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Building your own power wheelchair

Postby eizbear » 09 Feb 2021, 11:03

Hi there,

I have always been intrigued with your custom built wheelchair Burgerman and wanted to make my own custom built wheelchair for my son. But when he was smaller he didn't really use his power wheelchair as he does now (he is still only 10). He has a great wheelchair from Invacare - a TDX SP2 from 2020 - but as with everything with him - no standard things works. It always needs custom building and I'm getting pretty tired of the "good enough" mentality some of medical assistive personal have... They literally only have a title, but can't handle a screwdriver for real. If there is something my son needs, but isn't available as a part you can buy from a bigger company like invacare, permobil, Anatomic sit etc - it stops there... They can't see the possibilites and solutions that you can make with little to no effort... Like the lateral support on my sons toilet chair - they just mounted the things on the chair but wasn't able to adjust the distance between the supports as the screw rails on the chair didn't allow a narrower setting that my son needed. But for them it was good enough. It took me about 1 hour to dismantle the chair, use a angle grinder and put it back together.

Enough of that... Just wanted to give you some sort of picture of how bad they are..

So, I really like the chair he has with the middle wheel drive. It fits him perfect, but I am open to persuasion if back wheel drive is better.. but please explain why... Not open to front wheel drive... (WE REALLY HATE FRONT WHEEL DRIVE!)

Anyways, where did you find your frame Burgerman ? UK seems like an excellent place to find wheelchair parts - we do not have this in sweden. Not at all.
I would really like to find a frame that has this middle wheel drive thingy and pretty much copy paste your whole story Burgerman, but not as much hardcore as you went hehehe.
I already have some parts I have already bought from the UK, like motors, joysticks, etc... (you will probably tell me that they are crap and that I should buy this and this instead - and that is exactly what I'm looking for... Someone who really knows his stuff!
eizbear
 
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Re: Building your own power wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 09 Feb 2021, 12:33

Hi there,

I have always been intrigued with your custom built wheelchair Burgerman and wanted to make my own custom built wheelchair for my son. But when he was smaller he didn't really use his power wheelchair as he does now (he is still only 10). He has a great wheelchair from Invacare - a TDX SP2 from 2020 - but as with everything with him - no standard things works. It always needs custom building and I'm getting pretty tired of the "good enough" mentality some of medical assistive personal have... They literally only have a title, but can't handle a screwdriver for real. If there is something my son needs, but isn't available as a part you can buy from a bigger company like invacare, permobil, Anatomic sit etc - it stops there... They can't see the possibilites and solutions that you can make with little to no effort... Like the lateral support on my sons toilet chair - they just mounted the things on the chair but wasn't able to adjust the distance between the supports as the screw rails on the chair didn't allow a narrower setting that my son needed. But for them it was good enough. It took me about 1 hour to dismantle the chair, use a angle grinder and put it back together.

Enough of that... Just wanted to give you some sort of picture of how bad they are..


You think I dont know :fencing
Never mind making parts or using a saw or whatever they never even configure a chair properly for a user. Almost ever as far as I can tell. They dont appear to know what it even means. When out and about I see users all over the place with obvious and simple configuration issues and programming issues that would litterally take 15 mins to deal with. But they never do it. So users everywhere struggling for the life of a chair. For no reason. And are unaware how much better it can be. Every chair I get I will take at least a few days rebuilding greasing squeeky dry bolts and axles. All assembled by an idiot waiting to rust solid. Fitting more suitable tyres, moving seat position for CG, moving arm height, length, width, reconfiguring arm top positions and mountings of joystick etc. Sorting out loose wobly swing away mounts and arms. Setting the controller in the right place, which is essential for proper control once programmed so it steers properly. And removing much of the sticky out stuff, extra long brackets, footplate positions, seating dump angles, cables, etc. With a saw or grinder or simple screwdrivers or allen keys/spanners. As required. On my last chair very little cutting was needed. LOTS of rejiigging! Took me a week. It transforms a chair from a mess thats not very usable to a fine tuned thing that fits you correctly and works properly.

So, I really like the chair he has with the middle wheel drive. It fits him perfect, but I am open to persuasion if back wheel drive is better.. but please explain why... Not open to front wheel drive... (WE REALLY HATE FRONT WHEEL DRIVE!)


Anyways, where did you find your frame Burgerman ? UK seems like an excellent place to find wheelchair parts - we do not have this in sweden. Not at all.

It is a modified F55 frame, unavailable new for a decade.
I already have some parts I have already bought from the UK, like motors, joysticks, etc... (you will probably tell me that they are crap and that I should buy this and this instead - and that is exactly what I'm looking for... Someone who really knows his stuff!

If its 100A capable, or better like 120A and he motors are new or as new, and 4 pole, then you have the right stuff. Personally I recommend R-Net 120A stuff, as the whole system is well thought out, extremely programmable, and more flexible than anything else available.

Why is front drive bad? Its not. But I hate it too. Too much chair and mass hanging around behind you and a lack of stability at speed means I cant program it to steer properly without big problems. So not for me.

Why is front drive bad? Well its not. But it high centres too easily, loses drive wheel traction too easily, and has no or little drive wheel suspension movement and so with 4 tiny casters rides outdoors terribly. Rattles your teeth and jars your spine over bumps. And off road like dog walking etc is likely to get stuch. UNLESS its longer, bigger and uses off road tyres etc like the X5/V6 fronteir chair. Then its ungainly indoors. It feels big and long. And is 28 inches wide.

Why is rear drive bad? 2 reasons that can be fixed! They are almost universally sold with seperate leg rests. They put your heels ahead of the (reversed) front casters. So that they dont hit your feet. So your legs end up stretched out ahead, and the seat usually ends up well forwards because of this. So the chairs all end up way too long and nose heavy. Which is why they steer like oil tankers and people prefer mid drives. But it doesent need to be that way! IF you specify a centre footplate like all of my chairs use. Then it can have your heels slightly between the caster wheels. This allows the seat to be relocated back by 2 or 3 inches. That means the drive wheels are more under your ass. And that the chair is shorter. And so now less weight over the front casters. And so it steers properly, and haas no front "corners" preventing you turning into a doorway etc. So a vast improvement. Now it can rival mid drive indoors. And steers better. Has better drive wheel traction. Is shorter. And because it can have much bigger front casters, and only 2 of them its much nicer outdoors with a better "feel". Its also a naturally directionally stable platform that just feels better to drive than mid or front drives.

Of course your mileage may vary! Read the following so you understand the parameters that are important to me at least. I cant buy a stock chair without making some minor changes.
R-Net, cheap, I am converting all my chairs. R-Net
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8857

My salsa. No longer available, but read details, carefully then scroll down to see what I am talking about
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7455&start=600#p122818

Another few pages on a chair I just bought. Basically its a different chair and is now a clone of the salsa above...
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10062

R-Net hand position and programming so it steers properly. Applies to other systems too. A must read. If you care about any chair steering properly!
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8035
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Re: Building your own power wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 09 Feb 2021, 12:50

And I am not suggesting you copy me! These are what was important to me. But its shows why I changed what I did. And gives you an idea of what parameters are important. I also suggest you dont build your own. Its not as simple as you may think to get everything right unless you are good at physics and can finish a chair to a high standard. Many try. Most end up with a mess.

First you need to know what you are attempting to achieve and why and these are personal goals. My chairs would not suit you or your son. The might, but I doubt it. Best to find the best chair for your needs and wants. Then change it in subtle ways to make it work properly!
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Re: Building your own power wheelchair

Postby eizbear » 09 Feb 2021, 13:31

Thanks man! I'm gonna comment your answers one by one as I work my through it all.

First up;
R-Net 120 Power Module
I would like to try this out and see the posibilites - but do you know if it is possible to connect an mini-joystick from ALS ? (Adaptive Switch Laboratories) My son can't handle a regular joystick due to his muscle weakness, he needs a joystick with the lightest resistance there is (as well with buttons).

What is a good price for a complete R-NET 120 Power Module setup. I thought that I at least can try and see if it is possible to buy an old one from the assistive center. Not likely, but it's worth a try.
eizbear
 
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Re: Building your own power wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 09 Feb 2021, 13:55

You can see what I paid in that thread. If your son cant handle a normal joystick much of my hand positioning/programming stuff wont apply. But its still essential to have full programming capability. The speciality controls need an omni imput device usually.

Its a very adaptable system with lots of options. http://sunrise.pgdrivestechnology.com/m ... 981-14.pdf read carefully many times!

You will need this: https://support.pgdt.com/Home/omni2-manual-pdf as it allows connection of all the alternative controls you caN imagine both digital latched, proportional, etc.

https://www.sunrisemedical.eu/powered-w ... ng-systems

https://www.sunrisemedical.com/power-wh ... versaguide

https://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/educat ... d-joystick

https://www.sunrisemedical.com/getattac ... Guide.aspx
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Re: Building your own power wheelchair

Postby martin007 » 09 Feb 2021, 21:12

eizbear wrote:They literally only have a title, but can't handle a screwdriver for real.


What you describe happens in every country.
In Spain they also know how to make very bulky invoices.
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