Product Questions

plus/minusCan I operate a powerchair with just a single switch or multiple switches?

Yes, providing you have a Pilot+ system. Firstly, you must replace the existing user controller, such as a joystick module or chin module, with our Omni+ module. This is an advanced interface that can connect a wide variety of different specialist input devices, such as light-touch joysticks, head controls, sip & puff and single or multiple switches.
 
A single switch can be used to control all of the chair’s functions, such as drive, actuator, lighting & environmental controls via a scanning sequence. Alternatively, multiple switches can be used to provide the same functionality.
 
All the usual parameters such as speeds, acceleration and braking are programmed using a PP1a programmer. However, the Omni+ also features a suite of on-board programming options to suit the needs & capabilities of individual users. 
 
For more information on the Omni+ & input devices click here.

plus/minusDo you have a control system, compatible with environmental controls?

Yes! Environmental control systems that use infra red & radio signals to control devices around the home can now be operated directly from a Pilot+ Joystick Module. The Pilot+ Joystick Module (JSM) supports an extra operating mode, whereby joystick movements can be used to navigate the screens of compatible environmental control products. This has always been achievable by using an Omni+ & relevant input device in conjunction with our Auxiliary Control Module, (ACM); however, this new approach separates environmental control from speciality controls and is, therefore, a far more cost effective solution.
 
All that is required are environmental control type Joystick Modules; these are referred to as JSM-env & JSM-L-env. The ‘-L’ refers to lighting, so if the wheelchair has lights this is the product to use. These products operate in an identical fashion to the familiar JSM & JSM-L in that the ‘Mode’ button is used to step from drive mode, to speed adjustment mode, to actuator control mode, but also now environmental control mode. In this mode the joystick can be used to select & operate functions of the compatible environmental control system. There is absolutely no need to re-program the system, it is a totally ‘plug ‘n’ play’ connection. The JSM-env products can also be used in conjunction with an ACM to control environmental devices, which accept switch inputs.
 
To indicate environmental control mode, the lower 5 bars of the battery gauge are permanently illuminated while the upper 5 bars step up. While in this mode, the joystick is used to navigate around the screen of the environmental control device. If a JSM-L-env is used, the left & right turn indicator buttons can also be used by the environmental control device, for example, to emulate a computer mouse function.

plus/minusHow many seating actuators can I drive with my ‘ALM’?

‘ALM’ is the acronym for our Pilot+ ‘Actuator & Lighting Module’. This additional unit plugs into the Pilot+ power module and is then used to drive seating actuators & lights fitted to the powerchair. We have several different models available, depending on the specification of the chair. Some are for lights only, some are for actuators only and some do both. As always, each model can be identified by the ‘D’ type number, which can be found on the serial number label. The ‘ALM-5’ can control up to 5 separate seating actuators. Typically, these may be for a backrest, tilt, seat height, left footrest or right footrest. It is also possible to operate both footrests together.
 
When substituting one ALM for another, ensure that the replacement has the same ‘D’ type number. This will avoid any potential problems. If an actuator is plugged into the wrong terminal, it will not be damaged but you may find that other seating actuators will not work until it is removed & the power cycled. As always, if you are in any doubt or would like more information about ALM wiring details, please contact us here at PGDT, we’re here to help!
 
Available shortly, our new multi-module controller, the R-net, is able to control up to 6 seating actuators. You will be able to control & drive any 12 combinations of these actuator outputs at the same time. Also, in addition to these new features, both the speed & acceleration of the actuators is now under the control of the R-net.

plus/minusIs it possible to add dual control to your standard controllers?

Yes! Pilot+, VSI & VR2 currently all have dual control options. This allows the drive of the wheelchair to be controlled either by the occupant, or by an attendant from another location on the wheelchair.
 
Due to its modular format, the Pilot+ system offers a particularly easy route to dual control. You simply remove the ‘bus’ cable plugged into the existing occupant’s device e.g. joystick or chin module and plug it instead into the Pilot+ dual control box, (our part number, D49682), generally fitted to the back of the powerchair. Next, you take a second bus cable, (provided with the dual), back round to the users device. It really is that simple, there is no reprogramming necessary as all of the control system’s settings such as speed, acceleration & braking are held in the power module. In addition to having ‘master’ control of the powerchair, the attendant can also adjust the speed of the vehicle, using a dedicated button. Easy reorientation of the joystick, using a sequence of joystick movements and button pushes, allows the dual control to be mounted in a number of different ways. At a later date, you may wish to revert back to the original specification of the chair, in this case, simply reverse the connection process detailed above.
 
VR2 is similarly easy to convert to dual operation. The VR2 dual controller, (our part number, D50872), is supplied with an additional cable that allows any existing joystick module & power module combination to be plugged in-line. Again, no reprogramming is required; the system is ‘plug and play’. As with Pilot+, reorientation of the joystick is easily accomplished using a sequence of joystick movements and button pushes. If the powerchair is fitted with up to 2 seating actuators, it is also possible for the attendant to control these actuators using a dedicated button.
 
Dual control of VSI relies on a dedicated ‘spur’ having originally been fitted to the controller’s cable. This spur is present on all VSIs that operate powerchairs fitted with lights but not all of those with ‘drive-only’ or ‘seating actuator’ functions. If the spur is present, then a dual control can be fitted directly, however, if the spur is not present, we would advise that you contact us for more advice.

plus/minusMy customer has a condition that results in varying degrees of hand tremor? Can PG’s wheelchair controllers compensate for this?

Yes, providing you have a Pilot+ system, VR2 or R-net. Each of these controllers has a programmable parameter that allows the effects of hand tremor to be reduced. If the user has a condition that results in hand tremor, then increasing the value of ‘Tremor Damping’ will reduce the effect of the tremor, making the wheelchair more comfortable. ‘Tremor Damping’ can be set between 0% and 100%. A value of 0% means ‘Tremor Damping’ has no effect, however, even at this value, there is some inherent damping in the control system. Higher values apply a higher level of damping. Remember though, the higher the ‘Tremor Damping’ parameter is set, the slower the joystick response will become. This parameter is also available in drive profiles, meaning that different levels of damping can be set for various degrees of tremor, e.g. various settings for different times of the day. 
 
When setting ‘Tremor Damping’, pay particular attention to stopping distances. As the parameter dampens the response to the joystick commands, stopping distance can be affected. To stop the wheelchair with ‘Tremor Damping’ activated you must release the joystick and allow it to centre.