Oh my! So glad that things worked out in the end. I really admire what you are doing. We "only" have a permobile M3 wheelchair and it works well in the tight spaces and turns of the house.
I think of you and your wheelchairs when we are on walks and the ground is uneven...
I sure wish we had a fleet
Thank you for all the feedback everyone has provided. It is great to know that folks have followed along on my adventure. I sure appreciate all the encouragement I receive here.
I had two primary reasons for embarking on this project. The first was purely practical. I wanted to see if there was a way to increase the range of the X4 wheelchair. It has been a wonderful chair and I have really enjoyed having it. But, a range of 4 miles has been very limiting.
The second was to do something that would keep my mind busy learning new things. Batteries and electronics are not new to me, but I had never done a project like this. I have learned so much doing it and it has been great fun.
Now that the project is mostly wrapped up, I can say that it has been tremendously worthwhile. I have learned much and have a deeper understanding of how energy is stored by various battery chemistries and how that energy is released from the battery when there is a demand.
The X4 wheelchair has a maximum speed of 4.2 miles per hour (up from 3.6 with lead acid batteries). If I am going at full speed for 6 hours, I would only go about 25 miles. I don't think there will ever be a day when I can ride at full speed for 6 hours. It has been remarkable having a wheelchair whose range is greater than what I am able to ride in a day. That means there are no effective limits imposed by the wheelchair. It is now the only wheelchair I have that does not cause me to turn around early because the batteries are getting low.
I have informed my friends that I am looking for hiking partners who can match the range of the X4. So far, I have not had many takers.
The X4 wheelchair was a derelict when we obtained it 3 years ago. It took months to get it back to where it could be used. I was never satisfied with the wiring it came with and had always hoped to do something about that. This project gave us the opportunity to address some (but not all) of the wiring issues. I am much happier with it now.
There is still work to be done. I would like to rework more of the wiring and, especially, clean up the wiring for the seat elevate function.
I look forward to many more projects like this one. I am now investigating using LiFePO4 batteries in another wheelchair. I just have not decided which one yet!
Those of you following this thread probably know that my first Revolectrix PL8 charger failed and was sent back for warranty replacement. Revolectrix was very easy to work with and in no time at all a replacement charger arrived (and this time was NOT placed behind a car tire by the Postal Service).
The wheelchair needed charging, so I configured the new PL8 charger and started charging the wheelchair. The next morning, I checked on the status of the charge and was surprised to see that the number of Amp Hours put back into the wheelchair was a combinations of digits and letters. I spent over 30 years working with computers, so recognized the number as a hexadecimal number.
The previous PL8 had never displayed in hexadecimal and my backup PL8 never did either. It was a puzzle. I scoured the internet looking for any hints that someone else had run into this or to see if there was a setting on the PL8 that could cause it to display that field in hexadecimal. I had no luck, so phoned the good folks at Revolectrix. They were as perplexed as I was. I am not completely sure they believed me, as they asked me to send a picture of the display showing the hexadecimal readout. I did that and they are investigating the issue.
I have extensive experience working with numbers in a variety of bases. Mentally switching from base 16 (hexadecimal) to base 10 (decimal) is easy for me, so this is not much of an issue. It is a puzzle, though.
I went out for an eight mile ride in the X4 today. It was magnificent. Today was one of the first spring-like days we have had. We have had major winter storms the last two weeks and wet, cold weather is forecast to return with snow by Saturday.