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Thread: Featherlite Hand Controls

  1. #41
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I understand what you are saying. But the gas pedal is not fully electronic. Better description would be electromechanical. It's that mechanical component that provides feedback. I don't want to lose that.

    For example, would you want to apply gas with a joystick? I wouldn't. That would be fully electronic. Of course, there is still a slight mechanical component to even a joystick. But it's negligible. A gas pedal should have a mechanical feel. Even if it's electronic.
    The frictional components (to ease holding in-place) of a gas pedal do not translate very well for hand operation, make it feel excessively frictional. The spring component obviously is excessive for hand operation when designed around weighting and strength of foot operation. The beauty of the Featherlite system is that it is specifically made for hand operation. Frictional loads are designed for this, spring is adjustable in force and tailored especially for hand usage. I'd definitely get one myself, but I'm cheap, don't want a mobility dealer anywhere near my car, and to a smaller extent, don't want an active electronic component of unknown durability interfacing with my incredibly expensive (hard coded to the VIN $$$) PCM. But examining one of these, it is quite the improvement over traditional hand control setups

  2. #42
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToastGuard View Post
    If you want the feedback, I suggest taking the car back to whoever installed the hand controls and work with them to set the spring at the correct tension. Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Resist the Establishment! Take back from those parasites leeching upon our disability! Be self-sufficient! lol
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  3. #43
    How much do they cost?

  4. #44
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    These are my handmade controls

    It all started a long time ago with a paralyzed racecar driver and a clapped out 85 GTI we called "The Pimple" because it was blistered to hell!
    Then an incredibly great set of controls in a 5spd 88 GTI racer that I have no pictures of
    And now, these controls in my 2015 GTI (formerly in an 06 for 10 yrs)
    They really work for me! I can put as much weight as i want on the throttle/brake handle; it has no connection with throttling which is done with cupped fingers.

    What motivated me to put this up is to show how tiny the working electronics can be in these electronic throttles. This is the almost matchbox-sized VW/Audi throttle module I never finished.
    (for 12 years now I've stayed with the originally fabbed/gutted VW throttle pedal hanging by it's harness under the brake pushrod.)
    One pic of the throttle module shows the Delrin shuttle that has a 15mm swatch of mild steel attached. That is what the Hall sensers in the circuitboard "sees" as it moves, not touching the board by .060", that little distance (17mm?) from idle to wide open throttle.
    I have about 100 springs which are of varying rates; they cost all of fifteen bucks from MSG industrial, and are for setting throttle return pressure.

    I don't know what my investment was, but VW has remunerated me $1,000.00 twice for them-each time I purchase a new car!
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    Last edited by pfcs49; 09-19-2018 at 06:44 PM.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  5. #45
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    How much do they cost?
    Haha, good luck getting a straight answer on that one. I got quoted last Fall 1500 installed, a buddy got quoted 1800 for the exact same vehicle model a few weeks ago, I heard another guy was charged 2200. That's mobility dealers for you!

  6. #46
    You?re right, it?s all about resistance. There is absolutely no benefit to the user if the resistance is the same on a featherlite and a conventional rod to pedal assembly. Any additional friction, which is minimal, caused by the rod and or pedal assembly, or for that matter even in a non?fly by wire? vehicle, the throttle body or carburetor return spring, can be compensated for with spring rate or tension. So they would feel exactly the same to the user. All that is happening here is repositioning of the return springs to different locations. The difference between the two, featherlite and conventional type controls, is that the adjustability you have by positioning the rod at different distances from the pivot point on the pedal assembly is eliminated on the featherlites. This determines how far you have to turn the lever to get a certain amount of acceleration. On the feartherlites, it looks like they just mount an accelerator pedal position sensor directly to the end of the hand controls, at least on the push rock type. This only gives you the ability to turn the gas part of the controls about 3/16? to go from idle to wide open throttle. I?m guessing thats why the earlier poster was saying that they are very touchy. I know this because I tried doing this myself and it doesn?t look safe especially for a quad with no hand control. Unfortunately I can?t try it out yet because the vehicle is not ready to start yet. I was hoping to hear from someone with actual experience with featherlites. The only benefit to switching to a featherlite that I can see, assuming you can match the spring resistance, is the absence of the rod which, I guess, could interfere with your leg or an AB?s ability to use the gas pedal.

    The reason I?m considering it is because I?m building a custom vehicle that has no room for a pedal assembly.
    Because of this it?s impossible to get a featherlite from a mobility dealer in the middle of a build and might not be able to get anyone to install one in a non approved one-off vehicle even when it?s finished. If anyone has a way to just purchase one I?d love to hear it.


  7. #47
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattherat View Post
    If anyone has a way to just purchase one I?d love to hear it.
    This worked for me when I wanted to obtain a Braun Swing-Away lift that was no longer available in the States. I contacted a Canadian mobility company and purchased one through them as replacement PARTS. Voc Rehab even approved of the process and paid for it and the shipping to Hawaii. American dealers, because of their dealer contract, usually have pretty tight rules on what they are allowed to do. When it is inventoried as parts, the Canadian dealer didn't have to install it and didn't have liability for its installation. I think, basically, the whole warranty becomes difficult, or perhaps, dead, so it is a bit of a risk. But, if you want it badly enough, it is worth it.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  8. #48
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Patterat: "The reason I?m considering it is because I?m building a custom vehicle that has no room for a pedal assembly.
    Because of this it?s impossible to get a featherlite from a mobility dealer in the middle of a build and might not be able to get anyone to install one in a non approved one-off vehicle even when it?s finished. If anyone has a way to just purchase one I?d love to hear it."

    Given your obvious fabrication and electronic skill, you might consider making your own.
    The
    accelerator sensor (sender) needs to match up to the vehicle electronics for their proprietary FBW setup which is almost exclusively the engine management computer, although I think one early BMW implementation had a separate throttle control module outside of the ECM
    There is surely a lot of mismatches that could work. AFAIK, all are 6 legged with two each B+, B-. and Signal, with various terminal layouts.
    But, wife's 01 Volvo T5 used potentiometers and one side was 2.5V reference the other 5.0V.
    VW/Audi uses two 5.0V circuits and Hall sensors.
    It may actually be possible to run resistance (pots) to a Hall sensor ECM; the output, (Signal & B-) would seem to match up w/either deal.

    Since you will not be running a (foot) pedal sensor, you can obviously move the sensor part and it's plug, up onto the hand control, lengthening the wires if necc.
    On my setup, I used a bicycle brake handle that reverses the cable into the tubing/handlebar it is mounted in. Although the stroke of the VW sensor is only 20mm (just over 3/4"), it was difficult to source a suitable handle with enough stroke. The pictured setup is great-it requires almost full stroke for WOT which makes it granular enough for finessing commands. (parenthetically, on the GTI, if you move the sensor too far, as in +.010"!, the car will immediately go into limp mode. At first I thought I'd screwed the pooch and somehow my setup wouldn't work when it kept slamming me into the windshield! Now I tune it for WOT by comparing the S/B- voltages of the floor/original sensor to my hand/cable operated sensor and adjust the cable to match voltage)
    Turns out the system is pretty reasonable with little glitches. For instance, there are two loads and two signals the ECM has access to. Initially I looked for a DP4T switch so all four would switch. I found you only need to switch a pair (DPDT swx), and you can do it while the engine is running, the ECM doesn't "see" the intermittently open circuit.

    I'm curious about your project. What is it, are you using the vehicle specific management system or is it a hot rod deal? Does it already have FBW throttle?
    I guess it must, or you'd be running mechanical linkage?

    Last edited by pfcs49; 09-20-2018 at 05:14 PM.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by pfcs49 View Post

    Since you will not be running a (foot) pedal sensor, you can obviously move the sensor part and it's plug, up onto the hand control, lengthening the wires if necc.
    That's exactly what I'm doing. See the pic I posted above? I don't plan on having a pedal on the floor so there is no need for a switch. Even if I do find a way to fit a pedal, You would just need to unplug the handcontrols and plug the harness back into the pedal if needed. The problem is with the stroke. I don't understand how they(Sure-grip) are mounting the pedal position sensor directly to the end of the controls and getting more stroke than I am(#4 on diagram). Unless they make their own sensor and calibrate it to different model cars. I may have to move the sensor a little and add an additional linkage to get more stroke between idle and WOT. Or mount a pedal assembly somewhere under the dash and run a rod to it.



    Inside the Camaro's APPS:

    Above left is idle and right is WOT.

    I'm curious about your project. What is it, are you using the vehicle specific management system or is it a hot rod deal? Does it already have FBW throttle?
    I guess it must, or you'd be running mechanical linkage?

    I'm building a 70s "Muscle Van". It's a '75 Chevy Shorty Van on top a 2015 Camaro SS everything else. Dash, wiring, shifter, steering, suspension, independent rear, 6 speed auto behind a 400hp(for now) LS3. Everything. It's a big project but it's not easy for us quads to hotrod.

  10. #50
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Looks like that sender has potentiometers.
    At the level of modifications you?re doing I think the featherlight would be a waste of money. And, an innovative quad might come up with an interesting application once he ironed out the mechanical end!
    It looks like it has the same amount of angular motion as the Hella from the 01 T5 Volvo turbo, ~20*.
    This is a control I cobbled together so I could drive my wife?s Volvo wagon if I needed to. The stalk With the sensor and throttle lever was on and easily removable piece of 1 inch DOM tubing with the sensor and throttle lever was on an easily removable piece of 1 inch DOM tubing with a stub that fit inside the 1 inch tube and socketed into the brake lever and pushrod, mounted to the upper steering column in the same way as the one in the Golf.
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    Last edited by pfcs49; 09-20-2018 at 08:56 PM.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

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