MS Device, power wheelchairs, Tips

Power Wheelchair Footplate Hack

A problem I have with my Golden Lite/Envy power wheelchair is with the footplate. No matter how it is adjusted, the footplate does not stay flipped up.  This makes it difficult to get in and out of the seat. It can even hurt if the footplate falls on your ankle or scraps your calf. 

As a temporary fix I had been using a bungee cord looped through the footplate handle and hooked to a metal bar under the seat. Occasionally the bungee’s hooks would snag my wheelchair’s basket or something in my basket or decide to drag on the floor catching on furniture, door frames, and floor speed bumps. Finding a permanent fix finally bubbled up to the top of my to do list.

Initially, my plan was to build out a magnet catch for the flipped up foot plate. Once I figured out I would use scrap 2×4 wood and where and how I would attach it to the power chair, I started looking to see what size magnet was needed. Good thing I tried a small plain magnet from the refrigerator collection. That cold, metal foot plate is not attracted to magnets! Errr!

Plan B, velcro strips. I would super glue the soft velcro to the foot plate and the stiff grabber velcro to the wood.

Cut wood, paint brush, velcro tape, and scissors.
Cut wood, paint brush, velcro tape, and scissors.

Materials needed: 2×4 scrap wood; a pen; a saw; sand paper; black paint to match the power chair post; paint brush; black velcro tape; scissors; and finally super glue.

We marked on the wood scrap the distance between where it would be glued to the chair out to the flipped up foot plate. We also marked our desired post height. The post was then cut out with a saw, sanded smooth, and painted black. A vice to hold the wood while you saw would be helpful.

Once the wooden post was dry, we super glued on a strip of stiff grabber velcro. We cut the velcro strap to wrap across the whole post end and onto each side by about a half inch for strength.

Power chair foorplate with velcro strip.
Power chair foorplate with velcro strip.

The soft velcro was cut to about a 4 inch strip and super glued to the foot plate where it could connect to the other strip. We designed the velcro connection to be at the footplate handle. Our wooden post would go up to the main chair seat shaft and rest on an existing post.

After the velcro strips’ glue was set, the wooden post was super glued in place. I recommend using a rubber band or two to hold the post until set.

Wood post painted black with a velcro strip attached. The post is glued to power chair post.
Wood post painted black with a velcro strip attached. The post is glued to power chair post.

Next I will work on making it easier to raise the footplate on my vehicle power chair and maybe even adding secure, accessible storage too! Or, maybe I’ll be busy with more AT Driving lessons.

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