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Dom’s Do It Yourself Power Assist For Manual Wheelchairs

| July 7, 2007

I first encountered Dominick Feragola when he emailed me looking for advice on obtaining a power assist add on unit for his manual wheelchair. It seems that Dom had lost a bit of his pushing power for the long haul and was trying to regain his mobility and independence.

I pointed Dom toward the traditional assembly line units that are available. To his surprise (but not to mine) these units were way outside of his dollar envelope. Most commercially available systems cost in excess of $5000.00.

Not being one to roll away from a challenge, Dom decided to go on a scavenger hunt to try and find low cost components from which he could build a do-it-yourself power assist system.

Well, he did, and he has. Here is Dom’s own account of the project. Well done Dom!

Hi Ziggi,
I finally took some photo’s of my electric chair project.
The hub motor’s are from Golden Motor of China. Cost: $558.00. The kit included the hub motors with wheels in addition to the controller and all the hardware.
Image of wheelchair hub motor and controller
Batteries and charger are from Batterystuff.com which has a great web site. Cost: $220.00. Battery box was from Midstste Battery. Cost: $23.00.
Tires and tubes were about $25.00

I installed the kit with basic hand tools. The only thing that I had to do with a power tool was to cut off the existing wheel shaft holder that was part of the chair.

The wiring was fairly easy. It took some time to get the wiring right so the controller worked properly.

Image of wheelchair power assist add on installed on Dom/s manual wheelchair
I built a simple bracket out of hardwood to hold the battery box on the chair. It was a simple way to hold the battery box to the chair and allowed the battery to be removed in the event that I have to put the chair in the car for transportation.

It took me about a week to get the hang of the controller. I am very satisfied with the chairs performance and speed. For someone like myself that can’t walk around the mall the chair gives me the freedom that I did not have in the past.

 

Category: General, Self Help

Comments (12)

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  1. Dominick says:

    Greetings to all:

    I hope this helps thousands of people like myself!

    Now remember to donate to the United Spinal today!

    Best regards to all

    Dominick

  2. dennis says:

    hi Dominick
    I came across your diy blog and I am impressed with your creativity. I am similarly looking for a power wheelchair and not willing to pay a bomb for it. Your wheelchair is foldable and transportable? What is the total weight and the total cost (breakdown into the wheelchair cost and parts).

    Thanks
    regards
    Dennis

  3. Dominick says:

    Dennis:

    It is a standard chair that is foldable and fits in the trunk or back seat of my Sable. The total project is less then $1000.00 and in my case where i wanted to use my own chair, was worth every penny. As far as it’s weight,its close to any standard wheelchair. You could find tec specs on my chair online. My chair is a Invacare Ex folding chair. Like i said, it’s a low cost chair that works very well!

    Regards

    Dominick

  4. Mehdi says:

    hi
    I have a project about power wheelchair . please send me useful information . tanks a lot

  5. EDWARD SMITH says:

    DOMINICK,
    HOW MUCH DID THE MATERIALS(WHEELS, ETC.)COST INCLUDING FREIGHT, TAX, TARIFF?
    I CONTACTED GOLDEN MOTORS. THEY GAVE ME PRICES FOR THEIR PRODUCTS BUT SAID THEY WERE F.O.B. SHANGHAI.
    HOW DID YOU MANAGE THE DELIVERY?
    i AM VERY IMPRESSED BY YOUR ACHIEVEMENT.
    THANK YOU
    ED

  6. EDWARD SMITH says:

    DOMINICK,
    HOW MUCH DID THE MATERIALS(WHEELS, ETC.)COST INCLUDING FREIGHT, TAX, TARIFF?
    I CONTACTED GOLDEN MOTORS. THEY GAVE ME PRICES FOR THEIR PRODUCTS BUT SAID THEY WERE F.O.B. SHANGHAI.
    HOW DID YOU MANAGE THE DELIVERY?
    i AM VERY IMPRESSED BY YOUR ACHIEVEMENT.
    THANK YOU
    ED

  7. Dominick says:

    Ed:

    The Prices i quoted in the articla were including shipping. I’ve been using my invacare chair for some time and really wanted to keep it so i did things my way. I like it very much and it was worth every penny! The delivery from china went well but it did take 8 days!

    Dominick

  8. José Saraiva says:

    Dears Gentlemen,
    I would like to resell the chair EWC24-12F here in Portugal. I believe it could be good for many people. Could you please tell me if it is possible, how much it costs without batteries and how much for transportation? My best compliments and thank you very much for your attention.
    José Saraiva

  9. Does Goldenmotor have a toll free number. I can’t seem to locate a State Side number. Thanks

  10. MrGimp says:

    thats great, I hope to do a similar project with in the next couple years, but going to design my own frame, come check out whats happening in my life at my site, i will be doing some projects as soon as we move into our new house!

  11. Gary Kurek says:

    Dominick, great to see you took an innovative approach here. I have a few questions for you. Those hub motors you bought from golden motor, to they have a brake release so they can be free wheeled? Also did those motors come attached to the spokes or was that additional work you did yourself? Did goldenmotor provide you with the mounting brackets and Joystick? Lastly, what is the item/parts numbers of the motors you purchased. Goldenmotor doesn’t identify every product with a number. Thank you

    Gary Kurek

  12. Gary Kurek says:

    Dominick, on my last comment i provided you the wrong email. So this time around I have provided the proper email with this message so you know how to contact me. Okay I have answered most of the questions I originally asked but still have one. The motors you have pictured above, were they sold to you with the spokes already attached or did you customize the wheel width yourself? Also i’d like to know which motors from goldenmotor you purchased. Were they the ones that are used on golden motor’s electric wheelchair? If you could answer this asap it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Gary