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!
|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.|
|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.
|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.