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Thread: So you are thinking about using a ZX-1, SmartDrive, or Firefly on a TiLite chair...

  1. #1

    So you are thinking about using a ZX-1, SmartDrive, or Firefly on a TiLite chair...

    We now have 3 innovative "on-demand" power add-on systems available that can provide the benefits of power on an ultralight manual wheelchair only in situations when it is needed. Of course, I am referring to the Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly, and Max-Mobility SmartDrive.

    Provided the chair has a compatible configuration, these systems can be quickly installed, provide power when power is needed, yet can be easily removed from the chair when it is not. They will not change the handling characteristics of the an optimally configured chair when they are not in use.

    While I have no doubt that these are soundly engineered products, it is reasonable to assume that adding power to a chair that has been configured for efficient manual propulsion will subject that chair to different forces as it moves through the environment.

    These forces should be taken into account in the chair's configuration, but what things need to be considered?

    Until these products have been used routinely in real-world conditions by a variety of users, I don't think anybody really knows for certain (not even the respective manufacturers).

    There has already been some confusion about the power adaptable frame option and camber tubes. There will no doubt be more controversy in the months ahead as people begin to use these products, think about purchasing them, or think about getting a new chair.

    I won't pretend to have the answers to many of these questions, but I figured it would be beneficial to start a thread (albeit one that has a fairly provocative title) for these issues to brought up, discussed, identified, clarified, and verified in one location. That way, users, potential users, and hopefully manufacturers will be able to share information with one another.

    Only time will tell what these questions and answers may be.
    Last edited by SCI_OTR; 06-05-2013 at 01:05 AM.


  2. #2

    Power Adaptable Aluminum Camber Tube

    A repost from Mac85's thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Mac85 View Post
    My camber tube looks thicker than the usual camber tubes on other wheelchairs, Since I Just bought the ZX1 I am wondering if I should just take the old emotion brackets off and buy a regular size Camber tube.
    By the way my wheelchair width is 19 inches x 18
    This is what the TiLite Power Adaptable Camber Tube looks like. No camber plugs are provided.



    It is basically a semi-finished length of aluminum tubing that has the same outer diameter as other TiLite camber tubes, but has thicker walls...



    The E-Motion adapters and brackets are clamped onto each end of the tube...



    Regular camber plugs can not be installed in this type of camber tube.

    TiLite developed this option when E-Fix and E-Motion wheels were the only options for adding power to a TiLite chair. Now that there are additional power options like the SmartDrive and ZX-1, that is no longer the case. If you are told you need to order a power adaptable frame but you intend to use one of the other products, make sure TiLite knows which one you intend to use. Otherwise, you may have to buy another camber tube before you will be able to use your new chair.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    And this thread is limited to Tilite chairs because....????

    (Or is that why you made reference to a "fairly provocative title"?)
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  4. #4
    Great subject OTR. I've been using the ZX for close to two years now. I don't go far distances or off the property much but do take it thru gravel and uneven, gopher holed, dog shit grass.

    The rear wheels are off the ground by approx. 1/2" when the ZX is attached with the two big motors and wheels, it'll plow thru anywhere. With the Freewheel attached to the front, I haven't found anything I can't go thru, even light snow.

    the Zx does have some challenge going thru very loose gravel. It's just a matter of unhooking and pulling the ZX out/

    For me, it was one of the better investments I've made for my disability. It really saves the shoulders and is wonderful being able to power somewhere, disconnecting and being in full manual mode. No batteries to attach and detach nor special camber bars to retrofit the chair.

  5. #5
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    FINALLY! Someone spoke up about "won't change configuration..." BS! I am no genius on this thing BUT that has to be the worse BS sales pitch especially already to a person injured. Maybe if it is some kind of wireless device that controls your brain and the chair it may be true. Does it weigh 0 (zero) installed or not installed? Let's get real. How much does battery weigh? Try adding that much to your chair and push it around. Tell me how soon your arms are ready to adapt to that kind of weight change. And yes, I assume they try to mount weight change closest to rear axle to reduce your front-back balance change. I'd love to see what they sell you or make you sign so they are not legally responsible for an injury when using one of these things. I totally agree with SCI if I read it correctly.

  6. #6
    Senior Member McDuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    Great subject OTR. I've been using the ZX for close to two years now. I don't go far distances or off the property much but do take it thru gravel and uneven, gopher holed, dog shit grass.

    The rear wheels are off the ground by approx. 1/2" when the ZX is attached with the two big motors and wheels, it'll plow thru anywhere. With the Freewheel attached to the front, I haven't found anything I can't go thru, even light snow.

    the Zx does have some challenge going thru very loose gravel. It's just a matter of unhooking and pulling the ZX out/

    For me, it was one of the better investments I've made for my disability. It really saves the shoulders and is wonderful being able to power somewhere, disconnecting and being in full manual mode. No batteries to attach and detach nor special camber bars to retrofit the chair.
    So, is all 4 wheels of your chair off the ground when you use the ZX1 and FreeWheel? Sounds like it, since the FreeWheel lifts casters off and you say the ZX1 lifts your rear wheels off. Seems like it would be a weird ride feel. This would also put all kinds of different stress points to the frame.
    "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

  7. #7
    Yes, all four wheels are off the ground. I guess it would have some stress points but so far so good. Actually feels really smooth. I don't use the combo that often.

    I'm using a Titanium frame and camber bar.

  8. #8
    If anybody is worried about the pressure of having all four wheels off the ground remember, with the ZX1 it still works fine if the rear wheels are still rolling on the ground. As long as it is clamped on it works.
    Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
    Pete C6/'97

  9. #9
    Going on 4 punishing years with the same standard TiLite ZR and ZX1 used daily with absolutely no damage to the frame or camber tube, not even a loose bolt. The clamshell attaches firmly yet allows the manual chair to rotate into a "wheelie" when the front casters meet resistance so there is not much more force put on the frame than with manual wheeling. I wouldn't recommend driving into a brick wall but the standard TiLite titanium chairs are built plenty strong enough for use with the ZX1.

  10. #10
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattherat View Post
    Going on 4 punishing years with the same standard TiLite ZR and ZX1 used daily with absolutely no damage to the frame or camber tube, not even a loose bolt. The clamshell attaches firmly yet allows the manual chair to rotate into a "wheelie" when the front casters meet resistance so there is not much more force put on the frame than with manual wheeling. I wouldn't recommend driving into a brick wall but the standard TiLite titanium chairs are built plenty strong enough for use with the ZX1.
    Pat, thanks for saying that. By the way different thread but, your original ZX-1, the one you ride with, what is the max speed? I could swear I remember that the speed was much higher before Spinergy got involved. With the initial speed, I considered the ZX-1 an option.

    SCI_OTR I have talked with Tilite about the power add-on upgrade and they said it was the manufacturer, talking about SmartDrive here, that wanted the aluminum camber tube. I'll never know all the what if's and what's real about the chairs I use but I appreciate you starting the discussion. I have been wanting to get a new chair and the SmartDrive at the same time. Financially it's just a puzzle I can't solve right now but that doesn't mean I won't :-) I love that all this great stuff is coming out. I'll say it once again, my D's Locks changed my wheeling life. Thank you Steve Holub.

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