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Thread: permobil f3

  1. #1

    permobil f3

    Has anybody had any experience with or knowledge of the Permobil F3? I am due for a new power chair and will consider it, given that you can put three aftermarket backs on the chair. My previous experience with my Permobil C 300 was absolutely terrible, I feel due to the terrible back system that could not be modified. Mechanically I did not have too many problems in five years. I'm hoping that the customizable back will alleviate my problems. Medicare is my insurance and they only pay for a few brands and a few models.

    A therapist told me that some patients are reporting issues with the smoothness of turning in the f3 due to some type of "catching" of the rear casters that is somehow inherent to the chair. The local Permobil representative was consulted for this problem. It is hard to believe this would be an issue.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated as I do not want to make another mistake and consign myself to another five-year prison sentence.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Reviving an old thread.
    The "catching" or jerk caused by casters direction change is semi normal. Tires worn in helps a little. Some floor surfaces give tires more stiction = worse. Still less jerking than mid drive M300.

    I ordered a new F3 today. Arrives in about 6 weeks.
    I didn't like the Corpus 3G standard seat back in my previous chair, so this time I got an aftermarket back with softer foam and a different contour (will give name and my opinion later).
    Medicare actually covers it and at 2 yr intervals, will pay to maintain it (maybe replace). I also get to keep the standard 3G seat back (may swap out for a change at some point).
    Note: this seat back mounts more forward than standard so seat pan depth was increased to compensate.
    Anterior tilt was my biggest attraction to the F3. With it, seat height goes from standard 17.5" to 19.5". However, with optional seat riser ($1500 out of pocket), the seat height is 17.5" lowered and anterior tilt is a lot more verses w/o riser. This may explain why so many complaints about F3 seat heights. May be a marketing tactic too.
    Another option is the USB port ($200). It will be under left arm rest, pointing at my bed, ready for my USB night light to allow me to see TV remote buttons (little touch/feel in my hands, need to look).
    I asked about high speed kit. Too expensive for an additional 1.5 MPH in my opinion.
    I wanted Platinum color but it was a $200 option (marketing aimed towards wealthy). Getting white. I can paint it later if I want.
    Several weeks from now, I'll post my opinions after I run it through my benchmark.

  3. #3
    You are not locked in to the Permobil back system. You can request evaluations with the back systems that may suit your needs better. I have a Roho back system. But there are others for your consideration. Request other options. They are out there.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
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    Whew, finally got a new F3 today.

    I got a Comfort Systems (name on box) back cushion (covered by Medi). I like it. It has bendable lumbar straps inside that seem to fit as delivered. May update opinion after more time.

    Opted for the riser/elevate ($1500 out of pocket). Believe it or not, with elevate, seat pan height 17", was told non elevate is 19" (which explains complaints about F3 seat height).
    Also, anterior/forward tilt, tilts further than non-elevate. 2 excuses for paying for that option. It's faster than C300 seat elevate too.

    USB port is another option. Now low batt on phone can be charged on chair instead of far from chair. Port is under left arm rest, out of they way but accessible. I could have added this feature myself but for less than $200 = looks better and no struggle adding one myself.
    I have an aftermarket charge port to USB port adaptor, $50 I think. Was afraid to use it much, big and looks like it's begging to get banged. Factory USB, worth the cost.

    True 4 wheel independent suspension. Will wait a few weeks so that everything has limbered up, then I will soften it till it's too soft, then go back the other way. Hope for only 3 or 4 adjustments till perfect tweek.

    Said no to speed option. Not worth it for an extra 1 1/2 MPH.

    Initial joystick forward is a little quick/jerky, also brakes engage hard. Will call DME in a few days to tweak that via programmer.
    Joystick is more complex but I'll adapt. Shows Bluetooth (deeper in menu), not sure it works yet. Can operate computer mouse and many other things. Thought it was an out of pocket option I declined. We'll see. Shows I can use joystick as IR TV remote. Cool when I figure it out.

    Armrest are typical 3G. Got vinyl cover = easy clean. My work around these not as comfortable as I'd like armrests (are any after several years?) is to slip sweat pant legs over them. Everyone has a pair they can cut up. Every month or so (sooner if spilled on) throw them in wash. They also help protect fragile armrest edges and no marks on door ways.

    Black and white bodywork. Looks like F1 race car (or should I say F3).

    Dislikes;
    *Motor disengage is 2 seperate levers for each motor, also not as accessible (compared to C300). I can reach rt side from seat, arm limitations prevents me from reaching left disengage.
    *Day 3. Charged batt as I slept after only a few hours use after day 1, Did not charge batt after day 2 (little use), day 3 less than 2 miles and 2 hours use since new (as per timmer) and batts have lost 2 green bars. NOT HAPPY, will stop check payment on out of pocket options and will contact SS to stop/refund payment, then call Permobil. I've heard many complaints of batt issues w/F3's. Fix NOW or take it back, my attitude. Also, anterior tilt needs reprogrammed so it goes fully forward (as per owners manual).

    More pro/cons to come as I become one with this machine.
    Last edited by Gearhead; 09-01-2019 at 11:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Can anyone share what the various aftermarket backrest options are?

  6. #6
    The Permobil website has your back options and I believe there are only three. I'm a C6/C7 and use the Invacare deep matrix elite. I think it's nice as it has curved laterals low down around your torso and narrow top section giving you scapular and shoulder mobility. If you have any stability issues I can see going with anything less than the "deep" model. It can be tricky to mount on the chair and am having a little bit of issue now after two years, but it should be resolved soon.

    Demoing the aftermarket backs gets in the craw of the chair vendors as each aftermarket back requires its own unique mounting bracket for the F3. You just can't go to a clinic visit and try this back or that back. Doing so would require quite a bit of time to take off the hardware that particular back. Also, for one of the backs, can't remember which one has a host of possible configurations as to the location of the lateral (high or low), as well as the dimensions of the lateral (width and height). You will have to make it quite clear to your clinician which one(s) you will wish to try, as more likely than not, one will be thrown at you and you will be asked to make a decision.

    I tried 2 aftermarket backs and the Invacare deep matrix elite was, in my opinion, better. I would start with that one if you want to try and aftermarket back and if you have any stability issues, try the deep first, although they can bring the other model which can be popped on in seconds, since they both use the same mounting hardware.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    bump, see edits/update

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Gearhead View Post
    Whew, finally got a new F3 today.

    I got a Comfort Systems (name on box) back cushion (covered by Medi). I like it. It has bendable lumbar straps inside that seem to fit as delivered. May update opinion after more time.

    Opted for the riser/elevate ($1500 out of pocket). Believe it or not, with elevate, seat pan height 17", was told non elevate is 19" (which explains complaints about F3 seat height).
    Also, anterior/forward tilt, tilts further than non-elevate. 2 excuses for paying for that option. It's faster than C300 seat elevate too.

    USB port is another option. Now low batt on phone can be charged on chair instead of far from chair. Port is under left arm rest, out of they way but accessible. I could have added this feature myself but for less than $200 = looks better and no struggle adding one myself.
    I have an aftermarket charge port to USB port adaptor, $50 I think. Was afraid to use it much, big and looks like it's begging to get banged. Factory USB, worth the cost.

    True 4 wheel independent suspension. Will wait a few weeks so that everything has limbered up, then I will soften it till it's too soft, then go back the other way. Hope for only 3 or 4 adjustments till perfect tweek.

    Said no to speed option. Not worth it for an extra 1 1/2 MPH.

    Initial joystick forward is a little quick/jerky, also brakes engage hard. Will call DME in a few days to tweak that via programmer.
    Joystick is more complex but I'll adapt. Shows Bluetooth (deeper in menu), not sure it works yet. Can operate computer mouse and many other things. Thought it was an out of pocket option I declined. We'll see. Shows I can use joystick as IR TV remote. Cool when I figure it out.

    Armrest are typical 3G. Got vinyl cover = easy clean. My work around these not as comfortable as I'd like armrests (are any after several years?) is to slip sweat pant legs over them. Everyone has a pair they can cut up. Every month or so (sooner if spilled on) throw them in wash. They also help protect fragile armrest edges and no marks on door ways.

    Black and white bodywork. Looks like F1 race car (or should I say F3).

    Dislikes;
    *Motor disengage is 2 seperate levers for each motor, also not as accessible (compared to C300). I can reach rt side from seat, arm limitations prevents me from reaching left disengage.
    *Day 3. Charged batt as I slept after only a few hours use after day 1, Did not charge batt after day 2 (little use), day 3 less than 2 miles and 2 hours use since new (as per timmer) and batts have lost 2 green bars. NOT HAPPY, will stop check payment on out of pocket options and will contact SS to stop/refund payment, then call Permobil. I've heard many complaints of batt issues w/F3's. Fix NOW or take it back, my attitude. Also, anterior tilt needs reprogrammed so it goes fully forward (as per owners manual).

    More pro/cons to come as I become one with this machine.
    I have a F3 and to freewheel there is only one lever per motor.

    In reading your post it seems like your not charging you chair each and every day and charging it by usage ?

    When one gets a new chair there is a break in time line from 15-20 days or charges.

    This is important to break in the batteries and to condition them to provide maximum return per charge.

    If we just pick and choose when they are charged we ruin them from the start.

    Also the F3 supports two sizes of batteries the smaller 34 size batteries and the larger more miles per charge 24's

    One should always get the larger 24s as they will last longer.

    Last for cost cutting measures most DMEs now use cheap knock off Chinese batteries which dont last as long.

    Insist on US made MK batteries.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I'll have to make a tool to disengage left motor and keep it stored on chair, shouldn't be too difficult. A stick w/zip tie loop on the end should do it. Rt motor, I can disengage from seat.

    2nd night I had it, I was doing a battery test by not charging, was expecting a longer time span before green bars went away. Of course, seat actuators suck on the batts too. I'll test them again in a few weeks. Read a few complaints about F3 batteries so I asked for 24's. Haven't confirmed I actually have them or where made.

    Tech came to see me today due to loud "crack" in back rest. It was a real loud single "crack" sound, was an easy fix with back rest removed.
    While he was here, I asked for more anterior tilt like DME sales rep told me I would have with elevate option. Manual says up to 50 degrees can be programmed in (backing up what salesmen said).
    Tech called tech support and we were given bad news.
    1 - Control module will need removed and sent to Permobil to be reprogrammed (techs can't do much if any programing now).
    2 - This is the worst part. They won't reprogram it unless I buy the VS (stander) style leg rests @ $2k out of pocket. Salesman said only elevate was required when I placed order. No where in manual does it mention VS leg rests. I can handle 50 degrees with out VS rests (they have little casters under foot plate). I will put a gauge on seat pan to see exactly how much forward tilt I'm getting. Eye balling it looks like 10 to maybe 15 degrees, just like non elevate chairs. Not sure how far I can press this issue but I will use their literature as talking points. Especially since I paid $1500 for an elevate option that I was told would allow 50 degrees forward tilt. Next DME purchase I will record conversation.

    Other than not enough anterior tilt, I like it.

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