Electric scooters and mopeds have become increasingly popular as a convenient means of transportation over short distance trips. These scooters use power from the battery to fire up the engine and power other accessories like the headlights. Therefore, you need a fully charged battery to enjoy using your scooter. You can charge your scooter either by frequent use or using a charger when necessary. So what happens if your scooter charging system is damaged and you need to charge your scooter?
To charge your scooter battery, you have to remove it from the scooter and connect it to either a portable car jumper or a universal power adapter. With these charging techniques, you have to be careful not to overcharge your scooter battery; therefore, you should not do this often unless you have to. Read our detailed guide on alternative ways of charging your scooter battery and how to also safely kick start it.
Some rare breeds of scooters run on a 6 Volt power system. To avoid damage, confirm your scooter’s electric system voltage by checking the battery specs or reading your manual. Adjust voltages named here accordingly. In this guide, we will assume the scooter is on a 12V power system
Charging a scooter battery without a charger
Follow this step-by-step guide to charge your scooter battery without a charger.
Things You’ll Need
- Portable car charger or jumper
- Universal power adapter
- Work gloves
- Wear some protective work gloves as you will be handling corrosive batteries and electrical wires.
- Remove the battery from the scooter, located underneath the seat, right next to the fuel tank. You have to charge the scooter battery out of the scooter since these charging methods may overheat the batteries, and this heat will have nowhere to escape therefore damaging the battery.
- Using a screwdriver, open the scooter’s outer shell, where you will see two rods holding the battery. Remove these two rods by loosening the screws holding them.
- Unplug the two wires you see connecting the battery to the motor, pull out the battery from the scooter, and place it in a dry place. Be careful not to damage these wires when pulling them out.
Using a portable car jumper
- Connect the jumper to the battery. Connect the jumper’s red wire to the positive port and the black wire to the negative port on the scooter’s battery. Before connecting the wires, make sure the battery has no leaks or breaks.
- Turn on the jumper and allow it to charge the battery for about 20 minutes to charge fully. This time is dependent on the type of battery you have. If you feel the battery warming up, it is probably more than half charged.
- Once the battery is fully charged, disconnect the jumper by first switching it off. Then, remove the negative cable followed by the positive cable. The order of unplugging the cables is essential since it prevents electrical shocks.
Using a Universal Power Adapter
A power adapter is an electronic device that stores up power that can be used on several devices when needed. The power adapter’s advantage is that the voltage output is adjustable and limits the flow of electrical current, making it convenient to charge different types of batteries, including a scooter battery.
- Connect the adapter’s red cable to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal on the battery and make sure they are securely attached.
- Depending on the type of battery your scooter has, set the voltage on the adapter needed to charge your battery fully. You can check your scooter’s user manual to confirm the correct voltage; however, a voltage of 4.20V per cell is usually sufficient for a Lithium-ion scooter battery.
- If you have a lead-acid scooter battery, set the current at 20% of your battery’s capacity. For instance, if your battery capacity is 10Ah, you set the current on the adapter at 2Ah. Setting a higher current may overheat and damage your scooter battery.
- When charging, the adapter’s current will drop as the battery’s increases. When the adapter displays a current that is 3% of the battery’s capacity, switch it off and disconnect it from the battery. Remove the negative cable first, then the positive cable, and put your battery back in the scooter.
Remember that different scooter models come with varying types of batteries that need slightly different settings when charging.
Lead Acid Scooter Battery
If you have a lead-acid battery, you need to know the number of cells in your battery to estimate the voltage required. Each cell requires 2 volts, so if you have a 12 volts lead acid battery with six cells, you will set the voltage to 12 volts (6 cells × 2 volts). Then set the current between 10-30% of your battery’s capacity. For instance, a 10 amp per hour battery will charge at three amps when you set the current at 30%.
Lithium-ion Scooter Battery
To correctly charge a Li-ion battery, you need to know the voltage, which is 4.2 volts per cell, so you have to make sure the charge supply and voltage should not exceed 4.2volts per cell. Use a dedicated lithium battery charger when charging such batteries. Lithium chemistry can be dangerous if charged inappropriately.
NiCd & NiMH Scooter Battery
It is challenging to know the battery charge in nickel-based batteries than in other batteries because the battery voltage shifts with the current change. But if the temperature increases from 0.3-1C, it indicates that the battery is full. If you have a voltmeter, it will read 13.7 – 13.9 volts when fully charged; any reading below 12 volts means the battery has depleted, and you should replace it. It will also take three hours to charge an empty 2 amp per hour nickel-based battery at 750-1000mA.
Can I charge my scooter battery with a car charger?
A car charger can charge a scooter battery since both car batteries, and scooter batteries are 12 volts. Though they have the same voltage, they do not have the same capacity. Scooter batteries are about 10 amp-hours, while car batteries have about 48 amp-hours.
Though a car charger can successfully charge a scooter battery, it can potentially damage your scooter battery if you do not correctly adjust the battery settings and charging time. The basic rule of charging is 1 amp output will charge at a rate of 1 amp per hour, meaning a 1 amp charger will fully charge a battery for 10 hours, so if your scooter battery charges at 10 amp hours, a 3 amp charger will fully charge it in three hours.
Using a powerful car charger can overcharge your scooter battery and risk damaging it permanently or shortening its life span. It is much safer to use a 1 amp charger on a scooter battery if you want to preserve its lifespan. Fortunately, modern chargers have an in-built digital control that detects a fully charged battery and automatically switches off. Others have a trickle charging feature that passes minimal current when the battery is full to maintain it.
How do I start my scooter with a dead battery?
You can only start a scooter with a dead battery if the scooter is gas-powered. Gas-powered scooters have a fail-safe that can force the cylinder to suck in enough fuel and air to fire the spark plug and start your scooter. However, if your scooter is electronically fuel-injected, you can only jump-start it if it has a little but enough charge to fire up the engine. Here are the different ways you can start your scooter with a dead battery.
Things You’ll Need
- Philips head screwdriver
- Jump-start pack
- Jumper cables
- Stabilize your scooter on its center stand.
- Locate your scooter’s kick-start lever, usually on the left side of the transmission case. The transmission case is a box-like device next to your scooter’s rear wheel. The kick-start lever is a footpeg that turns at a 90-degree angle to your scooter.
- Insert the key in the ignition and turn it on. Since your battery is dead, this will not do anything, but you need the key to stay in that position to kick start the scooter.
- Position yourself on the left side of the scooter, next to the kick-start lever, and press the left handbrake with your left hand. The left-hand brake has a safety switch that prevents an inactivated engine from firing up.
- While still pressing the left-hand brake, trigger the kick-start lever. Place your right foot on the kick-start lever and press it down in a steady but swift motion and then let the kick-start lever spring up to its original position.
- You have to do this a couple of times until the scooter starts. If it doesn’t start, you could be having a broken kick-start mechanism, and you will have to jump-start the battery itself.
Using a jump start pack
- Open the scooter’s battery compartment. Do not remove the battery out.
- Set your jump pack to 12 volts and connect the positive jump pack cable to the positive terminal on the battery and the negative cable to the negative terminal.
- Switch on the jump pack, press and hold the left-hand brake, press the scooter’s starter button, or turn the key to ‘ON’ position to start your scooter’s electric starter.
- Once the scooter starts, turn off the jump pack, disconnect the negative and positive cables and replace the battery cover.
Jump-start your scooter with a vehicle
- If you do not have a jump pack, you can use a vehicle, jump cables, and a healthy car battery.
- Park the vehicle next to the scooter and turn the engine off.
- Open the vehicle’s hood and locate the battery. Make sure the battery has leakages or cracks.
- Using jump cables, connect the car battery’s positive terminal to the positive jump cable, then the negative terminal to the negative jumper cable.
- Connect the other end of the positive jumper cable to the scooter battery positive terminal and the other end of the negative jumper cable to the negative terminal on the scooter battery.
- While pressing the left handbrake mechanism to engage the start-up safety mechanism, turn on the ignition key. You may have to repeat this a couple of times before it starts.
- Once your scooter starts, disconnect the jumper cables from the scooter battery and the car battery to avoid overcharging it.
Scooter batteries are quite fragile. It would be best if you did not allow a scooter battery to die off completely; otherwise, it may sulfate when you recharge it. Kick-starting your scooter may be an easy task, but you should not do it every time. If your scooter battery’s charge tends to drain quickly, you should consider getting a new battery.
The above techniques will allow you to charge your scooter battery without a charger successfully. However, these charging methods run the risk of overcharging your scooter battery which can permanently damage it, making it best for emergencies. It is best to use the appropriate scooter battery charger to avoid damaging your scooter battery.