A week before Christmas 2015, I hear a faint grinding noise coming from the right rear of my Permobil M300 electric wheelchair. My first though was that it was caused by a damaged bearing in the rear caster wheel. Over a day or so it progressively got worse as it now produced a ratcheting noise and the chair struggled to turn to the right and back up.
I call up my current service provider who send out a technician. The problem was diagnosed as a damaged drive motor.
Well, it is near Christmas and nothing moves quickly. The part is not stocked and has to be acquired from Tennessee in the U.S. Even placing a 'rush order' means it must be shipped and probably will not arrive until the new year. Quite a time to wait without a chair that I am so dependent upon.
While the wheelchair still drives on one motor, I have to be alert to only making left turns. When a signal is sent to the damaged motor, it grinds and binds up. My fear is that the added strain may damage the good motor but I persist in using it. I have never acquired the skill of carrying a hot cup of coffee while wheeling a manual chair with two hands.
I get a phone call with the estimate. Parts and labour will exceed $1100 CND.
I will continue to use the powerchair minimally and as gingerly as I possibly am able until the repairs can be carried out some time in the new year. If it fails altogether, I will fall back on the manual chair.
So I have had this Permobil chair now for just about three full years. In that time,
- The battery has died
- The arms have fallen off
- The seat post broke off from the frame ($560+ CND)
- The right side motor had died ($1100+ CND)
- A myriad of other screws, clips, and end-caps falling off
January 28th, 2016 - Update: To see what the repair finally cost to to: