Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair?

Powerchair or Mobility Equipment Reviews! Start a new thread with DESCRIPTIVE TITLE for each new review.

WEBSITE REVIEWS HERE (Scroll Down): www.wheelchairdriver.com/powerchair-stuff.htm

Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair?

Postby hodgyhodge » 21 May 2013, 14:43

Hi there,

I'm thinking of buying the energi enigma wheelchair and was wondering if anyone uses, or has used one and can let me know what it's like, or if there are any better alternatives that you'd recommend.


I haven't bought an electric wheelchair before and I feel a bit clueless really! this seems to be cheaper than others (£1099 from betterlife healthcare) and looks like it'll do what I want (I think!) eg it has a kerb climber attachment.

also, is it better to buy new or second hand? I need it to be reliable but don't have lots of money! I know with cars you pay a premium for it to be brand new, which isn't really worth it, but I don't know what kind of lifespan these things have and I'm concerned it may be a false economy to buy second hand if it doesn't last.


lots of questions, sorry! if you can give me any help/advice i'd be very grateful

xjen
hodgyhodge
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 May 2013, 14:33

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 21 May 2013, 16:02

Well powerchairs are expensive and overpriced for what they are. And this one is very cheap.

You get what you expect. Lots of wasted space and "air". Its got slow max speed, skinny wheels and tyres, small slow motors, low power/torque, small Amp weedy controller, small batteries, and is no "smaller" in overall outline dimensions than a hi end powerchair.

So as long as you don't fancy using it outdoors (no suspension either) and don't expect much more than a motorised seat in a smooth place like a shopping centre or old folks home its OK. It depends what you are expecting.

Hope that either did or did not put you off depending on usage... :oops:
User avatar
Burgerman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45261
Joined: 27 May 2008, 21:24
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby hodgyhodge » 21 May 2013, 18:26

thanks that's really helpful.

I do want to use it outdoors so that probably rules it out! What do you think I should expect to spend? or are there any particular brands that have a good reputation? or are there key features to consider?
In your opinion, is it worth considering 2nd hand or is that a false economy?

sorry to bombard you with questions! I really appreciate an experienced voice! I don't know anyone else who uses a chair and I'm so worried about making a mistake.

thanks again, jenx
hodgyhodge
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 May 2013, 14:33

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Lord Chatterley » 21 May 2013, 19:46

If you are normal size the Energi Enigma is too flimsy for outdoor use.

Look on ebay - there are much more suitable 6 mph indoor/outdoor chairs at a lower price.

LC
Lord Chatterley
 
Posts: 2286
Joined: 06 Jan 2010, 13:12

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 21 May 2013, 20:32

Outdoors?

Look for larger wheels, suspension, 70Ah (or better) batteries, 10 inch casters, 6mph minimum.
User avatar
Burgerman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45261
Joined: 27 May 2008, 21:24
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby ex-Gooserider » 22 May 2013, 06:43

Powerchairs drop in resale value even faster and further than cars do, and are generally pretty good on durability, so IMHO used is definitely a great way to go... A basic chair that sold for US $5-10K when new, will usually sell for a few hundred dollars used, and even the fancy models that might have cost $25-35K or even more new, are often less than a couple K$.

However there are a few caveats to bear in mind...

1. No matter what the ads say, assume that the batteries will be totally junk, and need replacement... If you get something shipped and are paying by weight, tell the seller to NOT even bother sending them to you....

2. Depending on what your needs are, "fit" can be a big issue. If you have simple needs and can use one of the basic style chairs (often equipped with a car-style seat) it usually isn't a big deal. OTOH if you have complex seating requirements, it is very important to get a chair that either fits you, or has the adjusments needed built in - if you have to start replacing seating parts to get something that fits, you may rapidly go through any cost savings as the costs for these parts are grossly inflated...

3. Don't absolutely take the seller's word for how a chair is equipped, or even exactly what model / version it is - often chairs are being sold by relatives after the user passed on, who may not know what they are dealing with. I've seen many descriptions that are just cut and paste from a manufacturer website, and list several options as present even when it isn't possible to have all of them on the same chair. Short of detailed examination and testing by a knowledgeable expert, the best options are to either look at the original order papers OR to run the serial number through a manufacturer's website. If you know the chair's serial number, most manufacturers have a way to look up the number and see just how it was configured when the chair left the factory. This isn't perfect, as it won't show after sale changes, but relatively few chairs get major changes... Again, this is more critical on the fancier rehab chairs than it is on the basic ones, but it's still worth verifying.

ex-Gooserider
User avatar
ex-Gooserider
 
Posts: 5046
Joined: 15 Feb 2011, 06:17
Location: Billerica, MA. USA

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby hodgyhodge » 22 May 2013, 13:34

thank you all, so much. it's so kind of you to take the time to respond, and all really helpful advice.
I feel a bit less of a sitting duck now I have an idea what to look for!!

thanks again, you're awesome!
much love xjen
hodgyhodge
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 May 2013, 14:33

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Sully » 24 May 2013, 18:48

Pretty much second what Ex-Goose said. Read all these reviews and before you buy teel everyone just what you have settled on. There may be some more specific opinions on which ever you choose.
Sully
 
Posts: 2223
Joined: 04 Dec 2010, 18:44
Location: Hampstead, North Carolina, USA

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Mechniki » 23 Oct 2013, 00:32

Steer clear of both the Energi Enigma and the Energi Enigma Plus, neither are suited for daily use. I Actually bought a brand new Energi Enigma Plus, but exchanged it for an ex demo Roma Marbella. Long story, Drive Medical made too many manufacturing errors on the new chair, including rust and incorrectly set up stem bolt caster bearings
User avatar
Mechniki
 
Posts: 271
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 21:59
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby falco peregrinus » 23 Oct 2013, 14:30

Ex-Gooserider captured the essence of the issue excellently. I agree with all he says. Personally I would never buy a brand new chair - but I'm in the fortunate position of being able to strip down and rebuild a chair from scratch, replacing all components that I find faulty along the way. (For how much longer, I don't know. Have to wait and see.) Like you, I have to self-fund my chairs, so I try to get them at minimum price. Both my chairs were free, because they were so worn out that they were written off, but I was able to rebuild them both to satisfactory operational condition without spending a fortune on them.
Like Ex-Gooserider said, assume the batteries are stuffed and that you will have to replace them. Even if they weren't worn out by the previous user, they've probably been destroyed by sitting idle, flat and uncharged, for too long while the family decided what to do with Grandma's old chair.
One thing that Ex-Gooserider didn't mention - also assume that the bearings on the castors are all stuffed as well. They're relatively cheap things, but sometimes they're hard to get replacements for. You might have to look around and try numerous bearing suppliers before you find some. I actually encountered two bearings on my chair that were SAE internal and metric external diameter (or was it vice versa? No mater. How strange can you get?) Stay away from Chinese bearings. Get Japanese, if you can.
The other thing you have to watch when considering a second hand chair is slop between the drive wheel and the axle. I've seen some horrible mistakes made by professional wheelchair maintenance people in their attempts to quieten the knock that comes when the wheel starts to move on the axle, wearing out the lock key. Oh yeah, assume you have to replace the lock keys too. Don't try to buy replacement keys - buy a 25cm (or so) replacement lock key rod of the required dimensions from a tool supplies shop or engineering supplies shop and cut your own from it. And when you fit it, put a bit of Loctite on it (I forget which one it is - take a look at the Loctite range - there's one specifically designed for this sort of task), to fill the wear gaps caused by poor maintenance in the past life of the chair. The Loctite means you need a gear puller if you to ever want to get it off again, buy you'll almost certainly never need to ever get it off again if you Loctite it on anyway. (If you do wear out the motors so badly that you have to replace the motors, just replace the wheels at the same time if you don't relish removing a Loctited wheel from the motor axle. (I have done it a couple of times, but it isn't easy. If Pride used decent motors, you wouldn't have to Loctite the wheel to the axle to prevent the key and wheel hub wearing out.)
The other thing you have to assume with a second hand chair is that all the nuts and bolts and allen key bolts have loosened up and need retightening. Again, use Loctite, so the problem never recurs. (A low strength one will do the job in most instances, and low-strength will allow you to undo the bolt easily later if you ever need to. You're just trying to prevent vibration loosening things up, so low-strength is sufficient.)
And you should probably also assume that you'll need to replace at least the drive tyres - and replace the tubes, while you're at it. Use thorn-proof tubes, if you can get them. It'll take a bit of searching, but they are available in wheelchair sizes. At least, they are in the two sizes that my wheelchairs take.
If these things check out ok when you buy the chair, then put the money aside to replace them a little further down the track. These things I've listed are routine failures. (And when a bearing collapses, it can sometimes be without warning and it can leave you stranded when it goes.)
Oh, and of course you'll have to reprogram the wheelchair to suit your own particular requirements. There's plenty of info and resources for doing that right here in this forum. It's probably worth your while to thoroughly check out what everyone has to say about the various wheelchair controllers and how to reprogram them on this forum, choose which controller you want, and restrict your search to chairs with that particular controller. You don't want to get stuck with a chair that you can't get reprogrammed to get it just the way you want it.
Oh, and the general opinion of most people on this forum seems to be to stay away from Pride. I've got a Pride Jazzy myself, with a VSI controller, and I'm very happy with it (now that I've finally got it programmed just right!), but it was designed to maximise profits for Pride. The engineering design leaves a lot to be desired. It's not a long-life chair. But I know it, I've lived with it now for about eight years, and I know what goes wrong with them and how to fix them, so I'm ok with it.
Yes, you pay a huge premium to buy a chair brand new. I guess the ideal is to pick up a chair that the family is selling after Grandma died - quite often the family has absolutely no idea of the value of what they are selling in an instance like that. If Grandma hardly used the chair before she became incapable of using it any more, then you might pick up a chair in excellent condition for a really good price.
Falco.
User avatar
falco peregrinus
 
Posts: 445
Joined: 16 Sep 2013, 11:19
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Mechniki » 23 Oct 2013, 16:10

falco peregrinus wrote: also assume that the bearings on the castors are all stuffed as well. They're relatively cheap things, but sometimes they're hard to get replacements for. You might have to look around and try numerous bearing suppliers before you find some. I actually encountered two bearings on my chair that were SAE internal and metric external diameter (or was it vice versa? No mater. How strange can you get?) Stay away from Chinese bearings. Get Japanese, if you can.
The other thing you have to watch when considering a second hand chair is slop between the drive wheel and the axle. I've seen some horrible mistakes made by professional wheelchair maintenance people in their attempts to quieten the knock that comes when the wheel starts to move on the axle, wearing out the lock key. Oh yeah, assume you have to replace the lock keys too. Don't try to buy replacement keys - buy a 25cm (or so) replacement lock key rod of the required dimensions from a tool supplies shop or engineering supplies shop and cut your own from it. And when you fit it, put a bit of Loctite on it (I forget which one it is -
The other thing you have to assume with a second hand chair is that all the nuts and bolts and allen key bolts have loosened up and need retightening. Again, use Loctite, so the problem never recurs. (A low strength one will do the job in most instances, and low-strength will allow you to undo the bolt easily later if you ever need to. You're just trying to prevent vibration loosening things up, so low-strength is sufficient.)
And you should probably also assume that you'll need to replace at least the drive tyres - and replace the tubes, while you're at it. Use thorn-proof tubes, if you can get them.
Oh, and the general opinion of most people on this forum seems to be to stay away from Pride. I've got a Pride Jazzy myself, with a VSI controller, and I'm very happy with it (now that I've finally got it programmed just right!), but it was designed to maximise profits for Pride. The engineering design leaves a lot to be desired. It's not a long-life chair. But I know it, I've lived with it now for about eight years, and I know what goes wrong with them and how to fix them, so I'm ok with it.
Yes, you pay a huge premium to buy a chair brand new. I guess the ideal is to pick up a chair that the family is selling after Grandma died - quite often the family has absolutely no idea of the value of what they are selling in an instance like that. If Grandma hardly used the chair before she became incapable of using it any more, then you might pick up a chair in excellent condition for a really good price.
Falco.


The two Loctite products are "Bearing Fit" and "screw lock", don't get confused and buy "thread lock" as that sticks metal to metal, instead of just acting like a gum
User avatar
Mechniki
 
Posts: 271
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 21:59
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby falco peregrinus » 23 Oct 2013, 23:36

I took a walk downstairs to take a look at what Loctites I keep on hand at all times, and I use Loctite 609 Super Retaining Compound to lock wheel hubs to the axle shafts (and I've also used it successfully to lock an armature to a motor shaft as well, when the armature separated from its shaft). Bearing Fit, if I remember correctly, is a lighter duty version of 609 Retaining Compound, but should be quite adequate for the job, I think, if you can't get 609 or if you want an easier task to remove the wheel hub from the axle if you ever have to - which is most unlikely. (And if you have to, can be achieved using a gear puller. I have done it a couple of times.)
For protecting screws and bolts from coming loose from vibration, I use 222 Threadlocker Super Retaining Compount - which, contrary to the misleading name, is described just below the label as "low strength thread locker." It does the job well, and it's easy to undo the bolts and screws later if you ever have to. (I also keep a more powerful thread locker on hand at all times too, but I don't use it for the wheelchair.)
What I have discovered with Loctite over the years is that occasionally they change their product range, so you may find that the two products I've cited above have been superceded with others when you go to buy them.
Falco.
User avatar
falco peregrinus
 
Posts: 445
Joined: 16 Sep 2013, 11:19
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Dabs1971 » 29 Oct 2017, 18:33

Burgerman wrote:Outdoors?

Look for larger wheels, suspension, 70Ah (or better) batteries, 10 inch casters, 6mph minimum.


I am using this very chair ATM as my other one died and I hate it! It feels flimsy when I'm in it and it's uncomfortable on pavement. So when you say 70AH batteries do you mean chairs that use 2x35amp batteries or more? There is not a lot of choice really about. I understand your frustration at the powerchair manufacturers and why you build your own. If only you did YouTube videos on how to build a bm3 I think you would be onto a winner! Do you actually build for others or just for yourself? It would probably be out of my price range but maybe if I win the lottery, and you did make them to sell you would be first on my list of to do's.
Dabs1971
 
Posts: 5
Joined: 27 Oct 2017, 14:25

Re: Can anyone review the Wheeltech Energi Enigma Wheelchair

Postby Burgerman » 29 Oct 2017, 23:22

Most non folding proper indoor/OUTDOOR capable chairs use group 24 batteries. Thats 2x 12V lead 70 to 80Ah batteries. At around 55lb each. Thats what it takes to have a sensible outdoor range, stability, and 6 or 7 mph.

Anything with smaller batteries is an INDOOR/outdoor chair, so OK in shopping centres and if you dont go too far or see many curb cuts, hills, etc. These usually have no suspension and smaller casters etc too. They generally also look a bit spindlyer, and use 2 pole weaker motors and may be 4 or 5mph max speed, lower power controller.
User avatar
Burgerman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45261
Joined: 27 May 2008, 21:24
Location: United Kingdom


Return to Powerchair Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

 

  eXTReMe Tracker