Most scooters have a gauge or meter that can provide an estimation of battery charge. Here, we're going to describe the two different kinds, how to read them and what the information really means.
Some things you should know about all battery gauges:
- Thinking about the gas gauge in your car, if it reads full, your gas tank is indeed full. If it reads 1/2, your tank is half full, 1/4 and your tank is 1/4 full, etc. This is NOT how scooter battery gauges work. Note that neither battery gauge style has 1/2, 1/4 marks, etc. A battery gauge with half the lights out does NOT indicate that the battery is half-discharged. Scooter battery gauges can only estimate remaining battery capacity. So if the green lights are out on your LED battery gauge or the needle on the needle-style gauge is in the yellow, it simply means that your battery has approximately 2/3 of a charge remaining.
- The load being placed on the batteries at the moment affects how the battery gauge reads. This means that a battery gauge that shows the battery to be fully charged can go down into the yellow or even into the red area when the scooter is placed under heavy load such as when going up a hill, riding over bumpy surfaces or carrying a heavy loads. This can look scary- you may think your battery is going dead prematurely and you're going to be left stranded. But when the load is relieved (you reach the top of the hill, lighten the weight load or even just stop the scooter) the battery gauge will often move back into the green. This is very normal behavior. It does not indicate a defect or a battery failure.
- As much as we wish they worked this way, it is not possible to determine how much farther you can travel based on the battery gauge reading. There are too many factors involved including age of the batteries, the weight of the rider and cargo, how steep the terrain is, even the air temperature... all have an impact in how far you can go on your scooter.
So, you ask, what good is the battery gauge? As you ride your scooter you'll begin to see the relationship between the battery gauge reading and how far you've gone or how far you can go on your particular scooter. You'll then know that when all the green lights are out and two of the yellow lights are out on you particular scooter, that you're still able to go x amount farther.
LED gauges look like this:
They consist of a group of LED's usually arranged in a semi-circle in three colors; green, yellow and red.
Important things for you to know about this kind of battery gauge:
- The LED's do not change color. They remain the colors they are. In other words, the green LED's do not change to yellow or to red, etc. As battery capacity declines, the lights begin to go out, beginning from the right-most green light, then the next-to-the-right-most green light, the next one and the next one, etc.
- The left-most red light is not a part of the battery gauge. It is a diagnostic indicator for the scooter. Here are the most common meanings for the diagnostic indicator:
a. Solidly on- your scooter is ready to ride.
b. Not on- Your scooter is not ready to ride, usually because the battery charger is plugged in or the scooter has gone to sleep. To remedy this, unplug the battery charger and/or turn the scooter off and then on.
c. Blinking- this usually means your scooter is in neutral. In that case, move the drive/neutral lever from neutral to drive. If the light continues to blink, that indicates a malfunction. The pattern of blinking can tell what's wrong with the scooter.
Needle-Style Gauges look like this:
These gauges have a simple needle that starts in the green area and slowly moves to the yellow and then red sections as the battery capacity declines.