My mother has a stair lift with hand controls, and it comes with two remotes -- one for each level of the house. If someone in the house uses the lift to go downstairs, you can use a remote to retrieve the chair. During a recent visit, the battery in one of the remotes died.
Removing the battery cover was simple enough. However, the 9V battery clip was a rigid board mounted unit unlike the twin lead wire units used in less expensive consumer electronics. There was insufficient room in the battery compartment to disconnect and remove the battery by hand. The installation of a new battery was even trickier, requiring alignment of the terminals in 2 axis with gravity being used to hold the final alignment with the terminals. Then, the battery had to be snapped into the connector using a screwdriver (or some other type of pry bar).
This chair is commonly used by elderly or infirmed residents who live in a multi-story house (note the design with Braille labeling on the remote). What are the chances that the person needing a battery changed will have the eyesight or dexterity to perform the tasks described above?
These chairs are not inexpensive and require more than the casual home repairman to complete a costly installation, only to be put on the sidelines by a dead battery and poor design.
This entry was submitted by Don Hediger and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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