Battery Woes

My scooter has a pair of batteries.  Every night I charge them.  But like any battery over time they slowly wear out.  The scooter guy says they are at their best in the first year.  Mine are about 2+ years old and since August 2011, when I got rid of my vehicle, they see daily use.

The battery life display is funny.  It is a bar made up of 8 little bars.  As the battery power wears down the bars on the right start to disappear.  But it is not quite a display of current power left.  Instead they show what would happen if you continue at this speed for much longer.  If you slow down or stop the bars start to build back up again.

The first few weeks I had it, I never saw even one bar disappear on the gauge.  But I soon found that going for about 5 minutes at top speed would make the top bar disappear.  For a workday commute, I never saw less than those 7 full bars.  If I took my scooter to the mall and booted around for an afternoon and drove home, I could get down to 6 bars.  If I let go of the accelerator it took about 5 seconds for the gauge to fill up again.

That was with a new battery.  That is not the current case.

May 12th – I was going to see a movie at the mall on Sunday as normal.  I was cruising around.  As I left the theatre and drove to the bus stop I noticed that the gauge was at 5 bars.  I slowed and it went up to 8.  I continued on.  It dropped below 5.  Down to four.  Down to 3.  Down to 2.  I’d stop and let the gauge refill.  This does nothing to the battery to my knowledge, but it makes me feel better.  I got home safely on the bus.

Now that day I’d done a lot of driving around.  I went from one end of the mall to the other at least twice.  I resolved to get the battery replaced ASAP and to take it easy.

May 19th – I’d done nothing to get it replaced.  But taking it easy was working.  I wasn’t droping below 6.  Typical Toddly procrastination.

May 27th – I called the repair place between the 19th and 27th.  They said they could do it.  Could I wait on hold while they found the service guy?  Fifteen minutes on hold and their phone system hung up on me.  The next day I sent an e-mail.  I kept driving easy that week.  I took the added precaution of not giving Dave’s kids a ride at church.  But I was starting to see it getting worse quickly.  Simply driving to my elevator from my suite was enough to get down to 7 bars now.

June 3rd (yesterday) – The repair shop got back to me on Friday.  We talked prices and repair dates.  Because I was taking it easy, I wasn’t seeing the 2 bars anymore, but I commonly got down to 4 during a day.   We set a date of the 6th to get it repaired.  I took it easy at the mall and the battery was fine on Sunday.

Today – At work, I did not take it easy on the scooter.  I drove the length of the workplace to Safeway.  There my bank card didn’t work.  I drove back to the bank and got my card replaced and back to Safeway.  Shortly after lunch there was a fire alarm and my scooter and I were evacuated.  Out to the muster point.  After the alarm, I never made it mack to my desk.  And endless series of short hops on the scooter.

I left work and the gauge was at 5 bars.  I stopped and the darn thing dropped down one further to four bars.  I’d never seen that before!  I drove across the parking lot to the bus stop – very slowly.  I hit two bars again for the first time since the 12th.  As I hit the disabled ramp for the sidewalk the machine beeped 3 times and suddenly stopped!  I turned off the power and waited.  When I turned it on again it said 3 bars.  I waited and the gauge eventually went up to 7 bars.  No higher.  I drove the last 10 feet to where I could wait for the bus.

I FB’d my worry.  My Aunt cheered me on.  I’d actually stopped moving and I was worried that just sitting there waiting the remaining battery juice was draining away into the concrete of the parking lot.  It was a beautiful day, but clouds were rolling in.  If it didn’t move when the bus arrived, i’d be stuck out in the rain.

The bus arrived.  I drove 70 feet, got on the elevator and into position.  Down to 2 bars.  While I was strapped in it climbed back up to 8.  I figured I had enough to get off the bus, but into the suite was still iffy.  I FB’d that.

Home.  Up the walk and through the front door.  5 bars.  Into the elevator (another 20 feet) 3 bars.  Up to 4 during the ride and down to 3 again getting off.  I stopped and it dropped to 2.  I waited until it built up and then ever so slowly went down the hall to my suite.  3 bars at the door.  2 bars inside the suite.  Rest again – only 20 feet to go.  3 bars as I finally parked and plugged it in.

I made it safely, but I was playing with fire!

One more day until battery replacement.  Tomorrow – I need to take it easy again.  And maybe bring the charger with me for a noon charge.  Hope I don’t get stranded!

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