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Urgent notice for Permobil chair drivers

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    #16
    I got my mate to have a look at my chair today. There are two brackets either side of the seat at the back. One of them holds the bar that connects to the motor that operates the reclining. If the other bracket had broken than the back would not have collapsed. However, there is absolutely no safety built in to stop the back collapsing if the brackets on the power side breaks.


    Does anyone know if they Permobil chairs have been crash tested? I was looking at various other power chairs including The Storm. Several of the chairs I looked up have been crash tested. To be honest, I've never been particularly happy with the backrest on the Permobil, it always seemed slightly flimsy. I wear a chest restraint when I'm driving my van. In fact, it's one that is advertised by Permobil. I was in a serious accident I would be very surprised if the back of the chair didn't collapse forward.


    I'm going to take the bracket off the chair before it's fixed and try and find someone who can test it for me. I want to find out exactly how strong these brackets are and if they are actually made of a quality material. If you think about it, these brackets are one of the most important parts of the wheelchair, without them the whole back collapses. They should have used the strongest material they could obtain.
    Tetraplegic & Spinal Injury Site

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      #17
      Permobil Power Wheelchair Crash Test Results: https://permobilus.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Permobil-Power-Wheelchair-Crash-Test-Results-Condensed.pdf

      If you do an internet search "Permobil Wheelchairs Crash Testing," you'll find information on the individual chairs. It should be noted that not only the chair, but your tie down system has crash test data that is important to the over all performance of the chair and tie down in a crash.

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        #18
        Originally posted by slow_runner View Post
        Without separating the piece and inspecting that break, I would hazard a guess that it is quality Chinese cast steel or cast aluminium, commonly known as 'shit metal'.
        They build bridges and buildings with the stuff down this way.
        IMO there should have been more gusset designed into the part.
        It is not as if people in chairs are able to take evasive action when these items fail; we have to go in what direction we are taken and hope for the best.
        We put a large amount of trust in these manufacturers with an expectation that we will be safe when using the equipment.
        Ironside, are these chairs subject to a annual, biannual or 5 yearly inspection?
        When you purchase a wheelchair privately in the UK you are responsible for its upkeep. In some parts of the UK you can obtain wheelchairs and what they called the "vouchers scheme". Again, if you use the voucher to purchase privately you're responsible for. However, you can go to a recognised mobility specialist and choose a wheelchair which will be maintained for you and serviced annually I would think.


        My Permobil Corpus 500 was purchased privately in 2011 so that makes it just over six years old. As far as I'm concerned a chair costing ?15,000 should be manufactured of good quality products which means it will last a lot longer than five years.


        It would be interesting to know to what extent they crash test these wheelchairs. It scares me slightly when I see people that seem to be one lying on chest restraints whilst driving. I always wear a seatbelt, both around my waist and diagonally across my chest. My seatbelt has been modified slightly. I can hold down a toggle switch and the seatbelt will tighten. Supposed to give me not only a seatbelt, but also a strap that gives me a bit of support. However, I still prefer to wear a chest strap for stability
        Tetraplegic & Spinal Injury Site

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          #19
          US wheelchair testing is RESNA WC19, try this as a start point https://mobilitymgmt.com/Articles/2017/06/20/understanding-wc18-special.aspx European CEN/ISO as usual more complex this testing lab has some downloads https://www.tuv.com/netherlands/en/w...hoCIIQQAvD_BwE

          The ISO standard is available off the ISO website https://www.iso.org/standard/40993.html at a price! I have to buy the ISO cycle safety standards and get them from an Estonian site at a lot cheaper price.

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            #20
            For what it's worth, I've always had excellent results with Permobil support. They've seemed very well-organized and I've always been able to find someone who cared about whatever issue I was having (I've been using Permobil for 13 years). I do think it's best to get a chair checked at least every 6 months, not every year like some suggest. And carefully. (I'm lucky in that my DME technician is excellent, which is rare I think). But I do not know how something like this could be caught in a maintenance checkup, that is, I don't know how the technician could know if the part was due to fail.

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              #21
              Permobil phoned me today to let me know that the parts will hopefully be here tomorrow and they will come and fix it on Friday. I made it quite clear but they need to take this very very seriously and not just pass it off as an unfortunate incident. I think they are going to want to take the broken bracket back with them. I was going to keep it myself and get independently tested, however, suppose they need to be given the chance to do this themselves.


              I have dodged a bullet twice now with the same thing happening on two different types of Permobil. Both times I was at home so there wasn't a lot of trouble getting out of the chair. The first time it happened I'd been driving the previous day, this time I would have been driving the next day. I don't think I'll be that lucky next time.
              Tetraplegic & Spinal Injury Site

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                #22
                Originally posted by Ironside View Post
                I have dodged a bullet twice now with the same thing happening on two different types of Permobil. Both times I was at home so there wasn't a lot of trouble getting out of the chair. The first time it happened I'd been driving the previous day, this time I would have been driving the next day. I don't think I'll be that lucky next time.
                Thank you for the warning I also have a C500. Here I was impressed with how strong the new back felt. The pivot/hinge point of their back system has always been the weakest link. I have been a Permobil owner since 1992 and while the back system failed the same way on my previous two chairs there was a warning. The same back components of the earlier chairs were composed of steel and plastic. The occasional cracking sound of plastic fracturing and an increased flexing of the back were obvious signs of an impending catastrophic failure. In spite of this I still ended up on my head, once, fortunately I was at home. I solved the problem on my first two chairs by adding steel bars the length of the back on both sides and welding them to the steel hinge. Each chair provided me with more than 10 years of service. However with Permobil now using cast iron I will have to consider doing a preventive replacement of parts to keep this chair safe.

                Regarding Permobil's responsibility, as I recall the owner's manual has inspection of the wheelchair components listed as part of routine maintenance.

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                  #23
                  It took a week for the new component to come over from Sweden which meant a week in bed for me because at the moment I don't have a spare chair. I've tried to make a big fuss about this bracket and the fact that it really shouldn't be breaking in half like this, even after seven years. I didn't realise, it's actually only one bracket that supports the whole backrest, that's even scarier now. As for routine maintenance, of the city that something that needs to be done on a regular basis. However, there may not have been any sign that the bracket was going to snap, it could have started breaking waves can't actually see. Permobil took the bracket back with them to test it, or at best check it out. I'm not really expecting much to happen to be honest. Also, I do think it's unrealistic to use forged steel because they will have to be hammered into shape and these parts are quite precise so I don't think forging woodwork.


                  But someone did mention they are using Japanese steel that is known to be not very good. I think that's where Permobil need to be looking. It's all very well getting a job done cheaply because obviously they want to maximise profit on the wheelchair, but if your gonna put your customers lives at risk Than it's just not worth it.


                  I don't know how much a brand-new corpus 500 costs nowadays, but I'm willing to bet it's not for shots of 20 K if you have all the extras. Can you imagine what sort of vehicle you could buy for 20 K? I expect all components to be high quality on my wheelchair because that's what I'm paying for.
                  Tetraplegic & Spinal Injury Site

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                    #24
                    Sorry, got my threads confused.

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