Changing battery is a duty of stairlift owners. These devices used to run alternate current or AC power. This is done by having the electric cable lined along the track to supply the alternating current. Wheelchair manufacturers such as Stannah, A1, Acorn and Bruno have designed their own method of supplying the AC current to power the stairlift. AC powered lifts are plugged into the household or building electrical system. Therefore, in the event of a power blackout in the building, the stairlift will stop working altogether. This will pose a hazard to users, mainly wheelchair bound or elderly people. They will not be able to evacuate the building in time. The AC electrical wiring can also trip leading to fire or electrocuting users. The movement will also be in a stop start manner as AC current is not stable by nature.
Advantages of Direct current DC powered stair lifts
DC power has many advantages over AC power. First and most important is that the direct power source is easy to install and maintain. DC powered model has a standalone rechargeable battery. The battery needs to be plugged into a wall socket to recharge. The normal household power supply of 240V will be stepped down to 24-38V direct current for the stairlift. The fact that a DC battery can operate the equipment without constant power connection is its biggest advantage. During power outages, the lift is still able to perform its duty and move users up and down the steps with ease. It can still operate for around 20 up/down times before the battery goes flat. DC battery is also quieter than AC power source.
Charging stair lift battery
The different manufacturers have their own methods of charging the batteries and they generally fall into two methods. Stationary charging or using charging strips. Stationary charging refers to the case when the chair is at either end of the track and locked in its position where charging can take place. Each end is called a charging point where the stairlift fits into the positive and negative ends of a charging point. If it is not properly fitted in position, the user will hear a beep sound to remind him to do further adjustments. Charging strips are lined along the tracks as it moves and also charging itself at the same time. This will ensure the batteries stay fully charged all the time. However, this system has its disadvantage as there are more parts of the charging system which needs to be maintained and higher possibility or error due to wear and tear from the constant movements of the lifts.
The rechargeable battery pack is sold in a sealed unit and is usually a direct replacement. It is like replacing the batteries from your household controllers. It can hold a better charge too. Batteries will have to replaced between 1 to 2 years of usage as the battery’s fluid runs out. The power and current ratings are usually 12Volts (V) and 7 Ampere hour (Ah).
The job or replacing batteries belong to qualified technicians but users can also try changing the batteries themselves. Manufacturers will provide a user manual or guide on how to change the batteries. Users have to be careful if they wish to replace stair lift battery themselves.
First is to remove the charging source and plug out the power plug. Second is to remove the seat or carriage cover and safety edges. All the while, users are reminded not to touch any naked or messed up the internal wiring. Third step is to remove the connections to the batteries and remove them one by one. Place the new batteries, double check to make sure their polarity is correct, otherwise, you will cause system short circuit and cause the main circuit board to malfunction. Retrace the above steps to get the stairlift fully functioning on new batteries.