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Thread: Smartdrive for weak or one arm

  1. #1

    Smartdrive for weak or one arm

    I am a double leg + one arm amputee using folding chair with one arm dual rim drive. My experience might be relevant for others who have less-than-para strength.

    I had a loan of the SD for a week and think I'll get one but as the battery doesn't fit attached under the seat I need a solution to attach there. The battery was hung on the backrest push handles and the weight behind me is a problem and I think it puts undue stress on the backrest poles and the folding hinges. A friend has a fixed frame and the crossbar stops the battery fitting so the same solution would be necessary for him.

    Also, as a fail safe for a button malfunction is to pull the battery cable, this is not possible with battery behind.

    Features that I think are necessary for the device to give optimal assistance:

    1. A brake function. The added weight made it difficult to control the chair on steep declines (motor off of course). Hills I would sail down confidently and safely became hard on my hand and arm.

    2. A button press to boost the speed increment. On a steeper hill I could not give enough push to kick it up.

    3. A sensor to identify the change from up to downhill in outdoor mode, and slows or shuts off the motor. Pressing the button to halt outdoor mode has to be timed precisely at a sharp change. An example is a steep rise before a kerb ramp ... I stopped the drive before the top of the rise then couldn't push to get it going again. As in #2 a button press to give a short boost would have worked.

    4. A less sensitive indoor mode. In an open space that has changes in gradient or surface like a ramp or hard to thick carpet it sensed as braking so stops the motor. Also holding the push rim to change direction stops the motor.

    5. A constant speed mode. This is for example crossing a road. Going down a kerb ramp kicks up the speed to more than necessary and safe but the drive is needed for the rise of a cambered road. Then the fall to a kerb ramp needed button presses.

    Some or all of these might be in future releases of the drive. I'll be paying attention to developments.

  2. #2
    FWIW, I'll make some comments.
    1. I'd think the drag of the motor would offset the weight. I absolutely do notice the motor behind my chair when it is not pushing as my 3D Quickie chair is very easy to push.
    2. The software was setup that way at one time, I liked it too.
    3. Modifying the switch to a better type helped me.
    4. Instead of brake steering, I push the opposite side rim, that way the motor does not sense any braking. That would work for you half the time if I understand your situation.
    5. I usually use indoor mode everywhere, but yesterday decided to kick ass now that I can control it again. I'll be honest, I pulled the plug to stop when I got to my van parked on the street. This thing rocks and takes some practice.

    I don't understand why the battery does not fit under the seat of a folding chair.
    What chair do you have?
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    I'm a ZX1 user. Tried the SmartDrive for 3 weeks, about 2 years ago. I know there have been improvements since then, but I did have trouble stopping it with 2 hands on wheelchair push rims. I think they have improved things. In your situation if a quick stop was needed, would the stop button be enough or would you grab the dual push rim?
    I went with the zx1 as I needed more help, including reverse for tight spots where I needed to back up. Also, I have a van with a lift - the ZX1 weighs about 60 or 70 pounds. I really love it as it has expanded my ability to function outdoors. Got snow tires and it zips through one or two inches. I don't use it indoors - I sit in rigid chair.

  4. #4
    Triumph, the ZX1 and similar are too heavy as I take my chair in the car independently. Likewise other power options, which anyway aren't applicable to one-arm drive, and also stay on the chair ... I like the manual-only in a lot of situations.

    Nonoise,

    1. The weight on the level is noticeable but the chair is maneuverable turning etc OK until the motor kicks in.
    2. Hmmm. I wonder why the took it away!
    3. The switch type is no problem, I just want a second or third one with the other (missing) functions.
    4. With the one-arm drive turning other than a curve (for me) requires a bit of firm gripping of one of the double rims and pulling backwards on one of them for a tighter turn.
    Unnumbered, now 6. The top V of the folding crossbrace is in the way of the battery sliding all the way back. The same is true of my friend's fixed chair as space between his camber bar and the seat is too narrow for the battery to fit.

  5. #5
    2. Software and hardware changes, upgrades have been made in response to customer requests. Originally there was only one button which was mounted, fixed to the battery and only one mode, comparable to the indoor mode.
    4. You need to slow down for a tight turn anyway. I was talking about long sweeping turns.
    5. What is number 5?
    6. I have two Quickie 2's that I tried the battery on. The battery fits, slides all the way back. But it does rest on the V cross member as you mention when I sit on the cushion. I don't know how serious an issue it would be. My slings are both very loose. How about your's? Did you know they are adjustible?
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  6. #6
    5 was constant speed. No further comment needed. Although now you mention it indoor mode didn't like the changes in gradient.

    6. The seat isn't too saggy and I can tighten it. Still the V is too tight. I have an idea to overcome that which I'm going to work through with the supplier.

  7. #7
    I was told by rep at show that SD could be hung by slip-on bracket from chair sling, or hung with its own sling attached to seat sides. With a solid seat, I think the latter is only possibility. Might it work for folding chair also? Then length of SD sits crosswise. Not sure what that does to emergency access to battery cable.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by WaveWolf View Post
    I was told by rep at show that SD could be hung by slip-on bracket from chair sling, or hung with its own sling attached to seat sides. With a solid seat, I think the latter is only possibility. Might it work for folding chair also? Then length of SD sits crosswise. Not sure what that does to emergency access to battery cable.
    I think I understand your question. It's not likely you can put the battery crosswise unless your chair is wide. It is 15 inches long with wires sticking out both ends. Build or find a cardboard box 15x6x2 inches square and see where you can fit it remembering it weighs about 10 pounds.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  9. #9
    Thanks for responding! Yes, you'd have to have a pretty wide chair to accommodate. Mine is a 16" seat, which means 13.5" between seat bars--not enough for what I said. I think sling is meant to be attached to seat side bars to suspend battery in normal front-to-back position. I always forget to quote the person I am replying to, who needed to attach battery to Icon or folding chair if I'm remembering right. I believe Jeff Adams has worked this out now with Max Mobility, to accommodate use of SmartDrive with Icon. BTW, I love reading your workarounds for technical problems--you must be an engineer!!!

  10. #10
    Thanks, I'm retired. You might consider version two with the battery built in the drive unit, no need to mount it separately.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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