which powerchair manufacturer...

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which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby randyorton » 07 Mar 2019, 17:04

Hey, I'm in the market for a new chair. Pretty much got an idea of what i'm after, but am unsure of the reliability of the manufacturers. What's everyone's opinion on invacare, permobil, quickie, pride, sunrise medical etc..? Ive read so many polarising things on different sites(e.g. permobil do great chairs, terrible after-sales service) that im honestly at a loss which one to seriously look at.

Any real-life experiences or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 07 Mar 2019, 19:48

Basically all the same, made from common pool of parts from a common industry supplier list...

Whats more important is things like programming. Which every chair needs if its ever to steer or work properly. And that needs an OEM level tool. That rules out pride. And a few newer invacare ones.

And then battery size. Dont get a chair that cant fit GRP 24 sized batteries. Thats 70 to 80Ah, and avoid 8mph and up if you like real control, ability to get up a slope or ramp easily etc and decent battery life/range.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby martin007 » 07 Mar 2019, 20:49

My chair is powerchair made by Sunrise Medical.
After 19 years works very well.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 07 Mar 2019, 21:18

Depends what you do with them. And depends on luck. Electronics can just fail.

Do a lot of harsh stuff, cover enough distance daily in wet salty winter conditions, and walk dog off road, programmed it to jump or go on command and drive like you hate it, live in a mountainous area and its easy to destroy any chair in a year. Motors and batteries in 9 months totally ruined. Everything else corrodes and fails. Esp bearings and suspension.

Spend most of the time indoors, or on flat pavements, dont go far, dont use outdoors in winter, lightweight user, yes 10 years is easy. Just batteries about every 5...

Also it depends on perception. And expectation. For example. In 9 months I can easily detect the loss of performance on a set of HIGH QUALITY lead batteries. And it pisses me off. Because it no longer steers well and feels loose and uncontrollable instead of linear and accurate. It will not wheelie on command since it has greater internal resistance. And loses range, esp in winter. So they are replaced. If I then were to give my OLD batteries to a little old lady living in a residential home, she will think they are still perfect five years later! Because she doesent use them hard enough to be able to tell the difference. I hear people saying they have 10 year old batteries that are still good. They are not, but THEY cant tell.

My chair is powerchair made by Sunrise Medical.
After 19 years works very well.


Heres the misconception.
The manufacturer only really makes a frame, which is a bracket to bolt all the other BOUGHT IN bits onto. And possibly a few plastic panels.
They BUY IN from a pool of suppliers, just like all of the rest. of the manufacturers do.

That means they generally dont make:
1. The wiring or cables/loom. They have them made by the same group of outside suppliers.
2. Wheels. Same.
3. Tyres.
4. Bearings
5. Bolts, nuts, washers, spacers, plastic tube ends, fancy bolt covers etc.
6. Tubes
7. ANY of the electronics, all bought from the same 3 big companies - (so you see PG stuff like R-Net, curtis instruments, Dynamic on every chair from all manufacturers)
8. Motors, they all use the same AMT, Linix, Elecrtrocraft, EMD, and a few others. That includes sensors, gearboxes and brakes freewheel etc.
9. batteries.
10. chargers.
11. Shock absorbers and suspension.
12. Fuses and Breakers.
13. Upholstery is farmed out to the same small group of industry suppliers.
14. SOME do make seating systems. Most are just bought in from a group of suppliers. Such as the companies that make a universal lift/tilt mechanism.
15. Actuators.
16. Limit switches, microswitches etc.
17. lights.
18. relays.
19. many small brackets and fittings bushes, are just bought in catalaog items too.

So if the frame fails. Thats the manufacturers faiult and the chairs make matters. If anything else fails, and it will, then its 90 percent garanteed that its a common part across all the big manufacturers. For E.G. AMT motors are found on Quickie, sunrise, a bunch of german chairs, amysystems, handicare, etc etc. And are equally likely to fail on all those chairs. Just the same as the rest of the motor manufacturers! Likewise, you will find the PG R-net system of electronics on almost every brand of chair. Or as an option. Even obscure ones like bounder. And equally likely to fail on EVERY make of chair.

If a chair has badly managed wiring looms compared to well managed looms that dont fail then thats the manufacturers doing. But most are similar. Or if they put a power module in a stupid place where it easily gets soaked from a wet road thats also a manufacturer issue. But really theres not a lot of reason to prefer one make over another. The actual layout, F M or R drive, seating options, and then the biggie. CONFIGURATION. Options and then personalised configuration. Thats what makes the real difference between chairs.

Permobil for e.g have a reputation of quality. And sure they are nicely finished, and have inovative seating. But that doesent mean more reliable. There are in fact rather a lot of permobil issues with colapsing seating backs, motor failures etc on here. That double the price gets you a nicely finished product with inovative seating. But it is still made up from the same pool of parts as every other chair. Strip em down, all look exactly the same with different metal frames. Also beware of both permobil (one off impossible for the user to program seating setup) and prides controllers that are really curtis instruments rebadged. They have their own OEM programmers under lock and key. Which means YOU cant get one, and so those chair will always steer like a hovercraft and so to me are completely useless.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby martin007 » 08 Mar 2019, 01:45

Heres the misconception.


I live on a plateau.
I weigh little.
The (outdoor) humidity level is low 365 days a year.
In winter I leave home little; itˈs very cold.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 08 Mar 2019, 04:15

If you had a big dog, you would be required to walk it many miles every day. They insist!
In britain we have a thing called winter where it gets actually cold (you live in spain! We go there in winter because its warm!!!). And they grit the roads for 5 months. With highly corrosive rock salt. The stuff ATTRACTS water. So the roads that would have been bone dry are now also permanantly wet... Obviously so that now that they ARE wet they can freeze. A huge self fullfilling prophesy. Idiots grit the roads with this damned salt every last day. Why? Because they are dumb. And if they dont the budget is reduced the following year as they didnt use all the salt...

That stuff destroys chairs. Do it once, and that salt soaks into every thread and joint and causes extra destruction every damp or humid day. GREASE every bolt or metal surface or wiring connector on every new chair BEFORE the corrosive crap can get in.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby randyorton » 08 Mar 2019, 11:49

Interesting stuff, thanks for the info ... so it basically sounds like most chairs are quite similar in sourcing of parts, technology etc (outside of a few manufacturer quirks). Sounds to me like Permobil is the 'Apple' of the group, who supply great looking chairs but restrict you so much afterwards in what you can do with it. Pride sounds like a no-go so won't go any further there, what about Quickie and invacare? Is there any other reason to choose or avoid one over the other? Any alarm bells (in terms of service or if something was to go wrong I mean)?
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 08 Mar 2019, 20:20

Its serviced by the dealer you use to buy it. The chair companies are not dealing with the public. Like buying a lawn mower. The place you bought it from, will be covering warranty etc. If thats a proper lawnmower establishment with a workshop etc and a good reputation great. If its a supermarket then you get what you paid for. They may swap it for a new one or send it for repair or do nothing... Out of warranty the supermarket isnt interested. You buy another. So its all up to you.

I have bought online trade, 25 and 30 off on new complex powerchairs. But on the understanding that I am the service agent... I have parts warranty only. Dealer does no setup, no anything. Thats then my problem.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby martin007 » 08 Mar 2019, 21:42

In britain we have a thing called winter where it gets actually cold (you live in spain! We go there in winter because its warm!!!)


You know the warm part of Spain.
I live in cold Spain.
It doesn't usually rain or snow here, but ICE is very common.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Scooterman » 10 Mar 2019, 10:02

martin007 wrote:
In britain we have a thing called winter where it gets actually cold (you live in spain! We go there in winter because its warm!!!)


You know the warm part of Spain.
I live in cold Spain.
It doesn't usually rain or snow here, but ICE is very common.

In which part of Spain do you live Martin?
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Scooterman » 11 Mar 2019, 13:26

BM - Which brand of powerchair is the one to be avoid because they can't be programmed by us? Is it a USA brand?
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 11 Mar 2019, 17:47

Permobil can be difficult or impossible. They use custom stuff that may not allow you to load edited profiles.

Prides newer ones that dont use PG Drives controllers or older Curtis instrments ones, are impossible. So Q-logic 2 or 3. Esp 3.

Anything using the newer dynamic controllers. Avoid LiNX https://dynamiccontrols.com/our-products

So dont buy pride, or permobil. And anything with LiNX on it...
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Scooterman » 11 Mar 2019, 20:56

Thank you BM. I might go to Naidex this year to have a look at powerchairs, scooters, and WAVs, just our of curiosity I'm not in the market for buying anything I've got enough mob stuff as it is.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby steves1977uk » 11 Mar 2019, 21:14

Most of Invacare's indoor/outdoor current & newer chairs use LinX :fencing

Also I remember BM saying Dynamic controls cannot be programmed beyond 70 acceleration settings, which is another reason to avoid Dynamic controls. Some of my chairs I have 100 accel/decel settings which is essential for proper control, which WCS doesn't seem to get! :fencing

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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 12 Mar 2019, 02:04

With the OEM software you can fix that and increase the effectiveness of ALL the turn acceleration. Its an item called turn acceleration scaler. Increase that, from its 25 to 50 and it doubles turn acceleration rates. Not turn speed. So setting 35 works well.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » 12 Mar 2019, 03:15

Permobil seem to be getting a reputation of problems lately on here.
Heres a couple.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8695

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8695

And you cant program them in many cases.

Rover may elaborate. But I might be very tempted to avoid.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby ex-Gooserider » 19 Mar 2019, 06:50

At this point, if I were buying a new chair, I would insist on a pure R-net based electronic system (no Permobil because they add their proprietary stuff to it) brand is less important, since as said most of the bits come from the same parts suppliers once you get past the frame...

That said, of the major brands in the US,

Pride / Quantum seems to have a reputation for poor build quality - they skimp on finishing the parts they make, and don't do a great job of assembling the parts they source from outside....

Permobil has a reputation for great cosmetic looks, but all the fancy covers make them harder to service. They also try to do 'bleeding edge' technology that makes them wonderful while everything works, but absolute hell if something breaks... The comparison to Apple is appropriate, nice to use, but no low cost fixes...

Invacare and Sunrise seem to be more in the middle with decent build quality and reasonable ability to do non-manufacturer approved mods and repairs. However since Invacare has been going to LinX electronics, Sunrise is about the only one left standing.... (or is it sitting?? :lol: )

ex-Gooserider
T-5, ASIA-B
Jazzy 1100
Jazzy Select 6
Quickie Q-7
Invacare Mariner
Want to make / get a better chair, ideally one that stands.
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Scooterman » 19 Mar 2019, 12:26

What is a gooserider?
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby foghornleghorn » 19 Mar 2019, 13:24

Someone who rides a goose, obviously!

An ex-Gooserider no longer rides a goose. Maybe he upgraded to riding a swan, but didn't want to sound too posh :lol:

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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Scooterman » 19 Mar 2019, 20:39

foghornleghorn wrote:Someone who rides a goose, obviously!

An ex-Gooserider no longer rides a goose. Maybe he upgraded to riding a swan, but didn't want to sound too posh :lol:

Image

Ha ha! Very good :clap:


Ah, an ex-moto guzzi rider, got it :thumbup:
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby expresso » Yesterday, 04:39

i would only use Sunrise and Rnet - or pilot plus which is no longer used i dont think

permobile is a problem to program even with the OEM dongle - i tried for a person and didnt work - glad i save the original file and re installed it - i dont like it - and alot of problems i been reading about -

but then depends who you talk to about it - some never have issues and many do - so hard to say - i still dont like anything thats not RWD -

i feel sunrise - quickies are the best bet if you want RWD - and Rnet - alot of options you can control and adjust - motion mobility - is another one to check out - not as fast but seems strong and solid - Rnet i believe so can improve it - and maybe speed it up also - with lithium and extra volts
Quickie P222se - 60Ah ADD ON
Quickie S646se - 150Ah LifePo4
Quickie P220 - Indoor Chair
Bounder Plus - 180Ah LifePo4
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Re: which powerchair manufacturer...

Postby Burgerman » Yesterday, 09:41

permobile is a problem to program even with the OEM dongle - i tried for a person and didnt work - glad i save the original file and re installed it - i dont like it - and alot of problems i been reading about -

That chair had a stability module. You need to alter different settings to fix those. Setting your usual settings in the speeds section will not work. But according to a respected member here its often not possible regardless. So permobil is a chair to avoid if you want one that actually steers properly.
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