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John Williamson

My HIGHLY MODIFIED Powerchair Timeline & versions

Mk1 | Mk2 | Mk3 versions

Since 1996 after my accident left me paralysed I have gradually been both modifying my F55s powerchair and have got to the point where there is so little of the original left that its really a total re-design. When I acquired it it was the best powerchair currently available, which means it was pretty crap like all stock power wheelchairs!

Here is a list of many of the modifications and changes I made over the years. And links to the info!

These were ongoing on a continual basis over a period on 3 different powerchair builds. The big changes happened in three "versions"...

STOCK F55s Powerchair  >




Prior mods to a stock powerchair, before TOTAL redesign / rebuild Mk1 | Mk2 | Mk3

  • Day one (an hour after delivery) cut off those awful swing away footrests as they hit every doorway and obstacle as these type of footplates always do. And replaced it with a small single central one. Also disposed of the useless curb climber...
  • Moved the seat rearwards on custom mountings since there was no control and the thing was still way too long and hugely nose heavy like all stock RWD powerchairs.
  • Bullied P and G into selling me an engineering level Programmer to attempt to get some sort of steering to work! That made it hugely better.
  • Replaced the controller with a 100 Amp unit as it was obvious its stock 80 amp one cant cope.
  • Replaced the Gel batteries with Optima AGMs as they were useless under any heavy loads.  Later replaced with Odyssey PC 1500 DT ones
  • Removed the front lights since they just add weight and get in the way.
  • Removed the 1 inch thick side plates on the arms as they make you sweat, stop you getting at your pockets and this allows the arms to be moved inboard by 1 inch each side making the the whole chair 2 inches narrower.
  • Moved the arm tops inboard by another inch each side by using an existing row of holes. Saving another inch each side. Now its a total of 4 inches narrower!
  • Moved the "pod" mounting to the inside of the arm so it didn't stick out beyond the arm. Saving a further inch and making it far more comfortable.

OK so now it was shorter, narrower, did wheelies was more manoeuvrable and usable! I had it about 1 month. Woohoo!

18 months (and a set of motors and batteries) and about 30 punctures on both front and rear tyres later, I decided it had to stop.

Well most of these punctures were in the rear tyres since there was no longer any weight over the front end so they were almost immune....

MK1 version  many detailed pages -- incorporated all of the above changes and was totally rebuilt + all of the changes in the next section below:

ultimate power wheelchair

  • I fitted "trailer" wheels on the rear with tubeless 4 ply very strong scooter tyres. Tubeless don't really suffer punctures much and don't give that harsh ride I hate. And I added LOTS of off road puncture seal for good measure! I have not has a single puncture in my powerchairs since, that stopped me getting home.
  • Stripped and powder coated everything, Without exception. Every metal part other than bolts and bearings
  • Every single bearing, bolt etc replaced with stainless steel including spacers...
  • Fitted new latest spec 4 pole motors as they are hugely improved.
  • Fitted Odyssey PC 1500 AGM batteries since they are hugely superior and fit!
  • Shortened push handles
  • Smaller "skate" anti tip wheels to keep them out of the way.
  • Fitted tilt seat actuator.

So now its shorter, more powerful, narrower, has better stronger tubeless tyres, and is built to last with all corrosion proof parts and nothing that can rust. better batteries and motors and fast charge capable. And its almost impossible to get a puncture.

And it looks better! But I am still not happy as like all powerchairs they are truly out of their depth outdoors... Suspension is a joke. By the marketing department. Its simply ineffective on powerchairs. And I want a smooth ride. And off road ability, as well as sand and snow. So time for the next rather major incarnation:

MK2 Version  includes all of the above. As well as the following...


  • Batteries turned around the other way (longitudinally) to allow fat all terrain smooth riding tyres to be fitted with no overall width increase. Still 25.25 inches. A major engineering feat! Full sized group 24 battery capability had to be retained.
  • Rear anti tip bars relocated inboard, and shortened by 2.5 inches.
  • Wheelbase shortened by 1.5 inches. 
  • Complete chair now 3 inches shorter again at under 40 inches including footplate.
  • Ride height adjustable
  • Added a split charging system so that it now charges fast at home at 30 amps, or at up to 100 amps inside any vehicle direct from the cars alternator. Charging typically takes under an hour to 90 percent at home and faster still in/from a car.



I now have the shortest and narrowest, and most controllable powerchair that is possible and is much better than anything commercially available. It is sand and snow capable, almost impossible to puncture, will not corrode, has fast charge capability, full sized batteries and all day range. It does 6 mph. That's not fast enough for me! I need double that. So with that in mind version 3 is just starting!

Mk3 Version - Under construction... AS OF NOW!!!

This will look basically the same. But will be shorter, Lithium batteries (36v) and use 8.5mph Quickie Groove motors. These will give 15 mph on 47v. A Roboteq Controller will be used as it gives 150 amps per channel @ 47 volts... Meaning masses more power/torque and speed than any powerchair available...

See Mk3 pages for details...





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