooter repair guide that will save you money by fixing some common problems on your own instead of calling a technician.   mobility_scooters_for_saleFirst, learn your product from head to toe when purchasing a mobility scooter. Read the owners manual that can be easily obtained from the internet. For example, click here to read a direct seller’s website of the Golden Patriot 4 wheel mobility scooter manual. The manufactures label provides you with all of the information you will need for your scooter.   A user manual will provide you with all of the specifications and troubleshooting. Almost every mobility scooter has a beep sequence or a status light flashing code that will announce the cause of the malfunction with your mobility scooter.If you experience trouble with your mobility scooter check to make sure the mobility scooter is in the correct position to operate. It is often that a service call is related to user error.

Finding a Qualified Mobility Scooter Technician can be Difficult

One of the most common errors with mobility scooters is related to the, “free wheel lever”. If you have a Pride Mobility Go-Go such as this one, and your lever is in the unlocked position, the scooter will beep 5 times, pause and repeat. A chart is displayed in your Pride Mobility Go-Go Series user manual that will display all possible beep codes.   If your beep code is not found in your manual it is likely your control module, also known as a controller has failed. The controller is the main brain to your mobility scooter. It reacts based upon your operation of the scooter and communicates with the central components of your mobility scooter. It does not matter whether or not you have a travel mobility scooter or a full size mobility scooter, they all operate the same way.   Your mobility scooter does not seem to go as far as it used to and you must recharge it frequently. It is more than likely it is time to change your batteries and inspect your charger. Your batteries are most commonly found inside of a detaching battery pack or under the color plastic shroud underneath your seat. The batteries are easy to replace. Match the red to red and the black to black and changing one battery at a time. Some large mobility scooters have a disconnect harness and it is impossible to install incorrectly as the harnesses are short. They are also located inside of a encased battery box.   Once you have your batteries exposed, you can use a multimeter to test each battery separately. Turn your meter to 24vDC and put the leads on the terminals of the batteries using red to red and black to black. If your batteries test below 11 volts then they are considered bad. Each battery should be 12v without a load on the scooter. I have learned through my experience to replace both batteries if one fails. Always replace with the same type batteries, such as the most common AGM, lead acid, and nonspillable mobility scooter battery. Most scooter batteries are affordable and can be replaced for a couple of hundred dollar as most. These batteries are also FAA compliant which allows you to transport them on a plane. Almost all mobility scooters run off of 24 volts or two 12v batteries.   A bit of battery advice for your mobility scooter is to keep up with the charge. If you go weeks without charging your batteries, the batteries will dry up, and the life will be minimized. Keeping up with the charge will give you the best life out of your batteries. Do not overcharge the mobility scooter battery as this will cause the voltage to be to high and your mobility scooter will not operate. If you do this, you must leave the scooter in the on position over night to bring down the voltage.

Alternative Ways to Test Mobility Scooter Batteries

In my experience I have learned that if your mobility scooter like a Drive Medical Cobra GT4 mobility scooter has a universal XLR port for your charger, you can take a reading of your batteries from there. Take the leads of your multimeter and place them in the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock holes on the charger port. This will give you a combined reading of your batteries, which if healthy is 24v or better.   To test your mobility scooter battery charger you must take a reading from the mobility scooter batteries first. Next you will want to make sure that the charger is plugged in to the electrical outlet and the lights are on. If you do not have a light on your charger then your light either burned out or your charger has failed and is now the reason why your mobility scooter is not working. At this point when you test the batteries you should see that the voltage is above 12v and closer to 13 – 13.5 volts. This is telling you your charger is putting more power into them than they originally had when you tested them. If the voltage is not higher than when you first tested them, then your charger is not working.

Additional Mobility Scooter Safety Features

You checked the batteries and the free wheel lever and it still will not work. The manual is telling you that the throttle was not centered when you turned the mobility scooter on. This is yet another safety feature on the mobility scooter. You can not have the throttle lever depressed while turning on the scooter. Mobility scooter manufacturers ensure that the product is as safe as possible.   If the throttle was not pressed and the issue continues to occur then your throttle pot has either come unplugged from the harness inside of the cover that surrounds it. It is very possible that the throttle pot has failed. To test the mobility scooter throttle pot you must move screws from the cover around the levers. Once you have opened the head of the scooter you will see a 3 wire harness that plugs in a circuit board like a Drive Spitfire EX mobility scooter. It also may plug in to another wire harness which is connected to the controller. Test the three wires at the base of the speed pot.   First you will want to set your multimeter to 200K. This reads ohms as the potentiometer works off of resistance. You will want to test the left and center wires first. Put your leads (does not matter what color) on each of those wires and you should read the same as the left wire and the middle wire. When testing the outside to outside wires you should have a reading of equal to the first two lead tests, right and middle, and left and middle. While testing the outside wires you can have a second pair of hands pressing on the throttle. The reading on the meter should go steadily up or down and not jumping whole numbers. If your meter readings are erratic than the throttle potentiometer is not centered and must be replaced.

Mobility Scooter Common Part Failure – The Potentiometer

Your mobility scooter is working but the speed fluctuates and sometimes stops. This is more than likely the mobility scooter speed potentiometer also known a speed pot failing. The most common causes for failure is due to moisture and rust. A similar testing method is used to test a speed pot as opposed to a throttle pot. Testing the outside wires while turning the speed up and down should give you a steady reading at the base of the speed control. Make sure to test the wires thoroughly from the left and center. The digits should be positive and negative. One of each side of the mobility scooter potentiometer. For instance the left and center measure -3.5 ohms and the right and center measure 3.5 ohms this will make the potentiometer read centered or open. If the mobility scooter speed potentiometer reads open or 0 on either side, or is erratic than the speed pot must be replaced.   Other issues with mobility scooters are related to the wire harnesses and fuses. Inspect your fuses located within the components of the scooter. Ensure that they have continuity by using your multimeter or get a good visual inspection. You should see that the wire inside of the fuse is not broken. Sometimes when riding a mobility scooter on rough terrain with small wheels and a low ground clearance will cause a circuit breaker to pop. This is also caused by a power surge from your residential electric. Reset the circuit breaker by pressing in the button. Circuit breakers are commonly found on the front side of the battery case, or on the mobility scooter shroud in an inconspicuous area like the AFIKIM Afiscooter has on the under backside of the seat.   The freewheel lever is attached to the electromagnetic brake also known as the electronic bake. This is the clicking you hear when you press the throttle and you release the throttle. When you start to move your scooter you have disengaged the brake electronically allowing you to move. When you release the lever it clicks again engaging the brake and stopping your mobility scooter. To test if your brake is working correctly, use a multimeter to test the resistance of base of the two wires connected to the electronic brake. If the brake is closed when you have it unlocked it is not working. If you feel resistance of the mobility scooter than this is another sign of the electric brake malfunctioning. After using your mobility scooter for a short amount of time the batteries dissipate quickly or the brake feels hot to the touch, the brake must be replaced. Always test the components to confirm any assumptions of diagnosis on your mobility scooter.   I have summed up all components of the mobility scooter and it does not matter what type or brand you have. The all operate in a very similar manner and are easy to diagnose if your follow these easy to understand tests. A heavy duty mobility scooter and a travel sized mobility scooter operate with the same components. Obviously a large mobility scooter will have larger components to manage the weight of the user of the mobility scooter. This is how a professional mobility scooter technician properly diagnosis any machine. Now that I have told you what to look for and how to test the electrical components of the mobility scooter you may save yourself money, and time by repairing the mobility scooter yourself. Mobility scooter repair can be easy and fun. It is almost like a puzzle. Keep in mind that most malfunctions are on the user and make sure to read your error codes your mobility scooter is throwing indicated in your user manual.

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