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PINNED - Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration List!

Postby Burgerman » 04 Jan 2016, 04:09

Which powerchairs are available in the UK & same for the US, that ticks all the boxes? A typical indoor/OUTDOOR user's wants, needs & essentials parameters? We need a shortlist. I get lots of emails asking me, "which chair"? A sticky thread is needed.

We usually need a shortlist with following options as a BASIC minimum for a decent indoor/OUTDOOR type chair:
- min of 100A or 120A control system.
- min grp 24 battery.
- rear drive preferred for outdoors, with a few notable acceptions that are not rear drive!
- rehab seating options
- high speed options. 6mph bare minimum.
- 4 pole motors or brushless if possible!
- Must use a control system that we can easily get hold of a programmer for. A major independent supplier rather than wheelchair own brands.

Examples:
GOOD EXAMPLE: the Sunrise Quickie Salsa R2 http://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered ... s/salsa-r2 which is really a new groove... NEW 2018 Replaced with viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8305

Heres my 2017 Salsa as an example, with a set of wheels and a few minor custom mods to tidy it up as explained here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7455&start=600#p122818

Or my moded 2020 Q700R chair here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10467&p=171033#p171026
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10062

Recent addition the DIETZ chairs,
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9873&p=160224#p160224 read carefully! 2020.

&
FAIL EXAMPLE: I really like the suspension and setup of the Permobil C350. But they blew it by making it only take small batteries, and so in turn have limited its speed option. It also makes it hard to move to lithium because of the dimensions of the battery space. http://www.permobil.com/en-GB/English/C ... 50-Corpus/



************************************************************************************************************
THE LIST STARTS HERE!
************************************************************************************************************
REAR DRIVE Indoor/OUTDOOR:
0. Added Aug 2020. Seems to tick every box, and cheap. My next chair! Take a read here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9873&p=160224#p160224
1. Sunrise Quickie Salsa R2 -- http://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered ... s/salsa-r2 which is really a new groove.
2. Magic Mobility V4 rear drive, off road or grass snow capable but its about 28.5 inches wide - measured. http://www.magicmobility.com.au/wheelch ... 4-offroad/ in the US, Magic Mobility (actually, their US distributor Innovation in Motion - http://www.mobility-usa.com) has consolidated most of the range under the V6 model designation.
3. Rear drive puma 40 http://www.handicare.co.uk/products/mob ... 9288/p-107 Lots of options. And the Alex, with all 4 wheel suspension.
4. - Sunrise Medical (http://www.sunrisemedical.com) Quickie S636/S646 SE models.
5. - Invacare (http://www.invacare.com) Storm 3G Ranger X.
6. - 21st Century Scientific (http://www.wheelchairs.com) Bounder H-Frame.
7. - Invacare Kite now has a 4 pole option. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6219&p=87735#p87735

MID DRIVE:
1. Magic Mobility X5 and now the newer version V6 but be warned, these are too wide for some doors, feel a bit tank like. But work well OUTDOORS. http://www.magicmobility.com.au/wheelch ... l-terrain/ in the US, Magic Mobility (actually, their US distributor Innovation in Motion - http://www.mobility-usa.com) has consolidated most of the range under the V6 model designation.
2.?

FRONT DRIVE:
1. The Permobil F5. About the only front drive chair I would look at. http://www.permobil.com/en-GB/English/C/Products/F5/
2. Magic mobility V4 FWD off road but again its very wide: http://www.magicmobility.com.au/wheelch ... elchair-2/ in the US, Magic Mobility (actually, their US distributor Innovation in Motion - http://www.mobility-usa.com) has consolidated most of the range under the V6 model designation.
3. Front drive puma 40 s line (with gyro) http://www.handicare.co.uk/products/mob ... 9288/p-107 Again many options.
4. ?

CHILDRENS POWERCHAIRS?
1. http://www.permobil.com/en-GB/English/C ... -Miniflex/ However these all seem far too big for the child that sits in the middle surrounded by a huge chair that dwarfs them! This is still 585mm wide and quite large for a child 40Ah lead batteries, but not as bad as some. Any suggestions?
2. ?

TRAVEL (Powerchair/Scooter):
1. Travel Scoot (lithium) - not a powerchair but it works! http://www.travelscoot.com/
2. Foldawheel PW-1000XL http://www.wheelchair88.com/


Feel free to suggest more!
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The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 04 Jan 2016, 14:28

FRONT, REAR, MID DRIVE -- THE DIFFERENCE!

A quick description so people that are new to all this get the idea faster!


REAR DRIVE
Stock ones can be far too nose heavy, and are difficult indoors partly because of this. So it has to be said that most STOCK rear drive chairs handle terribly! Make all efforts to move the seat back a bit! And reprogram. It transforms them. This costs you in stability when accelerating, as it will wheelie or tip you out on an uphill ramp more easily. So better suited to Paraplegics or sporty types if modified in this way. Allows more control.

These usually have (in Europe at least) larger 9.5 to 10 inch (and 3 inch wide) pneumatic casters tyres at the front. Those ride our streets and any grass, or tracks or outdoor surfaces, really well. And are smoother altogether outdoors than a mid drive 6 wheel chair with smaller caster wheels. Caster tyre size and section matter. They are less likely to sink on softer stuff too.

And rear drive chairs are naturally directionally stable. They WANT to go straight, so are the best option for faster chairs. When buying look at OVERALL LENGTH of a chair rather than the advertised turning circle which is pretty much meaningless. And compare that figure. Rear drive chairs usually have suspension (or wide larger section profile tyres at low pressures) and so these also give a smoother outdoor ride. Because you are sat over these drive wheels with much of your weight on them. Some now have front AND rear suspension.

CENTRE DRIVE
6 wheel, mid drive chairs actually have NO suspension on the main drive wheels you are sitting over. Meaning you suffer every jolt. The springs you see are actually for the front and rear caster arms only, and not for ride comfort. They exist to "spring" the front arms down into the ground, and stop you falling forwards. They reduce drive wheel traction at the same time. These are less good outdoors because there are now 6 smaller caster wheels that are less capable over our rough pavement, and struggle every time they meet a paving slab or bit of rough ground that's an inch or so out of true. (The larger 10 inch pneumatic casters used on rear drive powerchairs do not even notice these same bumps). These chairs are more for indoor/shopping centre or smooth outdoor areas than outdoors proper. Most are out of their depth in the real outdoors.

In addition the rear caster wheels stick out behind you and can be problematic, hitting furniture and peoples feet in confined spaces like lifts or busy bars etc. And you cannot see to prevent it. They can be good for manoeuvrability in a small house when turning into tight doorways for eg. And so mid drive chairs are better suited to indoor use than outdoor unless its smooth and flat. There are exceptions, like the X5 for eg. Its great outdoors. But too wide for indoors! Normal mid drive chairs are not really ideal for the adventurous types that get out and about a lot. Directional stability is neutral, and so faster ones are OK if your teeth don't fall out.

FRONT DRIVE
Curbs, and getting close to things easily, and standing chairs are where most traditionally were used. They were only really safe at low speeds as front drive rear caster chairs are naturally directionally unstable. 4 mph and they start to fish tail, and steering can become difficult. Modern incarnations now add an electronic gyro into the mix, meaning up to 7 mph becomes acceptable. (E.G. The Permobil F5 and the front drive Handicare Puma 40 can both have gyro stability. And this makes it useable on a grippy surface where it now steers "properly" up to a point. You cant actually defeat the physics that is going on behind the scenes, so try doing 7mph on a slippery surface like an icy footpath, or wet grass and it will spin around and face backwards regardless...
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 04 Jan 2016, 17:04

Feel free to suggest more!

Rover220 suggested:
Rear drive puma 40..
Front drive puma 40 s line (with gyro)

Now added.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Irving » 04 Jan 2016, 17:51

Maybe add a 'typical buying price'? I know its difficult to generalise but an outdoor chair needs lights, larger battery options, maybe add centre footrest option if available, 10" castor/14" drive tyre where an option, etc. Even without seat tilt/riser/rehab options its clear the Puma 40 is getting on for 3x the price of the Salsa when kitted out with 'must have' options.
C5/6 A (complete)
Puma 40, 75Ah LiFePO4 (pic is on tour @ Whistler, BC)
Puma 40 backup, 73Ah MK (for now)
Spectra Plus (weedy 40Ah MK)
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 04 Jan 2016, 18:57

I would do that. But there are so many variables, and also so many negotiable prices that its all but impossible. I think the sensible way would be for each user to price their important options and preferences individually. Or I would need to download a complex order form with hundreds of prices and choices for each chair. For eg some chairs cant use the larger batteries with some options. And lighting modules are included with faster motor options, and the ALM needed is already paid for with fancy seating or and upgrade to r-net is part of the seating package. And then there's keeping it all up to date. Time flies. And then discounts...
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 05 Jan 2016, 00:51

Here in the US, Magic Mobility (actually, their US distributor Innovation in Motion - www.mobility-usa.com) has consolidated most of the range under the V6 model designation. I just finished a lengthy and frustrating email exchange with several members of their customer service team, who insisted that the V4 doesn't exist, despite my sending them links to pages/videos describing the product. Finally, one slightly brighter than average spark bothered to call Australia and managed to clear things up. The gist is that, in the US, the V6 comes in rear, mid and FWD configurations. You can also swap the offroad drive tyres for indoor ones pretty easily (they provide a spiffy little hand jack for the purpose), making it much more tractable indoors.

Other chairs I've liked in my ongoing search are

- Sunrise Medical (www.sunrisemedical.com) Quickie S636/S646 SE models.
- Invacare (www.invacare.com) Storm 3G Ranger X.
- 21st Century Scientific (www.wheelchairs.com) Bounder H-Frame.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 05 Jan 2016, 02:26

The V4/V6 Looks mighty odd when the casters are wider set than the drive wheels though... And it makes no sense. Its like that only because people complained it was too wide for indoors, so the offered some skinny wheels as well. If you plan on the skinny wheels you would be better off with a different chair.

What they SHOULD offer is a set of these: download/file.php?id=4202&mode=view

That would save 1 inch each side and so end up same width as the casters so it doesn't look silly, and 26 total width. Wonder how long it will take them to figure this out ? Indoor friendly, and still looking cool! And tubeless and better range.

I will add the others when sober! :)
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 05 Jan 2016, 02:40

For US users my vote goes to the Quickie 646SE with Qtronix (Pilot +) controller. Works well indoors and off pavement, and they are reliable.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 05 Jan 2016, 03:46

rustyjames wrote:For US users my vote goes to the Quickie 646SE with Qtronix (Pilot +) controller. Works well indoors and off pavement, and they are reliable.


I'm seriously considering this model. Do you know if they do a version with a single footplate? I hate swingaways and the configurator doesn't seem to offer anything else.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby ex-Gooserider » 05 Jan 2016, 07:47

While not really good for doing a BM style conversion, for reasons posted elsewhere, I think the Sunrise / Quickie 6x6 chairs are about as good as it gets for a US 'out of the box' chair. At least some models can have the seat moved back, and it is mostly similar to an F-55 in general construction....

While the base models (I think) are only 4mph because of Medicaid coverage limitations, it is possible to upgrade to faster motor options if you throw enough money at them.... Can't get Pilot + on new chairs though as that series is 'discontinued' by P&G

I've also seen relatively positive things said about the many variations of the Invacare RWD Storm/Arrow/etc models, especially the ones w/ GB motors. Some of the Handicare models also look interesting though I don't know how easy they are to get....

The bad tendency that I'm seeing in the US chair world though seems to be that they are trying to make even the supposedly RWD models into 6-wheelers, allegedly because of those deity cursed regulators.... (BM doesn't believe in same, but hopefully a higher power than I hates the regulators as much as I do.... :twisted: )


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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: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 05 Jan 2016, 16:32

MenCallMeGimpy wrote:
rustyjames wrote:For US users my vote goes to the Quickie 646SE with Qtronix (Pilot +) controller. Works well indoors and off pavement, and they are reliable.


I'm seriously considering this model. Do you know if they do a version with a single footplate? I hate swingaways and the configurator doesn't seem to offer anything else.


I've never seen any with a single footplate, but I'm sure that something could be fabricated easily enough. I'm not crazy about the aesthetics of the swing away footrests but they work well for me, as do the armrests.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 05 Jan 2016, 16:37

"... Can't get Pilot + on new chairs though as that series is 'discontinued' by P&G..."

Although this is true there's lots of spare parts always available on eBay and other sources. And the best part is that with the WoodyGB cable :D, and Mr. BM :D helpfulness, they are easily programmable.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 05 Jan 2016, 16:38

"... Can't get Pilot + on new chairs though as that series is 'discontinued' by P&G..."

Although this is true there's lots of spare parts always available on eBay and other sources. And the best part is that with the WoodyGB cable :D, and Mr. BM :D helpfulness, they are easily programmable.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 05 Jan 2016, 16:38

MenCallMeGimpy wrote:
rustyjames wrote:For US users my vote goes to the Quickie 646SE with Qtronix (Pilot +) controller. Works well indoors and off pavement, and they are reliable.


I'm seriously considering this model. Do you know if they do a version with a single footplate? I hate swingaways and the configurator doesn't seem to offer anything else.


I've never seen any with a single footplate, but I'm sure that something could be fabricated easily enough. I'm not crazy about the aesthetics of the swing away footrests but they work well for me, as do the armrests.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 05 Jan 2016, 21:10

rustyjames wrote:I've never seen any with a single footplate, but I'm sure that something could be fabricated easily enough. I'm not crazy about the aesthetics of the swing away footrests but they work well for me, as do the armrests.


I'm actually swaying in the direction of the 222SE. It's got an 80° single foot plate option and a folding back (important to get the chair into the back of my van), while using the same 8.5mph motors.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 05 Jan 2016, 21:15

rustyjames wrote:"... Can't get Pilot + on new chairs though as that series is 'discontinued' by P&G..."

Although this is true there's lots of spare parts always available on eBay and other sources. And the best part is that with the WoodyGB cable :D, and Mr. BM :D helpfulness, they are easily programmable.


Southwest Medical sell an "R-Net PC Programmer with Dongle" for the 646SE. It's pretty pricey at $400. I've asked the vendor if this is a real-deal OEM programmer rather than a feeble dealer one. I'll report back what they say.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 06 Jan 2016, 00:20

Let me guess.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 06 Jan 2016, 03:47

I know the Li Polymer batteries are an issue, but I still really like my Foldawheel PW-1000XL travel chair. It does about 5.5mph and is very nimble with direct programming. I get a genuine 18-20 mile range with a full load of three batteries. It's still solid and new looking after a year.

It's sold by Wheelchair88 (www.wheelchair88.com).
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 06 Jan 2016, 23:47

Burgerman wrote:Let me guess.


Yep, it's the effing dealer dongle. They gave me the old, "This is the only dongle that exists. What is this "OEM" dongle of which you speak? 'Tis but a unicorn!"

So, that being the case, have you got any hints on how I may be able to procure said unicorn?
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 07 Jan 2016, 00:17

I've fired off a purchase enquiry to P&G, asking to buy one of their OEM programmers. Let's see what happens.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 07 Jan 2016, 00:52

I can tell you. But wait and see. They wont sell you one.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 07 Jan 2016, 01:15

Alternatively, there's these guys, but I have no idea how legit they are:

http://www.mobilityscooterpart.com/prod ... php?id=178

Also, no way to buy on the site, so it looks like I'll have to call Taiwan.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 07 Jan 2016, 01:41

MenCallMeGimpy wrote:
Burgerman wrote:Let me guess.


Yep, it's the effing dealer dongle. They gave me the old, "This is the only dongle that exists. What is this "OEM" dongle of which you speak? 'Tis but a unicorn!"

So, that being the case, have you got any hints on how I may be able to procure said unicorn?


That's why I mentioned going Pilot + control system.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby rustyjames » 07 Jan 2016, 01:45

Burgerman wrote:I can tell you. But wait and see. They wont sell you one.


That's what I think. I tried but they wouldn't sell to me either, even after explaining that I had various certifications in the automotive industry. I guess they though that I wasn't smart enough to program my chair.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby MenCallMeGimpy » 07 Jan 2016, 02:02

rustyjames wrote:
That's why I mentioned going Pilot + control system.


That was one of the reasons I was considering the P222SE, but when I asked about the advertised Qtronix controller, Southwest Medical told me that's a misprint on their site and they've switched to R-Net.
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Step » 07 Jan 2016, 12:52

The handicare (you-Q) Alex is an older chair that is, in my opinion, still a good alternative.
The RWD, normal base one that is, 10km/h version (6mph?), not the short base.
It has the same layout as the Puma 40. Meaning the front wheel 'track' is slightly narrower which limits how close the central footrest can be mounted to the frame.
Same motor-seat-controller options and easy (4 bolts) centre of gravity adjustment.
Available with central footrest... there's pics of mine on here somewhere.
Difference with Puma is that the Alex has suspension on the 4 wheels i.e. swing arms with rubber blocks thatt filter out vibrations quite well.
Puma only has rear suspension.
It's been a very good chair for me the past 5 years and I'm keeping it around for forest walks which it's brilliant for.
Switching to Puma RWD 12km/h soon though.

http://www.thelivingcentre.co.uk/handicare-alex-8-powerchair.html
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby Burgerman » 07 Jan 2016, 13:33

This list is for current chairs though. Is it one that's still available?

Obviously a good idea for a used one if people are looking for one and that read this far. I tried one, and quite good. Feels slightly disconcerting with a soft front though!
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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby steves1977uk » 07 Jan 2016, 14:44

The Alex would be a good alternative if you can find a near like new one for under £3000. Dave (dgt) was pleased with his after I reprogrammed it for him.

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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby steves1977uk » 07 Jan 2016, 14:54

MenCallMeGimpy wrote:Alternatively, there's these guys, but I have no idea how legit they are:

http://www.mobilityscooterpart.com/prod ... php?id=178

Also, no way to buy on the site, so it looks like I'll have to call Taiwan.


This is where I bought my OEM programmers from, it cost me about $900 for two OEM programmers minus the shipping costs.

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Re: The 'Powerchairs Worthy of Consideration' List!

Postby greybeard » 07 Jan 2016, 15:12

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