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Will >Mobility Scooter< control panel electronics freeze?


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10-10-14, 11:58 AM   #1  
Will >Mobility Scooter< control panel electronics freeze?

ok. not sure if I'm in the right forum but this is an interesting challenge for those who think outside of the box!

I have an electronic mobility scooter that has a control panel between the handle. The electronics are in the panel. It can't be lifted into the home so we want to keep it in the garage. At what point are the electronics in the control panel going to start not functioning due to the cold weather?

Also, any ideas of how to make a wrap to put around it to keep it protected from the cold weather? The dimensions are 7 1/2 left to right, 5 1/2 front to back and 6" bottom to top. or I can include the handles and make change the left to right to 17 1/2".

 
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10-10-14, 12:29 PM   #2  
You are right this isn't really a computer question so you are in the wrong area but there isn't really a scooter area so it doesn't matter. I have never had a scooter before but knew of an elderly priest who drove an old golf cart from the rectory to the church so he could hear confessions.

The rectory never had a garage although there was a garage on the premises but too far out of the way for him to go. I don't believe they ever covered the golf cart but probably did cover the control panel to keep moisture out and never really had any issues about it starting even in cold weather. You could always use a trickle charger to keep the battery going even in cold weather but I doubt it would hurt the electronics. So just keep it charged and keep the panel covered to keep out moisture and I think everything will be fine.

As far as a wrap is concerned since this will be in a garage and not in the weather directly I think an old blanket should work well for that purpose. It will keep out any moisture that might get in from the damp cold air.

 
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10-10-14, 04:44 PM   #3  
The control electronics will respond fine in the cold. Golf cart electronics are weatherized as those units are out in the rain.

I see two issues....the battery and condensation inside the control panel. The battery you can keep on charge but if you constantly bring the scooter inside to a warm area from a cold area it may condense inside the control unit. Does the scooter company mention anything about keeping the scooter out of the rain ?

I'll have the thread moved to "General chats and discussions"..... so be sure to look for it there.

 
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10-10-14, 05:56 PM   #4  
As PJmax says, the electronics are usually okay. Making a cover only traps moisture and is not a good idea. Keep the battery charged and you should be fine anytime you want to ride.


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10-11-14, 05:35 AM   #5  
Contact the manufacturer. They will be able to tell you better than our assumptions about the unit can. There are plenty of cars with electronics that come out of the cold into a warm garage and expose the electronics to warm air when the cabin is heated. They work just fine. I think the only trouble you would have is with the batteries under extreme cold conditions.

 
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10-11-14, 08:06 AM   #6  
We have many adventurous folks in our town who regularly ride outdoors on snow laden streets and sidewalks, in -20 degC weather with no ill effects........both on scooters and power wheelchairs which have fairly sophisticated electronics.


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10-12-14, 07:47 AM   #7  


Thanks for the idea... The site did not have a forum topic that included mobility scooters prior. Does now!... This one.... Slight wording modification and it fits in this topic perfectly. IMO.

Speaking of ideas. I agree. Covering the control panel not a good idea. For the reason mentioned. Cold weather should have no negative effects of the electronics. The garage is already as or near as cold as the outdoors. The garage acts only a shelter from the direct exposure to the outdoor environment and elements, etc. Riding the scooter outdoors changes nothing either. The scooter is still in the cold as it is in the garage.


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10-15-14, 09:03 AM   #8  
need clarification

Thanks everyone for your input. I'm still a little confused though

The battery we are not concerned about because that detaches and we bring it into the house.

The scooter probably won't be used in the rain or elements. It is not one of those super scooters that is ok to be used in the elements and the manufacturer states that. They mention the electronics might act up under freezing.

This is why I decided we needed to cover the control panel to keep it warm. I never thought about moisture being a problem.

Are you saying that if I keep it in the garage, it doesn't get wet, and I cover it with some sort of thermal cover, that there will be a moisture problem?

 
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10-15-14, 04:47 PM   #9  
Ok....now we get the rest of the story.

It is pretty simple.
If the mfr says it can not be under freezing conditions then you should not leave it in the garage under freezing conditions.
Putting a thermal blanket over the electronics will not make it any warmer than the space around it.

You need some kind of supplemental heat to keep it warm.
You could possibly cover it with a tarp and safely put a low wattage heat source under it.


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10-15-14, 07:48 PM   #10  
thermal not work?

Greg - thanks for your reply. I don't understand why a thermal blanket wouldn't keep it warm. Would you mind explaining that to me?

 
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10-15-14, 08:24 PM   #11  
A thermal blanket traps heat inside. There isn't any heat to trap inside your control panel. Eventually with just a thermal blanket the electronics will become the same temperature as outside the blanket.

An auxiliary heat source would be like a heating pad turned all the way to low. Basically any very low wattage electric heater. Even a small light bulb.....like a night light bulb of 3 to 4 watts would be plenty for the job.

 
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10-15-14, 10:09 PM   #12  
Important question...does the temp in your garage really get down below freezing that often? I mean, I can understand a leaky drafty old garage getting that cold. But I doubt if it will even be used if the weather is cold enough to cause freezing temps in a modern insulated attached garage. I know any area even close to a Great Lake can be brutal, but it's worth asking.


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10-16-14, 09:26 AM   #13  
interesting

pj, that is interesting - just a light bulb..... my dad had suggested a electric heating blanket but we thought that was too unsafe.

so, regular blankets are the same then? they won't keep it warm?

So, why does thermal wraps/socks keep water from an outside faucet from freezing?

I'm finding this very interesting.

gunguy - it is not an attached garage - and I don't think it is insulated.

 
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10-16-14, 10:13 AM   #14  
So, why does thermal wraps/socks keep water from an outside faucet from freezing?
They trap heat inside the pipe/spigot that is transferred from the warmer interior of the house, instead of allowing the the cold air and wind remove it. Wind doesn't make something any colder than the outside temp, but it can remove heat faster. Just like blowing on hot coffee. Most of the insulated boxes and tape are actually a dark color as well, so they help absorb heat from the sun on clear days. Every little bit helps.

You could insulate every pipe in a home, but if you turned off the heat in the dead of winter, the pipes will eventually freeze as they give up their warmth.

it is not an attached garage - and I don't think it is insulated.
Well, that answers that. Even if it were insulated, w/o a heat source inside, it can get as cold as outside if the temps stay low long enough.

Google a device called a Thermo Cube. If you have electricity in the garage, one of those and a low wattage bulb and a clamp on work light would be all you would need most likely. Don't get it too close to the panel, even a 15W bulb could warp and melt plastic if there is no air circulation.


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10-17-14, 02:50 PM   #15  
sounds like a good solution

Gunguy, your solution sounds interesting. I'll google that.... but of course, I have questions ....

1 - will I still have moisture problems?

2 - is there a safe or not safe way to set it up?

I really appreciate your feedback everyone! I learned something ...

 
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10-17-14, 03:11 PM   #16  
ok another question .....

I have a cover that I bought for the scooter, so, is that sufficient to put over the light (I thought I'd get a 4 watt nightlight with a cord that can sit on the floor of the scooter)? or, is a thermal cover of some sort the better option over the regular cover?

 
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10-17-14, 05:26 PM   #17  
If no breezes in the garage, the regular cover should trap enough heat. However, I think that a 40 watt bulb is better suited to the job than a 4 watt.


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10-17-14, 06:13 PM   #18  
Ehhhh 40W might be a little high IMO. 25W? Don't want to damage the cover or the scooter. Of course we don't know what the cover looks like, but rising heat from a bulb can get pretty warm.


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11-03-14, 09:11 AM   #19  
just an update:
I tried the 4 watt and it didn't do anything. the 15 watt did very little. the 40 watt changed it almost 20 degrees. From 40 in the garage to 60 under the cover. My parents are checking on it to make sure nothing is getting too hot. I think we'll need to get a sleeping bag over the top during the colder months. thanks for all your help!

 
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