A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

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A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Ironside » 13 Oct 2017, 17:52

I have been using Permobil wheelchairs for several years now and I really do like them. However, something happened last week that has dented my confidence in the wheelchairs. To cut a long story short, the back of my wheelchair completely collapsed leaving me right back with my head about foot above the ground. Basically, there are two brackets that support the backrest. One of them has the power rod attached to it. The other one just seems to move on a pivot. The one with the power rod completely snapped which left the wheelchair with absolutely no support.

I'm having to stay in bed because I don't have a spare chair and the new bracket does not arrive until today. Permobil will be coming out on Monday morning to fix the chair. It's taken a week for this part to arrive. I've made my feelings very clear to Permobil that I am not happy. It's just by the grace of God that this happened whilst I was at home. Next day I had planned to go fishing which would have meant me driving my Mercedes sprinter van. Can you imagine the outcome if this back had collapsed whilst I was driving?

I'm not an engineer but I don't really know much about metals. However, I note that in order to get the strength you need you need to use the right type of metal. A lot of weight and pressure is being put on these two brackets, for one of them to snap is just not acceptable. Apparently, the brackets are made from cast steel (apparently made in Japan, but don't hold me to that) I told a friend of mine who makes motorcycle exhausts and the first thing he said was they should be made out of forged steel in order to get the strength you need.

I'm going to make Permobil realise the importance of this. If someone gets seriously hurt or killed and their chair is to blame than they could be facing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit, plus the possibility of other more serious charges if it's deemed they are using inferior parts.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring this to the attention of anyone using Permobil wheelchairs that may have these brackets fitted. Please get them checked to make sure there are no cracks, especially if your wheelchair was quite elderly.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby rover220 » 13 Oct 2017, 18:29

Not the first time I've heard of this.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 13 Oct 2017, 18:56

I'm having to stay in bed because I don't have a spare chair and the new bracket does not arrive until today. Permobil will be coming out on Monday morning to fix the chair.


Seems to becommon for that to fail.

But I cannot stress to people the importance of both knowing how a chair works and having a few tools and spares around, and of having a BACKUP CHAIR!!!
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby rover220 » 13 Oct 2017, 20:06

Burgerman wrote:
I'm having to stay in bed because I don't have a spare chair and the new bracket does not arrive until today. Permobil will be coming out on Monday morning to fix the chair.


Seems to becommon for that to fail.

But I cannot stress to people the importance of both knowing how a chair works and having a few tools and spares around, and of having a BACKUP CHAIR!!!


You wouldn't believe the amount of people I deal with that don't have any back up chair of any kind. They are then the same people that complain like mad when a spare part takes a few days to arrive.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 13 Oct 2017, 21:27

I really can! Somehow people seem to want to take no responsibility for anything medical. Although a wheelchair really isnt. But it USUALLY funded and supplied the same way. So they like to leave it all the the "system"... Then, when it fails (as every last one does sooner or later), they are royally screwed.

I got 3 good and lightly used F55s over the years. For free, for the cost of a few beers, and one I paid £500 for when it was a relatively new model, in perfect condition.

I recently aquired a Invacare brushless, storm 3, that had had 2 brand new MK batteries installed, that was almost unused. At a guess, a few days of use. Still had the bobbles on the tyres. Dusty as hell, still is... but not a scratch I can see.Has power tilt and recline. 8 mph, lights etc. Very nead tidy chair. And £450 and collected from about 5 miles away. Its still in need of a few adjustments but my carer tested it as far a the town centre, after I programmed it, tested battery, etc. So its not exactly expensive to get yourself organised. May give it a polish and sell that. And get another spare Groove/Salsa 4 pole/similar instead.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Ironside » 05 Jan 2018, 21:51

I had Permobil come down and demonstrate the new Permobil F5. Very nice wheelchair, certainly an improvement on the corpus 500. However, £19,700? That is a lot of money. I haven't committed myself yet because I want to see what else is around. I was talking to a couple of guys I know who are using Invacare wheelchairs and they've had to have quite a lot of work done on them which kind of puts me off a little bit. I've had my corpus 500 since 2011 and is a chair I use every single day. I had the problem with the bracket breaking a few weeks ago and a couple of years ago I had to have the tilt and recline later replaced. Apart from that, I've had no other issues with the chair and it's been running faultless. So one might say £19,700 is an awful lot of money to pay, but if you're going to get something that is going to be very reliable but it's worth every penny.

Whatever happens, my Permobil corpus 500 should still have a few years left in it. It doesn't cost a fortune to replace the motors which I will do if something happens to them. The motors that operate the seating are expensive but replacing them is still cheaper than buying a brand-new chair. The joystick unit is also very expensive but again, it's cheaper to replace it than by a brand-new chair. So I'm at a bit of a crossroads at the moment. If I buy another Permobil then the chances are one of them is going to sit there doing absolutely nothing for the next 10 years. Or do I purchase five or £6000 share and keep it as a spare and just maintain the Permobil?

What would you guys do?
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 05 Jan 2018, 22:23

Do you mean do or just did?

I just ordered a sunrise medical mix between a Salsa R2 and a Jive R2 with centre power footplate, non lifting centre post (stronger) arms, tilt, recline, lift, 70Ah batteries, advanced PG Drives Rnet controls, 4 pole motors, etc etc. Why?

Because unlike the chair you are looking at its possible to actually get a OEM programmer that allows full customisation and setup. And because its basically the same thing for 1/3rd of the price after some discount. When you say more reliable, they all make frames, and then fit all the rest from the same pool of parts suppliers so theres little to choose.

Front drive offends my mechanical sensibilities. Not as a gift! But theres a front drive version of the Jive/salsa chair too.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Ironside » 06 Jan 2018, 19:45

I have not ordered anything yet, I've just had Permobil come down and give me a demonstration of the F5. I find it completely ridiculous that a wheelchair can cost as much as really good motor vehicle.

My Corpus 500 cost me £14,000 back in 2011. Now Permobil are asking for £19,700 which in all fairness does include another Roho cushion. However, it's still a massive amount of money.

So what you are saying is it's possible to basically build your own customised chair using different parts from different companies? That sounds like a good idea. I might look into that and see if it's something that will suit my needs.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 06 Jan 2018, 19:56

So what you are saying is it's possible to basically build your own customised chair using different parts from different companies? That sounds like a good idea. I might look into that and see if it's something that will suit my needs.


You can. I have. But no thats NOT what I am saying here! All one company. You just need to know what you want. Or get a rep!

The two chairs I was talking about are just the SAME chair with a few different build options. So I mixed them up a bit with the rep to get the options I want in one chair.
But you can get a reasonable discount from a few dealers if you ask. And the prices start out at half of permobils.

EG SALSA R2
http://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered ... s/salsa-r2
Prices/options
http://www.sunrisedice.com/asset-bank/a ... /24294.pdf

AND JIVE R2
http://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered ... rs/jive-r2
Prices options
http://www.sunrisedice.com/asset-bank/a ... /18116.pdf

To which I added centre power footplate, tilt/recline/lift etc, advanced colour control pod, 4 pole HD motors, black colour, different armrests, more rearward seat mounting, and a different back, and an in built control pod mount taken from the "mini" narrow chair, and 120A controller. As special "build for me" items. I paid under 7 but cant say where or I would have to kill you.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Ironside » 06 Jan 2018, 21:15

You have certainly given me something to think about.

The way I look at it is the advantage of purchasing another Permobil means I can swap chairs whenever I want and I will be able to carry on with life as normal. The biggest advantage I'm going to have by going with a completely different model of chair is it will not be able to clamp into my Permobil wheelchair restraint system in my van. By going with another wheelchair I have been able to customise it and have all the parts that I know work for me in my existing Permobil. Going with a completely different model of wheelchair will mean getting used to it again. You know what it's like when you've been using one type of wheelchair for a long time and then all of a sudden you have got to get used to something completely different it's completely alien and feels absolutely horrible. There is no way around the restraint system in my vehicle, the Permolock will only work with a Permobil that has the matching system itself.

Sometimes you have to put the cost aside and think about what best for your long-term needs. Six years ago I purchased a Storm 4 as a standby chair and I absolutely hated it. I actually sold it a year later which is why I don't have a spare. Obviously I was a little bit naive thinking that the Permobil would never develop a problem.

Anyway, I've got an appointment on Thursday to get another wheelchair voucher. Down here in Devon we can have them every five years so that's 5K towards a new wheelchair.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 06 Jan 2018, 22:19

Wheelchair tie down in the van is just mind over metal. Easily sorted out.

As for getting used to different chairs, oNce CORRECTLY programmed across all to the same go where you tell it parameters, and seating adjusted to exactly as you prefer, inc position of joystick etc across all chairs, then they all drive and feel pretty much identical. I have about 5 and a half chairs here at the moment. Including one storm 3 invacare, 3 home made with lithium, and one with lead, and the new one ordered thats on its way as I type. I know that once configured, adjusted, programmed, the new one will be all but identical to the rest. There should be no need to get used to a chair. The differences between all of mine are so small that I need to look to see what I am sat on! I will use different chairs for different jobs, days, while repairing or maintaining, etc.
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Ironside » 06 Jan 2018, 22:36

I notice that the Puma 40 uses the same joystick units as the Permobil Corpus 500. I'm assuming that these joystick units are used by different wheelchair manufacturers. Just wondering how many things are unique to Permobil and what other parts are universal and used on other wheelchairs?
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Re: A Warning for Users of the Permobil Corpus 500

Postby Burgerman » 06 Jan 2018, 23:16

Permobil and other manufacturers use a pool of common motor, actuator, bearing, controller, and many other parts, like tyres, wheels in many cases, looms, fasteners, connectors, batteries etc. They basically make the frame to hang it all on. And sometimes the seating metalwork, but buy controllers and actuators in. It depends on chair.

For eg almost all chairs use 3 main companies for control systems, and seating modules etc. Its all plug and play. Eg, PG Drives here http://www.cw-industrialgroup.com/Produ ... tions.aspx Theres also dynamic controls, curtis instruments.

And AMT motors, along with EMD, Lnix, and 4 or 5 others. http://www.amt-schmid.com/en/products/r ... drives.php

Etc.
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