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Thread: The joy of powerchairs

  1. #1
    Biscuitgazer
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    The joy of powerchairs

    I am so happy because I recently moved house to a place where I can go out on my own, instead of with the car & driver! My previous place had a shared driveway made of pebble-y things so I could not drive my powerchair over it, I couldn't even visit next door for a cuppa and of I could have got out to the road, it was farmland for miles and there was no pavement but only ditches to fall into.

    Now I can go right into Boston on my powerchair and I would love to go on the local buses now that there is a bus service where I live, but I find I'm short of confidence because what if I run out of battery or my chair just suddenly stops going, as the old chair has done before? Call a taxi? Can they carry me and my little powerchair home? Get a bus home? My battery gives me plenty of warning it's going to need a charge, but I'd need to be efficient getting home. And where I want to go, sometimes the pavements and cobbled streets are impossible to navigate. How do other powerchair users cope?

  2. #2
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    There are WAV taxis almost everywhere. I find travelling places is all about research. Find the local taxi firm and ring them and ASK if they have WAV taxis. You can go by train just book assisted travel.

    Buses - will depend on the size of the chair and the buses, but MOST should be do-able.

    Battery life? how long does a charge last? or how many miles. Mine is 8 miles, plenty long enough for shoppings.

    Googlemaps streetview is your friend if you want to go somewhere new. I look and see what the roads/pavements are like. There may be an alternative but more wheelchair friendly route. Avoid cobbles, and loose gravel like the plague.

    If your nervous ask a friend to go with, a couple of times.

  3. #3
    Biscuitgazer
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    Thank you so much for responding, reddivine, I will be plucking up courage and also researching before setting off on my tod! I went to town with a friend a few times recently and it opened my eyes, as I haven't been independent since 2009 when I was able-bodied and living in London. I've gone everywhere in the shared car since then and I didn't realise how much of a chicken I'd become over the years. I have renewed admiration for those hardy souls who do it all the time.

    My little old Vienna chair, while it can walk my family off their feet when it's going, has some glitches, like it likes to turn itself off for no reason. Someone from Social Services came yesterday and said she'd refer me for an outdoor wheelchair assessment, so hopefully I won't have to rely on the Vienna for ever. It's very nice to have such a tiny chair in the house with its minuscule width and turning circle, but take it outside and every crack in the pavement makes it jolt and try to buck me off the seat like a donkey.

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    My advice, get the turning off problem sorted first (could be electrical fault?). Baby steps, then, as you are right the foots of our green and pleasant land are SHITE!! Cracked kerbs, tree roots, dropped kerbs that aren't......potholes.....I could go on - just try small trips to get to know the lay of the land.
    After I got my chair and then the motor I went further and faster than I had in 10 years!

  5. #5
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Even though I don't use a power chair but a mobility scooter I found, until I was used to routes, going out was like planning a military operation.
    Enjoy your freedom.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    One of my friends got a 'compact' charger. (About the same size as a mobile phone charger except for the plug on the end).

    If his battery is running low he goes for a pint or a coffee and asks to plug in to to top up the battery while he drinks it.

    He's never been refused.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    One of my friends got a 'compact' charger. (About the same size as a mobile phone charger except for the plug on the end).

    If his battery is running low he goes for a pint or a coffee and asks to plug in to to top up the battery while he drinks it.

    He's never been refused.
    don't know what he's got then. My lithium ion battery will take a few hours to charge - thats a top up. Lead batteries, as in scooters take an all night charge. Thats a helluva cup of coffee.
    I

  8. #8
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    Planning is the answer, careful planning and getting to know the surroundings.

    I had a moment in my powerchair when I was down to one single flashing red light, in the centre of London, a train journey from home. Normally I leave the house with a full charge but unfortunately my wife had accidentally pulled the plug. We took the charger with us just in case. On the way back I popped in to a hotel restaurant and asked for a table nearing a plug socket. They were more than happy to help. Okay the chair wasn't going to fully charge but if was enough.

    So, always leave with a full charge. Also, prepare a list of wheelchair accessible taxi companies in the area in case you need a lift. Pavements can be a problem if they are left is disrepair. Is you chair Road legal? Mine is so sometimes I do use the road.

    I haven't had any issues with buses, but have with the occasional train, both mainline and tube. Either the person with a ramp hasn't turn up or the tube isn't step free (despite the map saying it is). I find people are willing to help, either going to find assistance or on one occasion lifting me and the chair off a tube train.

    Enjoy the freedom the chair brings.
    No single thing can define me; not my work, not my politics, not my hobbies, not my vices and not my disability. I'm way more complex than that!

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    don't know what he's got then.
    He isn't trying for a full charge, just a get-you-home top-up.

    I believe it is one of these, meant for charging ride-on toy cars.
    He got an electrician friend to change the connector leads to his battery charging connector:
    http://kidselectriccars.co.uk/replac...l#.WZjF1dGQzIU

    They also do slightly larger 24v and 12v versions as well:
    http://kidselectriccars.co.uk/replac...l#.WZjEy9GQzIU

    http://kidselectriccars.co.uk/replac...l#.WZjFl9GQzIU

    If you fancy a go then make sure the charger output is compatible with what your batery needs.

    Any competent computer/tv/radio repair shop should be able to change the connector safely for you, as long as you have a spare connector.
    You can buy connectors various places, you just need the correct one for your chair/scooter.
    They are often XLR 3-pin connectors. (The same as used for audio microphones).

    If yours is different then try contacting you chair/scooter supplier.
    Last edited by nukecad; 26-08-17 at 10:44.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  10. #10
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    There are a number of companies that offer a breakdown "get you home service". Motability use Autohome, but they are not the only one. You may also be able to get it as an extension to an insurance policy.

    If you don't have it, I would strongly recommend taking out insurance - if you run into somebody, even if it is their fault or somebody else's, they could sue you. They was a programme about scooters a few years ago, and one of the cases that they showed was somebody who was on a scooter in a supermarket. Somebody using one of the shops' loan scooters ran into the back of the person featured, who in turn was shunted into a shopper, resulting in a broken leg. Because they didn't have the contact details of the users of the shop's scooter, despite it being on CCTV, the scooter rider was pursued through the courts.

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