Friday, 21 August 2015

More Permobil M300 Problems (Seat Post)

Another installment to my Continuing Saga of my Permobil M300 Woes

Anyone following these posts is well aware of my continuing problems with the Permobil M300 power wheelchair.  Since purchasing the chair around 4 years ago:
  • The side arms have fallen off
  • Arm rest cushions quickly split and disintegrated.
  • The battery died after just over a year's use
  • The chair developed a loud and annoying screech with every shift of weight or change of direction.
  • Numerous screws, bolts & end plugs have fallen off with some lost
  • Seat cushion attached with double sided sticky tape dried out and released.
(This wheelchair is used indoors about 90% of the time with most of the outdoor travel being between the house (workplace) and my disability bus transport.)

This July, another major problem occurred without much warning. The seat post which attaches the seat pan to the floor of the wheelchair chassis broke.  More specifically, my understanding from the technician's description is that the weld which attaches the lower end of the seat post to the wheelchair chassis base snapped at the chassis.  I first noticed the problem when driving the chair forward in a straight line, I was no longer parallel to the direction of travel, but rather sitting about 5 degrees turned to one side.  For a model, think of attaching a small seat to the eraser end of a pencil.  now drop the other end of the pencil into a tall and narrow drinking-glass tumbler.  Now pick up the glass and move it in various directions as if the model was driving.  The pencil (seat post) will swirl around the edge of the glass' rim taking the seat with it.

Check out the motion of the seat, still attached to the seat post at the seat pan (directly below the cushion), but the weld broken off where attached to the wheelchair chassis.

Well, $560.00 and two weeks later (as the parts had to come from the United States), the chair was returned to me in working order.  The good news is that the awful squeal and squeaking is gone for now.  I shall see how long before that painfully annoying sound returns.  It took just over a year to develop in the original new chair.  It was obviously the attachment of the post to the chair and seat which was the source of the squeal. (Post with Video of Squeal).  Had this problem been detected by the original Vendor, Shoppers Home Healthcare, Bartley Drive, it would have been under warranty!

Also, anyone following my posts is familiar with the problems I had in obtaining service from the original vendor of the chair (Shopper's Home Healthcare) and their service department.  The straw that broke my camel's back was during the previous arm problems, I called the Shopper's service department a total of 21 times over days and weeks, only to reach voice mail.  My requests for a call-back was ignored 21 times.  I only obtained service or information when I happened to snag some employee and begged for assistance.

With my new wheelchair service provider, I left a message on their service department voice mail.  I received a call-back about 45 minutes later to inform me that a technician had already been dispatched to my residence.  True enough, a technician showed up shortly and quickly diagnosed the problem.  What a refreshing difference!!!

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