Like all modern Powerchairs it will need to be properly
re-programmed and set up to suit its user.
Or it will feel like the "steering" is connected by some loose rubber bands
And to give it a little acceleration performance and some sort of accurate
slow speed control and some usable when you want it "torque".
Unfortunately this kind of woolly delayed action unpredictable
response to the controls is common in almost all modern Powerchairs. It makes
them "soft" or "safe" for the incapable or those with little control ability.
And a pig to steer for any relatively capable active user.
Want more evidence of prides
"programming issues"? Read
It can be
fixed easily enough though by simple reprogramming, but not by the usual "end user" level programmers commonly found
and used by supposed providers and tech guys.
This applies to every single chair I have ever tested or used though, regardless of
the manufacturer, not just this
You need access to the OEM or equivalent lower level engineering
programming tools and someone that understands them to fix this on every
powerchair. Otherwise you
will never see the full potential that the chair offers. Especially this one. You probably think your
chair drives fine! Well that's because you don't know how good they
actually "can" be
and have nothing that steers and moves properly to compare it to!
Back to this chair, I have personally only tried one variation
of the R4000 chair. recommended to me by the dealer because it had the best "torque" or power
level of the various packages. And that person knows what I like! It was the 4 Pole, 6mph version, with
although with the standard 70
amp control system. (A 100 amp version is also available too at extra cost and
is well worth paying)
The Pride Q-Logic control is really a just a rebranded
Curtis Mc-2 100 amp system. At least as far as we can tell. It may have pride
specific firmware though.
And whilst it is difficult to really tell by "feel" alone, due to the
"soft" and very delayed steering and acceleration programming settings as
standard, it seems to be very borderline on power (torque) in some
That is not really surprising though.
My own Powerchair has similar
gearing, motors, batteries and NEEDS its100 Amp controller (rather than 70
amp one as this chair has by default) to perform adequately. More
would sometimes be nice too as my Clamp Amp Meter tells me my own
chair regularly hits the 100 amp limit. See
TOP END Control Systems
though as its not so simple to compare different manufacturers
struggles with thresholds and ramps even with the slower speed / high torque
4 pole 6mph motors (which are around 20 percent better / more "powerful"
than the 8mph "Hammer" motors are. (8mph not
available in the UK anyway technically) When both are using the biggest 100
controller option. If you want lots of torque then the 5 mph geared
(Hammer) motors are available which will give you this. But then
obviously its going to be too slow! 6mph (just over) is the best compromise
of torque / speed - and with the
biggest 100 amp control system option for most normal sized adults on
a reasonably mixed terrain / use / range. Its a compromise.
No way I could possibly live with one
of these powerchairs personally though, after using my own home
re-engineered powerchair which has evolved over the last 12 years. But
most people don't have this luxury and need to choose a stock
Powerchair from the few half decent ones that ARE available...
The 4 pole 6 mph version SHOULD be the most "powerful"
(best torque) for heavy users apart from the unbearably slow 4.5 mph
Hammer motor version and yet
it still struggles to climb the ramp into my van or over the small step (threshold)
into the local pub! At least from a standstill. And while still having some positive steering control. It makes accurate
entry to the pub or my van very difficult
and unpredictable & results in lots of extra dents and scratches and
battered fingers compared to real control I have with my existing powerchair.
That would be
rectified HOPEFULLY with the optional 100 Amp controller option (rather than the
70 amp stock) that this chair had. As long as it was correctly programmed though.
Stock programming is awful. Even worse than most...
My own powerchair (100 Amps, group 24 (34) AGM batteries, but
Properly Programmed, also 6.2mph and 4 pole positively leaps over such
obstacles at will and under positive accurate control do so by just touching lightly on the controls and with
complete predictability. No struggle
and no wait to "see" if its going to move like the Pride (Quantum)
powerchair! It easily climbs
ramps (MUCH!) steeper than my vans with
absolute full control. Such a huge difference (lack of torque and steering
didn't expect from just the 30 amp difference in control system.
I think the 100 amp upgrade is pretty much essential, along
with some radical & careful re
programming, especially if you are heavy (nearer
the 300lb limit) on the 6mph version of this chair for some
sensible & safe control capability. As standard its criminally bad...
And if you are heavy, expect or need some decent range, a
sensible amount of real torque and control, then absolutely avoid the 8mph
version with "Hammer" motors. They offer about 20 percent LESS
power/torque than the 6mph version. And its bad enough already.
Fortunately for us here in the UK its not available with these anyway. I only
found this out after trying to order a set of motors to speed up someone else's
chair to 8mph...
They have to have less torque though because they are still using the same 100
control system as I would want on the 6 mph chair, but with 20 percent taller gearing. Although
not all control systems ARE the same.
It will suck power out of the
batteries faster too due to that taller gearing and limit your range/battery longevity. If the 6 mph version
needs the 100 amp control system with a normal / well built adult (and
really it does) then the 8 mph version
with its taller gearing needs yet more amps to give the same torque
level... And you cant have more as they only offer 100 Amp max and
its just not enough. And
Group 24 Gel batteries really have no more to give anyway at this
point! They are
already "stretched" with a "conventional" 6mph 100
How do I know?
Because basic and
pretty simple Physics tells me so! I am an engineer. And also through
experience and trial and error! I don't drive a desk, I build and make things
and experiment lots.
In more detail: Because 8mph motors must use TALLER gearing to get
the speed which reduces the torque
available at the wheel by the same amount as the speed increases - about 20 to
in this case.
It doesn't matter if the motor has more power potentially either
(bigger motor) as they have only got the same 100 amps maximum available to work with
from the controller.
And because I have tested a good few 8mph powerchairs in the
past... Which tells me exactly the same thing. To successfully use 8mph you need
100 amp hour batteries, and a control system that can deliver
than 100 amps. Some can.
not all control systems ARE the same
That 100 amps is not really
quite enough even on a good 6 mph chair
in some very difficult situations, so
20 to 25 percent less torque on an 8mph chair is much worse in difficult high torque
dependent situations like on ramps etc.
Backed up by many e-mails I receive on this sticky
subject. Which includes this R4400 chair and many other faster
than 6mph / 8mph ones. Plus I tried a set of 8mph motors on my own
chair years ago. Soon removed for the very same reasons!
Update. Tested an 8mph chair again recently (not this chair). And it is
lacking power much as expected.
We all want more speed, but its just not always a good idea!
Although it also depends on the type
(manufacturer) of control system And batteries.
However If you are skinny (14 year old girl?) AND live
somewhere reasonably flat, without too many hills, ramps, curbs, etc and don't
each day, tend to avoid any grass or off road stuff and thick carpets indoors then
absolutely go for the 8mph version.
Because under these circumstances it will
be excellent. If your situation is the exact opposite to this then go for the 6 mph (with 4 pole motors) and the 100 amp control system.
And still don't expect miracles! Batteries are still the weakest link.
The 8mph version may STILL be OK even if you are heavy and
its limitations. Its all a balance /
compromise. You need to choose.
If you are 103, never go very far, don't expect very much from a chair,
sit in front of the fire all day long then get the 70 Amp version with slowest speed.
Or better still get one of these! or
Its difficult to figure out the differences between
Athena / R4000 / R4400
versions of this chair exactly other than the obvious default 4.5mph or 4
pole 6mph differences. The different speed packages (motor/gearbox ratios) are
available on both models though so why have two? Don't get it... Must be
some US insurance/ classification thing...
In the UK its called
Athena and is 6 mph only. All of Prides
(Quantum) Powerchairs are available in a mass of overlapping models, features
and configurations. You need to ignore all the names and try to just figure out what you
actually need mechanically.
And they have hundreds of confusing names for things.
E.g. Quantum (still Pride?) Q-Logic (no idea), Tru-Balance? (just a name for
some common sense engineering as far as I can see) SYNERGY (no idea! Something
to do with seat cushions?) Marketing gone mad. Just leaves everyone confused.
It is a little wider and longer than it really needed to be.
That is its Longer and Wider than my
own powerchairs which is crazy
since they also have huge fat easy riding comfortable (outdoors) tyres with some
off road beach/sand capability too. The Quantum chairs
Athena / R4000 / R4400
should & could be narrower than mine! And shorter. Every inch or part of an inch
really matters indoors and in confined spaces like vans
/ loos, homes / restaurants etc.
It has the usual "hit every door frame" swing away footrests.
Although a single central platform may be an option (check if available as it
probably is as prides options are very involved and comprehensive) and it
looks a lot "nose heavy". Don't
worry sir, unless you make some modifications to move the seat back they are all like that as the
manufacturers are scared to death someone will tip out of the back on steep upward
slopes/ramps... Personally I prefer the control, steering and wheelies that a rearward C
of G allows.
This also causes the front casters to sink in snow/sand and the
steering and control is compromised slightly. As is range as you have a
greater tendency to head for the gutter (down towards the edge) when on
any non level road, pavement etc.
chairs motors then have to waste energy fighting this due to the forward C of G.
That's another reason why my own chair has a very rearward C of G
Rear anti tips often leave the drive wheels in fresh air as they are much too
long and low.
But for good outdoor use this is still the best Pride/Quantum powerchair. The
Q6000 etc are pretty useless outdoors in comparison. And there really isn't
that much difference indoors either.
Tyres (Tires) These are great
sizes for indoors as well as reasonably good outdoors on a rear drive powerchair
on smooth or reasonable surfaces. With 14 inch
wheels on the rear (3.00 x 8 tyre) these work great indoors and out on smooth
pavements and carpets alike but unfortunately
much of the world
isn't smooth and this can be a problem with almost every modern
The front casters are 9 inch diameter which means they
are quite big so they are reasonably capable outdoors compared to other
chairs with smaller casters. See
tyres and Solid or
Pneumatic? to know what you really need!
10 inch casters are better still outdoors
though (3.00 x 4 tyres) and the extra
width and diameter is better on uneven surfaces or
sand/snow. Shame it doesn't come with
these. You may be able to fit these later on. Not sure but it may be
possible. If anyone has done so let me know!
In a rear drive powerchair like this
Athena / R4000 / R4400
larger caster wheels seldom cause any problem indoors compared to a 6 wheeler or
centre wheel drive chair as Its easy to predict
or even see where they are or will swivel or move to as you manoeuvre in a tight spot.
Mid drive, front drive, 6 wheel platform powerchairs all need
too many extra wheels sticking out in all corners, and behind you so these types
of chairs usually use much smaller caster wheels to try and keep them "small" enough
indoors so the casters don't go hitting everything all around you as you
them at a disadvantage outdoors where they hit every bump or in snow etc where
they are awful. (Powerchairs
If I didn't have my own 3
Custom Home Built Powerchairs
then one of these
Athena / R-4000 / R-4400 chairs
would definitely still be on my list to check out in more detail though!
The only fly in the ointment really is that from the rear (or
the rear quarter) it is plain pig ugly!
With a great big battery box sticking out of the
rear like its taking a dump. This alone would probably stop me buying one.
Why do manufacturers not "get" this
Who wants to drive about looking like the battery (or
worse) is hanging
out the back?
Plus it gets in the way as you reverse in some situations indoors
(hits my bed when reversing from my computer) along with the oversized anti
tip wheels that are too near the outside edge, forming "corners", too
low, and too long.
own fat tyred rear drive chair I moved them further inboard out of the way and
higher and shorter. It makes for better indoor capability and so they don't get
hung up on curbs etc.
And be very careful. With SOME seating options (there are MANY
options and combinations available here) the batteries are smaller! To allow the mechanism to
fit. You really NEED group 24 (not smaller group 34) batteries if you have Gel
batteries. If you are to have any
sensible range or battery longevity (due to average depth of discharge issues)
or torque. The only option if you HAVE to have group 34 batteries are the
superior Odyssey D34 batteries. These can provide the amps this chair needs.
Most of the adjustable seat options leave you sitting about 2 floors higher!
Find out the details before you order.
The suspension (another confusing Pride marketing name "Sport
Trac") is like all powerchair suspension, pretty useless. We don't travel fast
enough for it to work. And it does not have enough movement. Run over a rock. You feel it right?
I certainly do. Goes right through me. Hurts like hell! With or without
this "suspension". Well that's because the suspension cant really work at such low speed
and small wheels/rocks etc. ADDED 2nd July 10:
After a closer look I can see NO suspension at all!!! They have to be
Compared to say big fat balloon
style tyres that simply deform around the rock or object where you just don't feel it. See much of the world
isn't smooth And why I chose to throw away the suspension on my
own home built/redesigned powerchairs and fit
these... And still its narrower.
And for outdoor use on serious sand or snow then forget it! It has
only 2.6 inches of clearance! That means if your (skinny 3 inch rear tyres and
narrower smaller 9 inch casters) sink into the snow or the sand you are beached! And going
nowhere. Only solid
ground for this powerchair.
I read on an "experts" forum recently that said this was because to get
a low seat height of 16 and 7/8th (almost 17inches) with group 24 batteries
there was no choice. Wrong! Its just bad design. Inches wasted. The seat bases are too thick,
and the battery free space above is too great or something.
The tallest Group 24 batteries are about 10.5 inches tall
(225mm). If we allow 4 inches of ground clearance
(like my own chair has). 1/8th inch for the battery floor material. 1 inch clearance between
the top of these batteries and the seat frame we get 15.5 inches.
The seat on my
Group 24 Powered Powerchair CAN be set at 16 inches with the stock seating. If I
made a slimmer seat base I could reduce that by another inch... Although I set
it at 18 since I have long legs...
So I have almost double the ground
clearance of this Pride Powerchair. And that's WITH some big fat tyres with lots of floatation so
I don't sink in snow or sand either... And its still narrower too!
But you cant buy mine. I keep mentioning it to show what IS
possible if they tried, so as to help you choose a chair to suit your requirements.
And to try and
wake up the industry "experts" a bit. The
manufacturers don't seem to try too hard to achieve the same things.
This chair all in all is pretty good
DESPITE my criticism, compared to other bought chairs, other than a
few minor issues and that ugly backside!
Ugly Bum... I have never seen so much "designed by committee" mess on one
rear end! Just look at it. They never heard of "clean lines" or finish. Looks
like a ships boiler room. A mass of pipes, wires, plastic boxes, and the worst bit, a huge battery
box sticking out of the back! Some of this "ugly" is caused by the "rehab"
multi adjustable seat, which means the batteries are smaller (lower) and the seat higher
still, But you get this battery box sticking out in the way regardless. Be careful what you order! >>>
Compare this "nose heavy" side view with battery box hanging out to my own chair
here to see what's really
possible with the same sized batteries.
Why do you suppose there
isn't a single picture of its rear in any brochures? (or the web)
These are thanks to a reader!
Its still well worth a look if
you are interested in a full time, full sized top end powerchair It has to be
good to make it onto my pages at all! I may be critical but most of the rest are
not even worth looking at. Other than
this one here reviewed just for its comedy value!
If I ordered one of these I would definitely order some means of re-programming it
properly myself, the 100 amp controller option, 6 mph 4 pole motors and fit 10
inch casters (or just tyres if there room) if they will fit easily once the
original tyres wore out for even better outdoor capability.