Email me with your
Chairs review or comments
My review of the Quickie F55s
My modified chair here
My new USED F55
Note added 2009 -- OK just
finished doing a 2009 total ultimate powerchair rebuild and
modification. Everything I learned on the previous 3 or 4
powerchairs all rolled into 1 (actually a matching pair!) on
one long page here:
my ultimate power wheelchair Its also worth a look!
This is as far as I know a UK
only PowerChair. Computer aided design, by a guy called
Donald Brooks for Sunrise Medical.
There are 2 variants (as well as
lots of seating and seat riser options) there is the F55,
The F55 is 4 mph maximum and has
The F55s is 6.2 mph maximum,
achieved simply by use of taller gearing although it has
plenty of torque still. This version has lights to comply
with UK law because it puts it into a different "class" of
Since the slower one is only 200
UK Pounds cheaper and just 4 mph would drive most full time
powerchair users completely mental we will concentrate only on the F55s
6.2 mph chair here!
do already have a F55 4 mph version and you would prefer it to go
faster then you will only (!) need to change the pair of
Motors/gearboxes as a complete assembly. You do not
need the "full power actuator" that they talk about,
because this simply works the lights! (To make it
"legal") But it still isn't a very
I feel I am
now pretty much of an expert when it comes to this chair, as I
have had mine 5 years, and broke all the bits that can be
abused and tortured it, modified it and tuned it and wore
out 5 sets of batteries and three sets of motors and
gearboxes! And I also had to cure its faults and I modified
it in various ways -
probably the best designed and finished powerchair out there
still after 5 years! (Apart from the IBOT) But like all Powerchairs it has one or
two major issues that screw up an otherwise good chair!
As follows... This is quite a long section.
1. It has an
incredibly weak, wobbly cheap, and nasty "swing away"
pivot for the control pod. Consists of a bit of bent tin,
and a wobbly rivet - have looked at loads of these on other
peoples chairs over the years and EVERY ONE is loose
and needs replacing! Fortunately there is a
"parallelogram" version which is also available (at a daft
price) to replace it. Although everybody at sunrise
has no idea what you are asking them for... So actually
getting one is almost impossible! It is a part that is
in the parts list - a .pdf file that you may download from
here! (1.3Mb) Give them the part number and I guarantee
sunrise or your dealer will only send you the wrong part
about 5 times... I have one and its strong and solid.
Recommended urgent fix!
2. The same
pod is strangely located on the OUTSIDE edge of
the chairs arm. Meaning that the chair is wider than it
needs to be and with daily use it gets banged on doorframes
and this is the main cause of that other previous part to be
b**g***d! Who the hell designs these things?
Fortunately if you raise the armrests a "notch" it can
easily be moved to the inside edge, making it less liable to
be damaged and more comfortable at the same time!
Which is a massive improvement in use. Another essential job
that fortunately takes only a few minutes - my chairs total
width is now two and a half inches narrower as well! 2
inches is a lot when you are manoeuvring on trains, inside
restaurants, pubs, small loos or doorways at an angle.
3. While we
are still on the "pod" area, we have another problem!
the "charging socket" is an XLR type connector - usually
used for microphones and tiny currents. These can (they
claim) take up to 10 amps for charging purposes. When they
are new and making good contact they do this "quite" well,
but are on the edge of their capability. Stupid design. This
is not sunrises fault actually but Penny & Giles who make
the control system (its a Pilot Plus 80 amp unit). It causes
BIG charging problems with some types of chargers though. It
starts to wear after a few months, and gets hot during
charging. This is the key... It goes fairly high resistance.
Not helped by also having a long thin cable also of high
resistance, connecting the pod to the controller under the
seat. Now, the clever intelligent charger (that senses the
voltage accurately) "sees" higher voltage, and less current
so it thinks the battery is more charged than it really is!
My trusty digital multi-meter tells me this can be as much
as 2 volts difference between batteries and the charger!
So poor charger drops back to a lower charging current too
early in its cycle for fear of damaging the sealed batteries
by "gassing"... In reality it either never finishes
the charge before morning, or goes onto a REALLY long
final stage! So your battery cells never get equalised or
properly charged and your batteries are useless. Simple
solution, if you feel any heat here when charging, swap both
the socket inside the pod, and the plug on the charger for
new ones. Or better still, fit an external directly
connected to the battery, charging harness with a proper
Programming of the PowerChair is nothing short of
unbelievable! This is a much bigger problem than ALL
of the others! As it is delivered to you it is all but
un-drivable, If you can:
a) get it to turn at all on carpet its a miracle! Or
if it does it goes too fast and hits something...
b) get it to go through a doorway without you losing
fingers or smashing into first one side and then the
Its as if the joystick is connected by a very loose rubber
band! It bears no resemblance to what the chair does.
there IS an easy cure! But it cost me 270 Pounds and I had a
massive fight to get it! It is the PP1b "programming
box" DO NOT confuse this with the completely useless user
version the PP1a programmer that so called
"wheelchair techies" wave about. They LOOK the same. They
are definitely NOT! You NEED the PP1b
and some skills and understanding to use it safely and
properly. Hence my problem getting one. I had to sign
disclaimers, jump through hoops, etc and lie! Anyway, if you
want your chair to drive properly you need to reprogram it.
It will be faster, accelerate and brake better, turn slowly
and precisely in direct proportion to what you do with the
stick with LOTS of torque, and you will never hit another
doorframe! If you want me to reprogram your own chair, (ten
and I will discuss. For full details go to
5. The motors and gearboxes are only supplied (Via EMD)
as complete units. No spares
are available other than motor brushes (these last two
years maximum with full time use). They have two
SERIOUS problems. I have had maybe 30 emails about
the backlash or "clunking" that soon develops. It
becomes very tiring to drive it like this. Although in
reality it will never leave you stranded. The first
thing to wear out is a tiny easy to get at, rubber
"cush drive" Pictures say a thousand words on
Modified F55 Page
these few issues, it is well made, well designed, and has a
good range of options. Beware of the seating options such as
Recaro Seat, or "comfort" back, because these make you sit
further forwards, moving the centre of gravity further
forwards still. Then it becomes more of a problem to
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