Segway recently sent out a winter battery maintenance notification. Follow these simple rules to enhance the life of your Segway battery.
Keep your Segway stored in a cool, dry location away from sources of heat. Heat hotter than 80 deg F or 27 deg C will cause accelerated loss of the batteries energy storage capacity. High heat is the enemy of electronics, as it increases entropy or the breakdown of many kinds of electrical components. This is why many high powered digital electronic devices have metal heat sinks with active fan assisted cooling, thinks gaming laptops or consoles or high performance desktops. Many early LED lights contained a large visibly notable aluminum heat sink to cool the heat sensitive early diode modules.
Avoid High Heat
Most electric vehicles make uses of battery cooling either with metal passive heat conducting heat sinks or chilled air & or liquid cooling. Large capacity lithium energy storage systems often also include a warming setup to prevent freezing damage. Lithium Ion batteries are damaged by high heat because it causes the electrolyte, an oily fluid between the anode and cathode, to expand, which puts mechanical stress on the cell components by bending the anode and cathode.
Avoid parking your Segway next to an electric space heater or heater vent, fireplace, in direct sun for long period, or near any other source of high heat. The tires and plastic trim as well as the battery & control electronics can be damaged by high heat, especially the charging brick. Try to keep the charging brick in a cool location when charging by keeping it out of direct sunlight and away from any sources of heat. You will probably notice that the charging brick warms up when charging your Segway. This is due to resistive losses or inefficiency in the charging circuit. Some of the incoming electrical power entering the charger is converted to thermal energy by resistance in the chargers circuits. All electronics have a TDP or thermal dissipation of heat energy. You can notice this waste heat when playing videos or games on your smartphone.
Store Half Charged
If you plan on storing the Segway for long periods, aim to keep it partially charged. Lithium ion batteries have the longest storage life if they are stored between 30 & 40% full at around 50 deg F or 10 deg C.
Plug the Segway in for 10-30 min every 30 to 45 days to keep the battery partially charged.
Charging to 100% causes shrink swell damage to the batteries cathode. Lithium ions must insert and escape the cathode material during charging and discharging. This causes the anode to shrink & swell at the atomic level, but ultimately causes physical damage to the batteries.
30-80% Charging Long Life Mode
Long life operation of lithium ion batteries involves keeping them between 30 & 80% charged most of the time. This is true of your cell phone, smart watch, IoT devices, tablets, laptops, electric vehicles, or anything with a Lithium Ion battery making use of Lithium Cobalt Oxide Carbon, the most common kind of high energy density rechargeable lithium battery utilized in most consumer electronics, like your fitbit or smartphone or Tesla Model S.
Paperclip Bending Analogy
Think of a paper clip bending analogy. A lithium ion battery is like a paper clip in that it will last longer if your only partially discharge and partially charge it, like only bending a paperclip a little bit on way and the other. If you fully charge to 100% this is like bending a paperclip all the way one way, conversely fully discharging is like bending the paperclip all the way the other way. When bent at extreme angles, a paperclip will break from metal fatigue or cracking of the metal, analogous to the electrode damage of a lithium Ion battery that occurs from repeated fully charging and fully discharging.
Periodic Deep Cycling Ok
When you are using the Segway it makes sense to periodically perform a deep cycle by charging it to full and discharging it to a low state. This will help to calibrate the battery meter system so you continue to get an accurate readout of the approximate state of charge as a percentage number, by the display charge bars on your Segway or the readout in the phone app.
Avoid Freezing Temps
Never charge a Segway that is frozen cold ( i.e. less than < 0 deg C or 32 deg F ) . Charging frozen lithium ion batteries causes metallic lithium plating damage to the anode and causes rapid capacity loss, and can cause dangerous dendritic punctures of the electrode separator film between the anode and cathode, which could give rise to a safety problem such as thermal runaway or venting with flame, a problem that has plagued low quality hoverboards from unethical companies.
Your Segway is a well designed product that benefits from superlative engineering & manufacturing quality control & quality analysis that is designed to maximize user safety at multiple levels during charging, use and storage.
Time your Charging
Sadly the Segway does not have a long life charging mode that automatically discontinues charging when the battery approaches 80-90% state of charging. This means timing your charging for 30minutes to 1 hours is the easy way to keep your Segway partially charged.
User Replaceable Batteries Woot Woo
Replacement batteries are available when your current Segway batteries has significant capacity fade that limits the useful range and power of your machine. Contact Segway for a high quality replacement battery and never use aftermarket batteries unless that come from a reputable high quality vendor with a demonstrable history of producing high quality lithium ion packs that do not have a high catastrophic failure rate.