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Power Wheels batteries last between 45 to 90 minutes on most models. With so many recharges ahead, you might feel out of luck if you lose the charger. Don't worry, though; There are plenty of methods to keep your Power Wheels going for many years to come without the traditional charging dock.
To charge a Power Wheels battery without a charger, remove the battery from the brace, connect it to your car's battery with alligator clips, then monitor the transfer. Unplug the clips if the battery gets hot. You can also use direct power supplies, portable jump starters, or battery maintainers.
Throughout this article, you'll also learn the following details about how you can charge a Power Wheels battery without the stock charger:
- Step-by-step instructions to recharge the battery
- Several proven methods to get the Power Wheels battery back to 100%
- Safety tips to keep yourself and the battery out of harm's way
Remove the Battery From the Power Wheels
Turn off the Power Wheels, unplug all connections, and slide the battery out of the brace. Most Power Wheels batteries come on a mount that's clamped under the hood. You should bring safety gloves, wire snips, pliers, and a voltmeter. Use the voltmeter to check the battery's voltage before you start working.
You'll also need a screwdriver to remove the clamps. Set the battery on a clean towel to bring it to the car. There are several methods you can try, ranging from car batteries to solar panels. This step is the first in the process of any option you go with.
Connect It to a Car Battery
According to Sisters Grimm, car batteries are some of the best tools to charge a dead Power Wheels battery. However, you should ensure that it's within the recommended voltage and amperage before you start. Since most car batteries are 12V with adequate amperage, you're in luck.
Here's how you can connect your Power Wheels battery to a car battery:
- Turn off the car's engine if it's on. You don't want to risk electrocution or fry the Power Wheels battery before you start the process.
- Use alligator clips to connect the positive terminal of the Power Wheels battery to the car battery's positive terminal, then do the same for the negative terminals.
- Once you're done charging the battery, always disconnect the negative terminal first. It's essential to do it in reverse order. Failure to do so could send the electricity arcing through the car, frying the battery.
Monitor the Progress
There are many ways to monitor energy transfer. You could start by pressing the accelerator pedal. If it's revving, you'll know it's working. Again, use a voltmeter to check the voltage and amperage of the Power Wheels battery. Once it's up to the manufacturer's recommended settings, your battery is charged.
When you've followed the final step from the previous section, it's time to replace the battery (if you hadn't already when you tested the accelerator pedal). Screw the brackets into place, close the hood, and secure it so your child can't open it.
Use a Portable Battery Jump Starter
Portable jump starters are an excellent power source for all Power Wheels batteries. They're designed to charge from any wall outlet. The NOCO Boost Plus Jump Starter allows you to charge the battery wherever you go. It's budget-friendly and perhaps the most straightforward method on the list.
Much like the previous car battery method, you'll use alligator clips. However, the previously mentioned product comes with clips built-in. You can monitor the energy transfer on the jump starter, so you don't have to worry about using a multimeter.
Hook the positive clip to the positive terminal on the Power Wheels battery, then attach the negative clip to the negative terminal. Turn on the device and watch as it charges. Keep an eye on the battery to ensure it doesn't overheat. You can touch the battery; just don't touch the terminals or anything metal while doing so.
Charge It With a Direct Power Supply
Direct power supplies aren't as common since most people don't use them to charge battery terminals. However, they're one of the most efficient energy transfer methods. Again, it's crucial that you know the voltage, wattage, and amperage of the power supply before you start.
Let's breakdown a few suggestions to prevent safety issues:
- Connect a plug with battery terminal clips to the power supply. Next, follow the same steps as you did with the two previous methods (positive to positive, then negative to negative).
- Monitor the energy transfer to check for overheating, buzzing, and so on. Use a multimeter throughout the process.
- Check the manufacturer's recommendations to know all three power units on the charging device and the Power Wheels battery.
- Unplug the negative terminal, then the positive terminal. Secure the Power Wheels battery, then test your work.
Use Solar Panels
Solar systems are becoming more battery every year. Not only are they getting more efficient, but they're cheaper, too. My Tiny Rider claims that solar panels are an excellent charging method in a pinch. If you have alligator clips attached to the panels, then you can follow the previously mentioned steps.
Some solar panels have plugs that connect to generators. You can get a generator for a few hundred dollars or purchase a solar-powered mini generator for times like these. Next, get alligator clips for the generator and use it as you would with a direct power supply.
Again, monitor the progress, practice safety maneuvers, and expect a long charge time. Solar panels are a bit slow compared to most processes since the energy transfer from sunlight to usable power takes a while.
Try a Portable Battery Maintainer
Portable battery maintainers are very similar to jump starters. You can use them with or without alligator clips. Charge the device in an outlet, through a car battery, or via solar panels. Ride Toy Zone explains that most portable battery maintainers are designed for 12V batteries, making them a perfect fit for Power Wheels batteries.
Follow the same steps as you did with the jump starter. Portable battery maintainers have the slight advantage of working with various devices rather than being exclusive to car batteries. If you have other gadgets that need quick recharges, they should be a part of your daily repair kit.
Take Action As Soon as Possible
Last but not least, recharge the battery as soon as you can. Letting the battery die out too many times can be detrimental. However, it's also bad if you let it stay drained for too long. Many batteries lose their charge, meaning they'll only go so high. For example, if you leave a deep cycle battery drained, it might only reach 80% of its maximum potential.
Every time you leave the battery drained for too long, it drops the overall potential. You'll end up having to get a brand-new battery. The good news is that getting a bigger battery can add speed, acceleration, longer battery life, and more.
Now that you know how to charge a Power Wheels battery without a charger, you'll never be left with a dead battery. Whether you're choosing a portable battery maintainer or your car's battery, everyone can find an alternative solution.
Here's a quick recap of the post:
- There are more than enough methods to charge the battery without a charger.
- Make sure the connections are secure to prevent energy loss.
- Never use a battery with higher amps or volts than the Power Wheels battery.
- Don't let the battery stay empty for too long.