Friday, 4 July 2014

Permobil M300 Poor Arm Alignment

I discussed the flimsy arms that were standard on my Permobil M300 in the previous post but I though that one more short video clip would demonstrate the issue more clearly.

For those who have not read the previous post and are unfamiliar with this issue, briefly, at the time of purchase I mentioned to the vendor that the side arms had an extensive amount of side to side play and that they seemed to be rather flimsy.  They promised that a new model of arm would be coming out shortly and would swap them out when available.  I have since learned that there were no other arm models under development and that this was a ploy to convince me to purchase the chair.  With so much lateral movement, even at the time of purchase, I found it to be unacceptable and added some of my own 'after market' washers in an attempt to stabilize the arms.  The arm when raised and released would just drop down with force and bang against the catch mechanism.  To try to add some friction, slowing the drop if the arm should slip from my grip,  I sandwiched a rubber washer between the arm and a larger diameter metal washer which extended the surface area holding the arm perpendicular to the chair chassis.  (Does that make sense?)  Check the photo below.

Permobil M300 -my aftermarket addition of washer in an attempt to stiffen the arm and reduce the lateral play. The chair was sold with arms that had a good amount of side to side movement -the service department would not address the issue,so I had too try something.  The arm mechanism comes with a leaver (top) and knurled thumb-nut (bottom) and sliding tin 'whatever' (slotted piece by left red arrow) - an overly elaborate design which serves little purpose in my view.  Its a bloody hinge!! - why make it so complicated.  What it didn't do was hold the arm steady.
The left arrow points to the rubber washer I installed to dampen the motion of the arm -so it wouldn't drop with a bang!  (now showing cracks and need replacement).  The right arrow points to the oversize metal washer I installed, sandwiching the rubber washer to the arm.  Without the large washer the arm rests against the bolt head alone, providing the attachment but very little support.

In the previous post, I tried to show the excessive side to side (lateral) play of the arm from a different angle.  What it didn't show was the misalignment of the post to the catch mechanism.  Watch and see how much the 'post' can miss the 'catch'.  While the chair is now just short of being 2 years old, the poor alignment was about the same when bought -an issue which I raised in concern.  My fault is in trusting the vendor in lying to me about replacement arms. 
The entire Permobil arm construction is flawed, from thin, prematurely cracking faux-leather (Naugahyde?) material covering the arm cushion, to the single square post holding the arm cushion to the arm mechanism, to the overly complicated hinge mechanism which allows arm wobble, to the poorly aligned multiple component arm catch and tin spring which offers "hit or miss" locking of the entire arm assembly, to no surface to which a bag or pouch can be attached to to hold personal items.  Bad, bad design!!

Sorry Permobil, I'm not buying any future wheechairs from your company!!
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