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Thread: .Permobil C500 w/ESP

  1. #1
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    .Permobil C500 w/ESP

    I have been waiting to do this but now is about time.

    I received a new Permobil C500 with ESP last June and I am very grateful to the VA and the Excelent OT who made sure that I had the best wheelchair that fit my disability and lifestyle.

    Now the facts. When we were adjusting the chair to fit my disabled self the day I picked it up, we noticed the elevator function was not working properly. It sounded like a gear in the actuator was partialy striped.
    When I arrived home I made an appointment and the PM rep came out and replaced the entire assembly. It has worked fine since.

    I was using the powerchair outside for a few weeks before the rep came out and noticed the batteries did not last as long as my other 4 powerchairs. I just thought that possibly the wrong batteries were installed or maybe there was also a power drain with the broken elevator. They would only go about 1/3 the distance of the previous 2 Group 24 batteries in my old chairs.
    The rep replaced the part, tested the electrical system and it was not up to standard. Thought bad cell or cells and made appt to replace batt. Returned with new batt but has not made a difference and my new power wheelchair can barely travel 3 or 4 miles on paved roads when my heavy Omegatrac and Frontier X5 can easily do 10 or 12.

    I never know when my power will fail. I go to bed and all the bars are lit. At noon I get in the chair, sit in front of computer until 5pm, change positions a few times but when time to move only 3 red bars are lit and shortly flashing almost dead. Power off 98% of time. Other electrical problems also.

    November I hear noise like rocks in hubcap. Neighbor helps remove cap and we find the single screw that holds the wheel assembly on with the head broken off. Noticed wheel had began to slide off and immedialely switched chairs. Disaster barely averted. I do not like that only a single screw holds the wheel on the chair. The heavyweight version has a much better design.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 01-27-2013 at 09:10 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Permobil has been very helpfull to me and has done what they could to fix the problems as fast as possible. I live far out in a very rural area and this obviously causes problems when the rep must come out, especialy in winter. I am absolutely sure that things will work out but folks do need to understand that some of these very complicated power wheelchair systems can be difficult to design and assemble.

    I was always a simple is best type and never even had air conditioning or power windows in my truck. But unfortunately folks like me now require power everything to try and live the best we can with the cards we were dealt. I still believe Permobil manufacturers one of the best chairs on the market but everything can not be perfect al the time. When the weather breaks I am positive I will be truckin down the road again and the C500 can go very fast with very good control. No so with most powerchairs.

    I just have to get wider more aggressive tires on the beast.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  3. #3
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    This chair continues to have more problems every week. For the last couple of months, the power in the fully charged powerchair will only last about 12 hours and thats with sitting in front of a computer all day with everything turned off. Doubt it will even go around the corner.
    Today the pin that locks the armrest broke again. Thats number 4. I desperately need the arm to position myself in the chair as I tilt over because of the HO in my hip. Miserable day because of this faulty chair.

    Again today, I begin showing a warning block flashing in the window of my controller with a large yellow triangle and a code 7F00 in the right top corner. It has a couple different letters reading PM and JSM plus BAD CABLE. Another critical part failure. What part or function will go next? Sometimes the turn signal will go on for no reason and it does not show on the controller, occasionally the flashers.
    Can only wait until this very expensive powerchair leaves me stranded somewhere. I used to enjoy going outside for an hour or so on nice days even when it's cold but sunny. NO MORE, I wouldn't dare. I mean look, the entire wheel assembly almost fell off on me.

    Hopefully this potentially wonderfull power wheelcchair will be replaced as soon as possible. It has been a long 9 months dealing with this. Spring is almost here and we sometimes have a warm and dry, partially sunny March. After 3 months inside with only one trip outside the entire time because of this faulty wheelchair, Spring is usually the time that life gets a little better for us crips. A short roll down the block on a beautifull sunny day can mean everything. I'm can only wish my time comes soon.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 03-01-2013 at 09:34 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  4. #4
    Senior Member ChesBay's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear you are going through all of this.

    You may want to document and keep the PA "Lemon Law" in mind if Permobil doesn't make things right.

    http://www.resnaprojects.org/nattap/...lemonover.html

    Wishing you the best,
    Ches

  5. #5
    I agree. It sounds like you really have a "lemon" claim there. I would give Permobil a warning and a deadline for replacement. Your quality of life is being eroded and your wellbeing is jeopardized. Also, make sure they know you are reporting all this online. I suppose some of this could be the DME's fault if he had much assembly to do when he got it. My impression that the chairs are pretty much assembled when they arrive at the DME. Permobil can make good chairs. They fell way short on yours.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
    http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

    See my personal webpage @
    http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

  6. #6
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    After 2 years with my 2010 Permobil C400 LEMON, Permobil finally replaced it. I had only used it for a handful of days during that 2 year period because of all the problems and months and months in the shop. Luckily my old 2001 Chairman Entra still works, so I haven't been stranded (yet). I'm still not happy with the new C400 as the seat to floor height is taller than what they promised, so back to the shop it goes to see if they can lower it. Arghh! Now I'm on year 3 of this nightmare. Wonder if I will ever get to ride in the new chair. . .

    There are major problems with the Permobil joystick & cables, which were made by PG Drives Technology (I've posted about this before). They cheaped out on the cables and made them too thin. So they break all the time and you get the BAD CABLE ERROR. I was just told by the Permobil rep that PG Drives Technology has recently been sold to Curtis. So the problem has just been passed on to a new company. Permobil admits they have no solution, even though there are many complaints.

    I hope you can insist on them replacing your lemon chair as soon as possible so you don't go through what I did. Still doesn't solve the bad cables, but at least those are quick to change out.

  7. #7
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Yesterday the chair died completely. We tried the circuit breaker but did not work. Hopefully it is the bad cable because of the warning block in the controller window for the last few days but with the electricial system so screwed up even replacing the cable may not help.

    Will call rep tomorrow but he is no longer very helpfull dealing with the large number of problems this chair has already exibited and of course will continue until replaced.

    This must have been assembled on a Friday afternoon or a Monday morning. Unfortunately this is no time to make fun though, as a C5/6 Complete quad, I am so dependant upon this powerchair and to live with it on the brink of failure constantly is very frightening and should not have happened to a wheelchair of this quality.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Senior Member Wesley's Avatar
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    boy, does this sound like a nightmare! I am in the process of getting my Omegatrac replaced by a C500! I guess it was the logical choice for those of us used to our tanks. The one good thing about that wheelchair was that they are relatively simple electrically. The Permobile sounds like it is well beyond the abilities of any amateur mechanic. I have kept my omegatrac going for 13 years and over 2500 hours with the help of a few friends.

    I guess it really is true that there are no reliable heavy duty wheelchairs made these days. Hopefully, your experiences are an anomaly and they replace your lemon with a dependable chair.

  9. #9
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Right on Wesley. Big disapointment replacing a wonderful, no problem go everywhere powerchair with a very expensive, highly prone to failure, stuck on wet grass, imported chair. Not only has this C500 caused me boo-coo problems, it may of almost did me in. Hard to believe that the wheel is only attached by one screw. Wes, you may want to find out what happens to me before pulling the trigger on ordering one.

    Wesley, at least if you do order one, get more agressive tires. Can not go anywhere with standard ones.

    Found out today that the C500 has 3 separate cables, one of which is like 6 foot long and as you may suspect, very difficult to service. Rep is gone for week so who knows when chair may be repaired.

    I guess I am going to get back in contact with MTS Omegatrac and see about ordering a new one. Was worried about customer service so decided to go with the 500. Got good service so far but what's it really worth if a chair appears untrustworthy. Tried to get nephew to work on steering motor but typicial lazy bum. I really do need a front wheel drive powerchair that will at the least, go places without a solid surface. After 7 years with the extremely dependable Omegatrac, things are not good right now and it sucks, big time.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 03-04-2013 at 08:05 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  10. #10
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    My 2001 Permobil Entra has been the best chair ever. Still going strong, except it will be hard to find replacement parts soon. Permobil used to be the top of the line as far as quality and dependability. What in the world happened?!!!!!!!!

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