Published 6/04, Copyright 2004, WheelchairJunkie.com
Lock It Up|
A WheelchairJunkie's Guide to Powerchair Security
-Mark E. Smith
Whether you're a full- or part-time powerchair user, there're probably times when you wish to secure
your powerchair. Maybe you don't want your grandchildren powering-up your powerchair when you're not
around. Or, maybe you're a roller coaster fanatic, leaving your powerchair unattended while riding Millennium
Force or Medusa. In any case, securing your powerchair to prevent others from driving away with your
wheels may be vital. Fortunately, from light-rehab powerchairs to high-end rigs, security systems are
now standard on most powerchairs, and optional on others, ensuring that the only one using your powerchair
The VSI controller is the most common joystick shipping today on light-rehab powerchairs,
and it features a built-in joystick security lock. To lock a VSI, follow three steps:
1. With the
power on, hold down the power button till it chirps, then release.
2. Promptly push the joystick forward
till it chirps.
3. Pull the joystick back until it chirps
The joystick is then locked. To unlock
the joystick, follow the same process, turning the powerchair on, then continue with steps 1 through
The Remote+ system (also known as Q-Tronics on Quickie brand powerchairs),
is available with an optional key-type locking system. To lock the system, you plug in the key into
the joystick's charging/programming port, then promptly remove the key. To unlock the system, you plug,
then unplug the key, as well. Essentially, the key places the system in inhibit, rendering the powerchair's
joystick unresponsive. Unlike the VSI's standard locking feature, a key for the Remote+ system is optional,
costing around $50 from most providers.
The Dynamic G80 comes standard with a magnetic lockout function. On the joystick
housing, there's a key icon, and by running the supplied magnetic key over it, the powerchair is locked
or unlocked accordingly.
Simple but Savvy
Maybe you don't have a modern controller, or
don't wish to buy an optional key, but still need to secure your powerchair once in a while. Sometimes
simple means is the surest means, and discretely unplugging a cable may do the trick. An unplugged joystick
cable or battery harness can baffle even the sharpest powerchair user, not to mention one who's entirely
unfamiliar with the technology, so merely pulling a plug will thwart even the most thrifty thieves (on
the Remote+, for example, you can unplug the cable from the joystick, but still have the connector resting
in the socket, so all looks normal).
One would hope that all would honor the sanctity of our wheelchairs.
But, the fact is, we live in a wacky world. The next time you park your powerchair in the garage, or
leave it on the gangway at an amusement park - or wherever you may leave your powerchair unattended -
don't forget to enter the code, use the key, or unplug a cable. After all, you want your wheels staying
where you left them.