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Thread: Bad experience with Max Mobility Smart Drive

  1. #1
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    Bad experience with Max Mobility Smart Drive

    Soon after getting out if Craig Hospital we bought a FireFly (turn a manual chair into a tricycle with a motor in the front wheel ($2500 well spent)), and a couple months later, we bought a Smart Drive MX2 (lunch box sized pusher unit that hangs off your rear axle ($5000 junk)).

    The SmartDrive was difficult to get to work, so it sat to the side for months. When we finally got it out and put it in service it would die without notice going up hills.

    I phoned Max, tried the fixes they suggested, and eventually sent the unit to them.

    They sent it back without any details or explanation. It failed to work in exactly the same way.

    Now they do not reply to me.

    The unit is of no use to us, nor would it be of use to anyone else.

    Anyone else have other experiences (good or bad) with Max?

  2. #2
    Prior to being purchased by Permobil MaxMobilty I contacted the company by phone a few times and even talked to Mark the owner at an Expo. I always got excellent service from a very caring company. That may have changed, but I think you should call them on the phone (not email) and discuss exactly what happens.
    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 NW-Will's Avatar
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    Sorry to year you're having such a bad time with it.
    Yeah quite the reverse. .. firefly is a piece of junk and love my smart drive. Had absolutely amazing support from Max Mobility.. .but yeah before it was bought by Permobil. plus I am using the early one with the separate battery. Best designed piece of wheelchair equipment i own, recommend to everyone, use it all the time... easy to put on and take off.. can get it in and out the car easily on my own etc..

    I'll give you $50 for it

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Both the Firefly and the SmartDrive (MX2+) have been fantastic for my son, albeit in different ways. We went through a (very good) dealer for the SD, and any problems (only with the wristband thingy) have been rectified immediately.
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  5. #5
    Had no problem with an in-warranty repair last year. The on-off switch wasn't working. I called and e-mailed. Smart Drive Servicing sent a pre-paid UPS label. Boxed it. Mailed it. Got it back in working order in less than 10 days total. It's out of warranty now.

  6. #6
    When did Permobile buy out the SD? I go in Tuesday for eval on a power assist. The dme and PT have been asking me to try out a SD. I'm very reluctant but will try it out. I'm thinking a replacement for the ZX-1 I bought from Pat Tallino years ago. BAck then it wasn't FDA approved so insurance wouldn't pay for it. Now they will.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    When did Permobile buy out the SD? I go in Tuesday for eval on a power assist. The dme and PT have been asking me to try out a SD. I'm very reluctant but will try it out. I'm thinking a replacement for the ZX-1 I bought from Pat Tallino years ago. BAck then it wasn't FDA approved so insurance wouldn't pay for it. Now they will.
    i think about 6 mths now. mark and mm used to post alot on fb, but nothing much since buy out
    Bike-on.com rep
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    i think about 6 mths now. mark and mm used to post alot on fb, but nothing much since buy out
    John is spot on: http://www.permobil.com/en/Corporate...-Max-Mobility/
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    When did Permobile buy out the SD? I go in Tuesday for eval on a power assist. The dme and PT have been asking me to try out a SD. I'm very reluctant but will try it out. I'm thinking a replacement for the ZX-1 I bought from Pat Tallino years ago. BAck then it wasn't FDA approved so insurance wouldn't pay for it. Now they will.
    Do you need an easily portable unit? That is SD strong card. If you need traction in slippery wet, muddy, gravelly etc. you might be disappointed. And this time of the year it may not even be possible to give the SD a true test at home due to the dry weather we are having.
    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.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Other Bruce View Post
    Soon after getting out if Craig Hospital we bought a FireFly (turn a manual chair into a tricycle with a motor in the front wheel ($2500 well spent)), and a couple months later, we bought a Smart Drive MX2 (lunch box sized pusher unit that hangs off your rear axle ($5000 junk)).

    The SmartDrive was difficult to get to work, so it sat to the side for months. When we finally got it out and put it in service it would die without notice going up hills.

    I phoned Max, tried the fixes they suggested, and eventually sent the unit to them.

    They sent it back without any details or explanation. It failed to work in exactly the same way.

    Now they do not reply to me.

    The unit is of no use to us, nor would it be of use to anyone else.

    Anyone else have other experiences (good or bad) with Max?
    Sorry to put it this way.... but 99% of smartdrive problems is "operator error"

    If you have third generation, MX2+, here are a couple of common problems/things to check

    1. make sure the wristband is on really snug (if lose, it won't register taps)
    2. axle mount has to be the one for your wheel size and mounted level. (watch youtube on how to mount)
    3. watch what you are doing with your hands. when steering under power, don't push the handrim, drag it. When you "push" you might be sending a "tap tap" command to stop
    (watch youtube video from website)

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