Off Road and even On Hike Path Proof, Power Wheelchair.

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Fred005

New member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Messages
5
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
03/2016
Country
FR
City
Ancelle
Hello.

I'm Fred, from France.

I've a Magic Mobility X8 since around a year.
I do ''little'' changes on it ...
I'm living in south east of France in a province named Hautes Alpes, in a small village, Ancelle, 1350m ASL.

''Before'', I was helicopter pilot, flying next to all around the world.
Now I'm wheelchair pilot !!!
I was -and still I am- pationated with hiking and wild life photo, so it's why ... I do ''little'' changes on my X8.


I do ''little'' changes on it, to make it for what I need ( I cut the frame to make it longer -10cm- to improve stability. I do with my X8 95% of difficult hike. The 2 original heavy 74Ah lead battery are now in my garage and because I got 10cm more room for the batteries I installed 10 LiFePO4 cells 3.2v/240Ah.
In my mountainous area I can ride my X8 for much more than a day, depending on the D+. Because of I was helicopter pilot, the joystick is in a new place I love ! I changed the eavy seat and footrest and now my X8 is 120kg, so 40kg less.)

So, with a solder, grinding or so I've no problem, but with PC ... Yes I have !

I also made major modification on the power modul settings.
As I was knowing nothing about that, I asked on an other forum some help.
I had a few at the begining but very quickly this help was not ... helpful as my purpose was never treated before.
So ... Some problems with the boss of the forum who don't like those who ''knows'' a bit more than him, and I continue my way alone.

When I saw Swalker here, for who I've a huge respect, I thought in myself I could write a thread about my X8 modification, wich will maybe help others.


Here is my tiny story:


Most of my hikes (I use the word hike, because it's really the right one) are in high mountains area, far over 1500 meters ASL, even if altitude doesn't induce power lost as it does on a thermic engine you'll see it's not so easy to hike here with a power wheelchair.
My hikes are around 40km +, go and back, with at least 1200 meters D+. Very often for 2 or 3 days in the wild, not going back home, alone, doing wilde life photo.

So, here what I can say you if this could help someone:

- About Tires:
Since a year I'm using the 15X5.00 - 6 2P XTRAC from Carlisle, with OKO Puncture Free.
These tires are perfect for mud, snow, ice and rocks. No dammage after 10 months and more than 3500km. They will be fine for next spring, then summer until mid fall. But will have to change them for next winter.
No dammage on their side wall even in the very rocky area where I hike.
They are not very confortable, it is the only ''negative'' point I can see.
I inflate them at 0.1 bar -1.5 psi-.
Using tube-less in these conditions will not be possible.

- LiFePo4 charger:
As the PL8 is dead and buried, I'll not speak about this charger.
So, after testing the K2 and PL30 from iSDT, wich are fine for 6 or 8 cells, I bought 2 from iCharger; the ''small'' X12, and the huge 4010 Duo.
To power the 4010 I've the eFuel 15-30v, 50A, 1200w V2.
Strong enough with 33A output requested to the 4010, in synchronous mode.

The X12 is always installed on my X8. So I can charge my cells pack with a car, a truck, the solar power in the mountain refuge, in the shepherds cabin.
It can provide 30A, but I use it at 25A, as it's only to give me some more amps, not to full charge my pack.
The X12 is working fine. Many settings, many options, the same than the 4010. 1 more one, it's possible to see how many amps you put in each cell. Interesting option.
Next 4010 firmware will add this option, as I heard ...

When back home I use the 4010.
I use it at 33A not more, because I've time, and also the output cable need to be more than 10 awg if you don't want to waste power. These cables are the same for my X12 and they are installed on the X8; and weight is my enemy (my X8 total weight -exluding me- is less than 125kg).
4010 does a good job, with a very accurate balance for my pack.
As it was difficult to find in France, and in case of any problem, I bought 2.
Plenty of settings, options; with the Jun-si help, we made a good enough configuration for a LiFe 240A pack.
For those who enjoy staying many hours in front of a screen, both of my charger can be connected to a computer.
Cons points are, maybe, a not very ergonomic acces to settings/options; the big central knob is, for me, not ... I don't like it too much.


- The cells pack:
Some here will be very supprised to read me: I don't use BMS.
Why ?
It's not about what many are affirming on Internet. It's only for saving wheight and to have ''a more easy to fix in the wild'' off road wheelchair.
BUT, to manage/protect my cells I use 2 BX-100 Voltage Checker.
Very easy to read even in sunny days, and you can't forget the huge alarm sound. BX-100 does a good job.
Also an amps meter to check my fuel level.
It's a bit boring, but a bit only.

I bought 10 cells, LiFePo4, each 230A tested at 242/245A.
Why 10 ?
I wanted 2 spare just in case. I read many comments about guys who bought LiFe cells and then had problem with the quality of these celles.

So I started with 8.
I don't use the 8 included busbars, but made my serial connections with awg 6 wires, 6mm diam connectors NOT welded but crimped as you never have to solder wires when it's for an off-road purpose or similar; the jonction betwenn the soldered/not soldered wire will be the weak point, not flexible and, soon or late, it'll be the broken point in an environment with a lot of vibrations.
For those who stay on the black road, it's maybe different ... Although ...

But, even if my 8 cells pack was working well, this pack will give me some issue.
As LiFe can give a 1C current -or/and more-, when lead batteries can't, I had issue with the input connector of my power modul. Too much amps, so heat.
I have had to make a modification on this input connector.
To have the same power with less current, not many option: P = U x I.
So, increasing voltage, I can have the same power with less current.
It's why I installed my 2 spare cells, having a total of 10 cells providing 35V when full charged @ 3.55v.
Over 35V, an error is wrote in the PM (it's more an information than an error); but it's not affecting any thing until voltage is not over 40V, dixit Curtiss Wright.
So, I could even charge each cell @ 3.60V without any worry. But don't need.

This configuration is giving me all what I needed: power and endurance.
The weight difference with the stock configuration X8 is still around 40kg lighter. And, because I made an other frame for my seat/footrest, in aluminium instead of steel (and also some other weight reduction), the actual weight vs the one last summer is the same: less than 125kg. So, good !

Some here will, maybe, don't understand why with 10 x 230A I need to carry the X12 charger, even if it's very light (remember, weight is my enemy !).
It's only because of what I'm doing with my X8 is very very atypical. The area where I hike are very difficult, very far from roads, and sometime -or often- the paths where I hike, are broken. Sometime just after 1 hour, sometime after 6, 8 or 10 hours hiking. So I never know how long will be my hike. Sleeping a night in summer above 2000m ASL is not an issue. In winter, above 1200m ASL you're frozen -dead- in the morning.
I also noticed when outside temperature is below -15°C, endurance of LiFe fall down for around 20%.

I made too some modifications on the wiring sytem of the 4 motors and other minor one.

Since a week I've a second X8; bought it for 1000€. It's less than 5 years old, full options even if I don't need them.
I've some ideas about some improvment especially for the steering system wich is all except easy to use in confined or tiny hikes path.

Here is my small experience about my X8F+ LR (!), about LiFe cells, about some chargers, tires. If it can helps, that's fine.


Fred.

Power wheelchair is a fantastic way to continuing life when you're desabled.
But, sport is also very important.
It's why when I'm not hiking, I do racing wheelchair and handbike.
 

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Fred, i can't respond at length right now, but wanted to say I am glad to see your post.

I am very sorry about your girl friend. I am also sorry to hear you have ALS. I suspected that might be the case when we we convesing on the other forum.

I look forward to hearing more about you "x8".

Steve
 
It appears that you are truly looking forward to every new day! Kudos to you
 
That is brilliant Fred. Thanks so much for sharing.

Steve, I hope you’re doing okay. Haven’t heard much from you lately.
 
Thanks everybody for your kudos or message.
If what I share can be useful for others, my goal will be reached.

Yesterday a quick hike not far from home, when ski-runs are closed.
X8 is really a fantastic way for us to explore wild/remote places.

3 attached photo has no connection with my thread, only to give those who can some -good- idea.
It was exactly 2 years ago, just before this pandemic.
HUge remembers in my heart.
Surely, some will recognize this fantastic place.

Have a good day.

Fred.
 

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Hi, everyone.
Today, X8F+LR and me, are voluntary worker for a nordic ski race in my village.
A nice opportunity to help others and showing even in a wheelchair we can help/do a lot and more ! It's not so obvious in french mentality.

I'll try to send you photo.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Fred.

So cold but so good !
 

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