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Thread: Manual wheelchair power assist device recommendations needed.

  1. #1

    Manual wheelchair power assist device recommendations needed.

    When looking for a power assist system for my manual wheelchair, what are the pros/cons that I need to consider?


    Is there an overall system that is better suited for a TiLite chair?

  2. #2
    Some considerations should include the following:

    • Weight of the device.
    • Ease of removing and replacing yourself.
    • Battery life.
    • Availability of local service/repairs.


    I am sure our members will give you other things to consider.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3
    Mark, i have had 3 smart drives, in my opinion not for quads. biggest thing it does not brake. i have and love the zx-1........i use as needed only. normally i keep it in back of my van.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamblvr View Post
    When looking for a power assist system for my manual wheelchair, what are the pros/cons that I need to consider?


    Is there an overall system that is better suited for a TiLite chair?
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  4. #4
    or twions. Mark at abilitease did a great vid comparison regarding sd and power assist wheels. he had sd first then returned it.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    The Smart Drive is a great add-on. It's super portable, easy to latch on, relatively light, easy to use, and hopefully durable.

    Last edited by Crappler; 06-29-2018 at 02:58 PM.
    Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamblvr View Post
    When looking for a power assist system for my manual wheelchair, what are the pros/cons that I need to consider?


    Is there an overall system that is better suited for a TiLite chair?
    Folder chairs require extra considerations and may not work regardless of chair brand, you need to verify. Otherwise you should be able to choose freely for your TiLite if it is a non folder.

    As for pros/cons, that depends on your needs. For example if you travel a lot *alone* by passenger car and need power assist on arrival, a ZX-1 will be difficult or impossible to load and unload. But it essentially will transform your chair into a powerchair. Setup can be problematic, but help is available here to get you running and satisfied.

    A Smartdrive on the other hand works for one person operation as described above as it is very light and portable. It simply pushes your wheelchair. Unfortunately that is all it does, there is no reverse, and no downhill braking. In fact, it's safer to turn it off downhill. The Smartdrive works by pushing the handrims, which a sensor detects motion turning on the motor for a few seconds, another push, more motor. I believe there is a setting on the MX2 to get the motor to just keep running like the old MX1 had.
    Frankly I get tired of pushing to trigger the motor, and continuous mode would get cut out by safety device sensors.

    The hub wheel type replace your current rear wheels, making your chair heavier. E-Motions are removable with some kind of a stand device to mount the chair on to make it easier to remove the wheels. I don't know if the Twion type have that. I've tested these type and believe they have reverse, yes they must. But you do have to push. I don't know of any constant on. Pushing the rim triggers the switch to turn the motors on for a few seconds of power. Then you push again. I doubt these have downhill braking since they like the Smartdrive are brushless motors.
    Last edited by nonoise; 06-29-2018 at 04:34 PM.
    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.

  7. #7
    Thank you very much for the feedback! How challenging is the ZX-1 to attach and detach? It appears that your rear wheels are elevated. (The left wheel did not turn when you were in motion) Did this change the pitch or feel of your chair?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamblvr View Post
    Thank you very much for the feedback! How challenging is the ZX-1 to attach and detach? It appears that your rear wheels are elevated. (The left wheel did not turn when you were in motion) Did this change the pitch or feel of your chair?
    takes 2 seconds. back up push button and pull joystick back. lifts rear wheels up a tad not very noticable.
    to add- really comes down to what your trying to accomplish. i use the zx-1 to give my shoulders a much needed break from pushing, to recover after several days of training on the handcycle etc and for hilly areas, super thick carpet, big cities. its not an everyday thing, i dont have any trouble pushing day to day, neither do you. we are very similiar function wise. when i want something daily i'll buy twions.
    Last edited by fuentejps; 06-30-2018 at 07:34 AM.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  9. #9
    While I don't have it yet, I hope to be getting power assist with my next chair. After lots of research and trying out my two contenders (smartdrive and twion wheels) at abilites expo, I've decided on the twion wheels.
    There are a few reasons why I chose the twion wheels over the smartdrive and a few cons of the twion wheels that weren't a concern for me.

    Pros:
    I really liked how reactive they are, I'm kind of a control freak and I like being able to immediately turn sharply in them while still having them turned on. I also will be using them inside a lot, working in a scene shop so lots of open space but also some tight spaces. I like that I'm not constantly engaging them and disengaging them like with the smartdrive. From what I've seen smartdrive is best suited for long periods where you don't have to turn sharply, I may be wrong about that though.
    The twion app is a really big pro for me. I like that I can 'summon' my chair from another room or, on a really bad pain day, use the joystick option to at least get around the house.

    Some cons that aren't an issue for me:
    The Twion wheels can't be used in the rain. I live in Southern California and work inside mostly so this really isn't a problem for me but if you live almost anywhere else in the country it could be a major problem.
    While they are the lightest power assist wheels available, the twion wheels are heaver than the smartdrive. I believe they are twice the weight once both are on the chair and each wheel by it's self is a little heavier than the whole smartdrive unit. This could be a big problem depending on your injury or condition. For me, as of right now I have just about enough strength to do it myself. It's important to remember it's not just lifting the 13lbs, it's lifting the 13lbs and putting that 13lb wheel on the chair. So lifting the chair frame and putting the 13lbs on.

    I hope this all makes sense, had a big day at PT today so kind of out of it

    Edit: Also since reading other replies I thought it would be good to mention that the Twion wheels do indeed have a constant on mode and seems to work similarly to the old smartdrive models once on that mode.

  10. #10
    One of the objectives is to use a power assist device to negotiate the chair in our FL community over a mile distance to the exercise and fitness center for resistance training. Driving and transferring in my vehicle home from training when muscles are fatigued is challenging. We also have a long steep grade driveway in PA that I no longer want to risk climbing and straining my shoulders to simply check the mail or get beyond the garage without transferring into my Trackchair. In PA, downhill control is critical.

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