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Thread: power chairs built to last five years?

  1. #1
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    power chairs built to last five years?

    That's what I was told by a chair dealer. Power chairs are like modern appliances - not built to last for a long time. He said chair companines are required by law to keep parts for chair components (like controllers) for seven years after the model is introduced, but that doesn't always happen (as with the MK5 controller on my Invacare Storm, introduced five years ago, but for which I was lucky Invacare found a replacement.) What's your opinion on this?
    Alan

    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  2. #2
    I don't know if there is a conspiracy of planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in the wheelchair industry or not. A wheelchair's useful life, like that of appliances and cars depends a great deal on how it is used and cared for.

    I have a 13 year old Invacare Action Arrow Storm Series, gearless/brushless (GB) motors that I use as a "life boat" if I need a repair on my current chair. It is running well, works great and doesn't look its age. The only real problem I had with that chair is the armrests. Every 8-12 months they needed to be replaced because the structural plastic of the armrest, cracked and chipped, leaving sharp edges exposed. I never had any major problems during the ten years this chair was in service for which parts were unavailable.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    Most of them could last twice as long if they would just provide means to lubricate moving pivot points and use standard replaceable bearings. There is no reason they couldn't last 20 years with periodic maintenance like batteries, tires, motor brushes, and joystick. A spare parts kit of non-standard items could be included with new chairs at very little cost.

    The modern appliance analogy make no sense to me. I still expect a refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, etc. to last 10 years or more. What's disposable is electronics and small appliances because they cost so little to buy new.

    As for controllers, there is no reason for these to be proprietary. You should be able to buy these straight from P&G or Curtis. It's all made in China anyway so no reason for them to be so expensive. I'm surprised Chinese companies aren't selling knockoffs on ebay like everything else. It wouldn't take much for a company to make a business doing nothing but powerchair control systems. It's time for some innovation like wireless controllers and displays fully programmable by the user.
    Last edited by MSspouse; 10-20-2012 at 10:14 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSspouse View Post
    There is no reason they couldn't last 20 years with periodic maintenance like batteries, tiers, motor brushes, and joystick
    Agreed I posted on powerchair using group on facebook and was told the only way power chairs last 20 years is parked

    Quote Originally Posted by MSspouse View Post
    As for controllers, there is no reason for these to be proprietary. You should be able to buy these straight from P&G or Curtis. It's all made in China anyway so no reason for them to be so expensive. I'm surprised Chinese companies aren't selling knockoffs on ebay like everything else. It wouldn't take much for a company to make a business doing nothing but powerchair control systems. It's time for some innovation like wireless controllers and displays fully programmable by the user.
    Some companies don't ask me which 1s off the top of my head do sell programmers to end users.They sometimes come up on Ebay. Some dealers will sell a programmer to an end user

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    I have a 13 year old Invacare Action Arrow Storm Series, gearless/brushless (GB) motors that I use as a "life boat" if I need a repair on my current chair. It is running well, works great and doesn't look its age. The only real problem I had with that chair is the armrests. Every 8-12 months they needed to be replaced because the structural plastic of the armrest, cracked and chipped, leaving sharp edges exposed. I never had any major problems during the ten years this chair was in service for which parts were unavailable.

    All the best,
    GJ
    Similar comments for an old Invacare Torque. Arm rests are available cheap on eBay. They come in standard sizes and don't need to be the part number for your chair.
    T4 complete, 150 ft fall, 1966. Completely fused hips, partially fused knees and spine, heterotopic ossification. Unsuccessful DREZ surgery about 1990. Successful bladder augmentation using small intestine about 1992. Normal SCI IC UTI problems culminating in a hospital stay in 2001. No antibiotics or doctor visits for UTI since 2001: d-mannose. Your mileage may vary.

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