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Thread: issues with Smart Drive

  1. #1

    issues with Smart Drive

    So... I love my Smart Drive. Almost to the point where I don't want to go out anymore without it.

    However, I am having a lot of problems with it.

    I've had to send it back for numerous repairs, like half a dozen times in the past year.

    The circuit board has "fallen off" from inside at least 3 times now.

    And they've replaced pretty much all the parts except the outside casing.

    So... I still have these issues with it. Random outages, buttons acting weird, and even a small amount of water has caused it to stop functioning.

    I really don't abuse it, I just use it to assist. I go up curbs and all that everyday stuff.

    Isn't it suppose to handle that daily use?

    has anyone else had these types of problems?

    I have the MX1 the one with the buttons on each side.
    Last edited by diaspora; 07-30-2015 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by diaspora View Post
    ...clip...I really don't abuse it, I just use it to assist. I go up curbs and all that everyday stuff.
    Isn't it suppose to handle that daily use?
    has anyone else had these types of problems?
    I have the MX1 the one with the buttons on each side.
    I agree, it is so simple to use that when it is not available you miss it. But your description of the pcb falling off seems extreme. I don't understand how under normal use anything like that could happen.
    I don't jump curbs, up or down, so mine does not have *that* daily use. It has been to the shop however and been promptly returned. My main issue had been not knowing if it was turned on or not or not being able to turn it off. That has been resolved.
    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthr...ell-switch-DIY
    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
    Senior Member JeffH's Avatar
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    I use mine hard.
    Every single day.
    It's the first version, the MX-1.

    I've had a few circuit board failures and other troubles that have required help from the MaxMobility
    Id say it's averaged to a breakdown about every six months or so (I've had it for 28 months now).
    But each time MM has responded immediately.

    In any case, as long as it's working, I don't care about the issues I've had in the past and if it breaks again I'm pretty sure that I'll get it fixed in short order.
    For me its pretty close to the perfect mobility device and i won't go without it.

    FWIW, I have and Engineering and mechanical background and I'm amazed at how well it works and holds up.

    I use it on every surface in all types of weather.
    Almost always with a freewheel on the front which allows me to go fast downhill and over bumpy stuff, I hear the SD taking some pretty hard hits sometimes and yes I've damaged the rollers and drive wheel once or twice,but really it handles the rough stuff quite well and for sure i haven't slowed down any.

    I've gotten about five months out of the latest set of rollers but they're pretty close to the end of their useful life.

    YMMV
    Jeff
    Doh!

  4. #4
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    I have had problems with my SmartDrive too and I've sent it back for repairs or parts replacement. I have been babying this current on because I depend on my SD so much I don't want any problems but it is giving me trouble. It's been riding rough for a while now. Bumpy and notchy, like I am going over cobblestones. That's an exaggeration, it isn't quite like that but the bumpiness is frustrating and noisy. I notice it most on smooth floors. Yesterday I received a new mount. When I can I will install it. I have been having problems with a lot of play developing at the attachment. Not on the drive, it's tough. It's the wings on the mount. Each time I installed a new mount there would be no play and the drive would move up and down stiffly until things broke in. Then the up and down would smooth out and be free but the play would gradually grow until the side to side would be at least half an inch each way. It seemed to me that when I put a new collar (mount) on, the problem would go away.

    With this last mount the drive isn't freeing up on the up and down motion, it still sits stiffly and hangs up a bit. I think that is what the problem is. At least I am hoping.

    The SD changed my wheeling life, just saved my shoulders and a lot of nerve pain. The motor is incredibly strong and the switches have been bulletproof.

    My complaint now is the rough and noisy ride at the drive wheel AND the unpredictability and difficulty in the the motor engaging. That's been a problem since my first days with a SmartDrive. I push and push and nothing, the motor won't grab. But it often suddenly goes full power and I am racing at top speed when I very much do not want to. I've been able to go nearly a block pushing over and over in every creative way I can think trying to engage the motor, before it finally got going. The motor is strong, I think it's the programming.

    I really wish it were easier to engage the motor and it was more predictable. Some days it can make things really hard.

    Overall I would always recommend the SmartDrive because it is an amazing device. I just put it on my manual chair and it like having a powerchair but I can take it off any time and even when on it disappears under the chair. Great. Hopefully Mark and his folks will keep working the bugs out but it would need my cold dead hands to let go of it :-)

  5. #5
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    "My complaint now is the rough and noisy ride at the drive wheel AND the unpredictability and difficulty in the the motor engaging. That's been a problem since my first days with a SmartDrive. I push and push and nothing, the motor won't grab. But it often suddenly goes full power and I am racing at top speed when I very much do not want to. I've been able to go nearly a block pushing over and over in every creative way I can think trying to engage the motor, before it finally got going. The motor is strong, I think it's the programming."

    Those are the same issues I've been having. Got my SD end of December and it's already been sent back for repairs twice. I recently have just started using my SD again (was using E-Motion wheels post major abdominal surgery) and the bumpy, wobbly, bounciness is worse than ever. When rolling through a store or hallway at work the SD sounds awful!

    My my biggest issue is that it now also comes unhooked from the chair while in use. At first I thought my backpack was hitting it and causing issues. Took th backpack off and still does it. There is play and the SD wiggles side to side a few inches and today if I rolled over any kind of lip 2" or less, steep incline, or rougher pavement the SD was bouncing off and then being dragged behind my chair. My wheelchair vendor swears the clamp on camber tube is installed correct. When I told them what was happening their only suggestion was to send SD back again and have it looked at...even when I told them I think it's the clamp. I remember my clamp had to be made special because I have the heavy duty camber bar for the E-Motion wheels. Is there a way I can check how the clamp is installed and adjust myself?

  6. #6
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledgrl View Post
    Those are the same issues I've been having. Got my SD end of December and it's already been sent back for repairs twice. I recently have just started using my SD again (was using E-Motion wheels post major abdominal surgery) and the bumpy, wobbly, bounciness is worse than ever. When rolling through a store or hallway at work the SD sounds awful!

    My my biggest issue is that it now also comes unhooked from the chair while in use. At first I thought my backpack was hitting it and causing issues. Took th backpack off and still does it. There is play and the SD wiggles side to side a few inches and today if I rolled over any kind of lip 2" or less, steep incline, or rougher pavement the SD was bouncing off and then being dragged behind my chair. My wheelchair vendor swears the clamp on camber tube is installed correct. When I told them what was happening their only suggestion was to send SD back again and have it looked at...even when I told them I think it's the clamp. I remember my clamp had to be made special because I have the heavy duty camber bar for the E-Motion wheels. Is there a way I can check how the clamp is installed and adjust myself?
    You and I are having the exact same problems, everything you mentioned. The collar has been a problem. Since I started using a different pushing technique a few days ago it's like I have a new SmartDrive. It's SO much easier to use. A long slow push and then letting go. The motor engages and then I can push again. I still have a terrible time getting the motor to engage while I am already moving. I can't figure that part out. Sucks. There probably is a technique for that too since it seems the SD will work great if you use it right. I wish Max Mobility would make one long instructional video. Not a short one showing a quick push and no explanation but something detailed like something that was a manual that would come with the SD. We are learning and teaching each other it seems and that's great but I'll take all the help I can get from Max Mobility.

    My rough ride with the drive wheel is I think about the mounting, probably the mounting angle. It's perfectly attached to my chair (Icon) but it could be the height. Alex at MM sent me a different mount to use and I want to install it. I haven't been able to yet, I will as soon as I can. Now that I am using the much better pushing technique I am really hoping that changing the mount height will solve the ride problem because if it does, I'm done, my SmartDrive will be running perfectly.

    I want to add again how wonderful everybody at Max Mobility is. They are really great. So nice and they won't stop trying to help if I have any problem. Also, the SmartDrive is great. The buttons are still bullet-proof and the drive motor is powerful and drives like a tank. I think the mount needs to be refined and maybe I currently have something wrong with my tire (the wheel with the rollers - I don't know) but this is something that's made such a difference for me.

  7. #7
    I had the same problem after an incident which led to the collar rotating a little on the axle. I rotated it back and the noise and vibration settled. In reality the noise and vibration were due to the thing being about to fall off. While it's not true, I tend to think of Smartdrive as having a number of gears. When you are already rolling you have to get it up to the speed of the next "gear" before it drive. It seems to respond to acceleration rather than speed. As a resut I find a hard push followed by a pause is often more effective than a series of long smooth pushes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iain View Post
    I had the same problem after an incident which led to the collar rotating a little on the axle. I rotated it back and the noise and vibration settled. In reality the noise and vibration were due to the thing being about to fall off. While it's not true, I tend to think of Smartdrive as having a number of gears. When you are already rolling you have to get it up to the speed of the next "gear" before it drive. It seems to respond to acceleration rather than speed. As a resut I find a hard push followed by a pause is often more effective than a series of long smooth pushes.
    Interesting. I am thinking through what you said. My SmartDrive is currently attached to my Icon. Max Mobility came up with a very clever bracket and mount. There isn't a way for things to rotate but I do think the drive is very sensitive the the height of the attachment. I think that is why Alex at MM sent me a bracket for a 24" wheel even though I am running 25's (the bracket they sent me and I have on now IS for 25" wheels). I still don't know when I will be able to change out the bracket but I am hoping it will settle everything down. If not, I will keep looking for the solution. I think it's some small change that needs to be made and all will be okay.

    On engaging the motor at speed, I have pushed as hard as I can while already moving and still have a terrible time engaging the motor. It hurts to push that hard and it doesn't work that often anyway. I got home a little while ago and had the problem again. In the middle of an intersection I was freewheeling and trying to get the motor to work. The only solution that has been working and I really don't like it, is to slow the chair down and then push. Doing that engages the motor. But that has so many problems. For one, if there are people around me, they see me slow down and so the walk ahead of me, now I want to push and engage but now I am speeding up on them from behind so I need to kill the drive again. Argh. Not their fault - they don't know what I'm trying to do. One big advantage of the original SmartDrive was being able push a button to make the motor engage. God I wish I had that again! Or .. maybe I just need to learn the right technique. C'mon Mark, make a really good instructional video. I've seen all the ones they have up and they are more like demonstrations than how to solve problems or detailed instructions.
    Last edited by grommet; 08-06-2015 at 07:02 PM.

  9. #9

    Icon SmartDrive photo

    SmartDrive on Icon
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by grommet View Post
    Interesting. I am thinking through what you said. My SmartDrive is currently attached to my Icon....clip...
    Did your concerns start with the switchover to the ICON setup? If so get your other chair out and try to compare what the difference would be.
    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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