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can i run 6v ride-on motors on 12v battery? mattel power wheels ones.

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by kk, May 18, 2004.

  1. kk

    kk Guest

    i have a mattel power wheels kids ride-on jeep. it has two 6v
    batteries, which have expired. the thing has a hi-lo speed and
    reverse switch, which pretty much does what it says. i am guessing
    that at low speed and reverse it runs the motor at 6v, and at high
    speed it runs it at 24v? i have a battery i want to use to replace
    (v expensive to buy replacement mattel batteries 6v 9Ah) which is from
    a PC's UPS, it's 12v and 12Ah. I can't see that it would be
    possible to wire it as 12v/24v, as i would only have a total of 6
    cells. but would wiring it straight in and using it as 12v/12v
    damage the motor? any other suggestions? thanks
  2. Replacing two 6 volt batteries with two 12 volt batteries will
    probably damage the motors and possibly the switches, the wiring and
    the driver and nearby pedestrians. Replacing the two 6 volt batteries
    with one 12 volt battery will work, except there is no terminal to
    connect to that will give you the 6 volt slow speed.
  3. Dave VanHorn

    Dave VanHorn Guest

    Two 6V batteries gets you 6 and 12V.
    Doubling the voltage to 24V doubles the current, and quadruples heating in
    the motor, probably a very short life.

    The low speed option is not well designed, because you're running one
    battery down more than the other, then connecting the run down one in series
    with a more fully charged one.

    I'd just run it on 12V and be done with it.
  4. Jon Elson

    Jon Elson Guest

    You can buy 6 V 10 AH batteries at McMaster-Carr for about $15 each.
    Theyn are mostly for emergency lights, but should work well in this

  5. In John Popelish typed:
    Isn't 6V too low for a 12V motor, likely not to run at all (under load)
    rather than go slowly? It would certainly cause uneven discharging.

    Remember, he said, "i am guessing that at low speed and reverse it runs
    the motor at 6v", so he hasn't measured the voltages or traced the
  6. EE

    EE Guest

    One thing to keep in mind when doing a project like this is what is
    known a ‘power density'. This is the amount of power (V*I) your
    battery can supply safely. It is mostly a function of the battery
    chemistry. For example, lead acid and ni-cad typically have a higher
    power density than Li-ion.

    So what happens if you over draw the battery? It could just fail to
    recharge, or it could meet a more violent end. My opinion is I
    wouldn't want my kid anywhere near this thing when I am finding out.
    If you don't have a power density rating for the UPS battery, don't
    risk it.
  7. My answer was based on his description and my recollection of a
    similar car.
  8. Dave VanHorn

    Dave VanHorn Guest

    Most UPS systems discharge in 5-30 minutes, which is probably faster than
    they will in this sort of toy.
  9. N. Thornton

    N. Thornton Guest

    A simple automatic switchover can be used to run the motor at 6v off
    each battery on alternative goes, so the energy draw approximately
    balances. Or the batteries might even get paralelled. But what Mattel
    have actually done is another question.

    Replace 6v batteries with 6v batteries. Having a car that only does
    top power is not a sensible option IMHO.

    No need to buy them from Mattel, but you do need to ensure theyre
    suitably rated.

    Regards, NT
  10. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    Not so long ago I traced the wiring for a ride-on tricycle which used
    two 6V 10AH SLA batteries. It was wired exactly as the OP described.

    - Franc Zabkar
  11. Guest

    You can get 6 v 10 Ah gel cells for ~ $18.00 each at Mouser -
    maybe that is significantly better than Mattel batteries price?
  12. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    And could I respectfully add that if you do use
    non-original subs that you fuse 'em as close to the
    batteries as you can possibly get?

    In addition to epoxy'ing or something the terminals?

    The batteries will deliver an awful lot of hot and
    hurt to tiny fingers that decide to "fix" the car
    like daddy does - and use metal "tools" to work with :(

    Yep, I've been accused of being over-protective :)

    Take care.

  13. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    Speaking as a former Mattel Engineer (I do not represent Mattel in
    any way at present)...

    How old is your power Wheels vehicle? Did you buy it before October
    of 1998 when million of them were recalled?

    There have been 116 fires and over 1,800 overheating incidents
    involving short-circuiting, melting or failing with this toy. At
    least nine children received burns, and there has been $300,000
    of property damage to 22 houses and garages. Also, there were 71
    incidents involving the products' failure to stop, resulting in
    six minor injuries when the vehicles hit something. Mattel paid
    $1.1 million and recalled 10 million Power Wheels vehicles, which
    cost $27 million.

    The battery chargers (even in the new models) do not stop when
    the batteries are fully recharged, which is one reason why you
    are shopping for new batteries. Pick the wrong replacement and
    it could rupture from overcharging.
  14. Bob Shuman

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Oh, the Power Wheels vehicle brings back fond memories! Our old two seter
    Jeep power wheels was purchased in 1987 so must have been in the recall, but
    unfortunately we never received any information from Mattel or Power Wheels
    (we registered the purchase, but moved in 1988 so this may have been the
    reason). It served our 3 chuildren well for some 13 or 14 years going
    through three additional sets of lead acid sealed batteries during that time
    frame. I still remember the conversion connectors I had to use when they
    changed the style of the connector that came on the battery two different
    times! (This was required since the charger still had the oldest style
    connector). On a side note, during the 13 years I also replaced the rear
    plastic drive wheels twice and the front wheels once since the kids used to
    use it a lot and just plain wore through the plastic due to friction with
    the asphalt/concrete driveways and sidewalks. We finally ended up selling
    the Jeep at a garage sale and to my knowledge, it is still working some 17
    years after it was originally purchased! (I wish ever car I bought lasted
    this long and had so few repairs!)

    As the OP surmised, the unit worked on two 6V batteries. Fast (forward
    only) speed was created by wiring the two batteries in series (12V not 24V).
    Slow (forward and reverse) was accomplished by wiring the two batteries in
    parallel. There was a lock out wire under the vehicle dash that would
    disable the high speed and we used this when the kids were younger. We
    never left the batteries on the charger more than 18 hours and tried to keep
    them as charged as possible (overnight 12 hours after each use) since they
    were lead acid type. I think this probably extended their life and may have
    also prevented the wire from overheating by keeping them charged, but never
    overcharged. I did notice that the wires would get very warm after about an
    hour of heavy use when the batteries were near exhaustion. I presume this
    was due to the fact that the amperage increased as the voltage dropped with
    use. One thing I did do was use 25A fuses in the batteries themselves
    instead of the 30A that came with the unit. (I always thought the 30A was a
    bit high given the application.)

    On the batteries themselves, I never purchased any of the replacements from
    Mattel since they were too expensive. Instead, I purchased Sear DieHards
    (they were in the toy section and in their catalog), and generic 6V sealed
    cells from Toys R' Us for between $19 and $25 each (likely more now). I
    also always replaced both batteies at the same time since I knew they were
    used in parallel and needed to be of the same capacity. When I had one that
    came out of the set that was still good and had some remaining life, we
    transferred it to another single cell 6V Little Tykes train set that used a
    similar sealed cell battery.

  15. kk

    kk Guest

    Hi Guy Macon, OP here, now your comments are very interesting! I did
    find out about that recall when searching for new batteries. I
    called mattel here in the UK and was told the following; the recall
    was due to batteries exploding/burning etc etc, and the reason
    batteries were doing this was because of the removeable auto-type
    fuses on the top, so what they did (here in the UK at least) was to
    provide a modification, which was some sort of thing to prevent the
    fuses being removed and/or replaced by something unsuitable (they said
    it was the replacing of fuses with eg nails that was causing the
    overheating). i had been hoping that the recall would mean they
    took my batteries back and gave me new ones! and told them so.
    they replied that the recall had not involved replacement of either
    batteries or vehicles or anything else! now we here in the UK are
    used to being ripped off and bullied by firms which have to behave
    more honourably over there. are you able to confirm that the recall
    in the states would have got me a new pair of batteries? if so i
    can go back and attack mattel to get some. BTW i bought the vehicle
    (a dual-speed barbie jeep) in new york in 1997 from toys are us, and
    bought it back on the plane (there was about a 50% price difference
    between here and there at the time.....), so i could honestly claim to
    the recall under the benevolent protection of US law (i sure paid
    US/NY sales taxes etc!). So after that long rant, any light
    you think you can shed on this to get me a free set of batteries

  16. JURB6006

    JURB6006 Guest

    I've done this with the kiddie cars. My friend's grandkids were riding three
    and four at a time over logs and stuff, while other kids' batteries were dead.
    We just used car batteries.

    One warning though, we did start to need to replace motors etc., even the
    switches. We didn't care, they're only young once.The only other thing is that
    they could actually run each other over.

  17. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    I modified the charging system for a 6V ride-on "bike" (see below) by
    removing the series polarity protection diode and replacing the dumb
    AC power pack with an intelligent 1A current limited charger costing
    AU$20 (US$14). This charger reverts to constant voltage charge when
    the battery voltage reaches 90%.

    - Franc Zabkar
  18. Greg Smith

    Greg Smith Guest

    I am a US customer that took my son's Power Wheels Jeep in for the
    recall. They did not give me a new set of batteries; they merely
    modified the ones I had with a new fuse assembly on the top. The job
    was done well and it looked like they came that way from the factory.
    They also changed the connectors on both the batteries, vehicle, and
    charger (which I was required to bring in with the vehicle, if my
    memory serves. The batteries currently in the Jeep are the A-type
    connectors. I had bought the Jeep early in 1998 and had no problems
    with it before the recall.

    FYI, my batteries recently went south, but were still going strong at
    the end of last summer, so I received a total of 6 good summers' use
    out of the originals.

    Now I am wondering what type I should replace them with. I have a
    second son who just got good at driving the vehicle this spring before
    the batteries dropped off on their charge strength.
  19. kk

    kk Guest

    Hello, OP back again, thanks for all suggestions, for the info of
    anyone who cares, I bought some from as replacements, they
    were $16.50 each all in including postage to the UK, posted as 2
    separate batteries so no customs implications, arrived safe and sound
    in a week, compared to Mattel's quote in the UK here for 76 pounds for
    the pair; FX is currently 1.83, so thats about USD 140! welcome
    to rip-off UK. thanks again all
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