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John Williamson


Pride's Quantum "Rehab" R-4000 + R-4400 Powerchairs.(Athena). The R-4000 and R-4400 are Rear Drive "Full Sized" Powerchairs.   PowerChair ONLY Menu HERE

It is one of the few Powerchairs worthy of any consideration by Adult Paraplegic, Quadriplegic (and other) "All day" full time serious active Powerchair Users. As such it needs to be good!  If I wanted a Pride Power Wheelchair THIS is the one I would get. Not all options are available in every country.

R4000, R4400 Pride Quantum Rehab Powerchair

Like all modern Powerchairs it will need to be properly re-programmed and set up to suit its user.

Or it will feel like the "steering" is connected by some loose rubber bands at best, And to give it a little acceleration performance and some sort of accurate slow speed control and some usable when you want it "torque". 

Unfortunately this kind of woolly delayed action unpredictable  response to the controls is common in almost all modern Powerchairs. It makes them "soft" or "safe" for the incapable or those with little control ability.  And a pig to steer for any relatively capable active user.   Want more evidence of prides "programming issues"? Read this ...

It can be fixed easily enough though by simple reprogramming, but not by the usual "end user" level programmers commonly found and used by supposed providers and tech guys. This applies to every single chair I have ever tested or used though, regardless of the manufacturer, not just this one! 

You need access to the OEM or equivalent lower level engineering programming tools and someone that understands them to fix this on every powerchair. Otherwise you will never see the full potential that the chair offers. Especially this one. You probably think your chair drives fine!  Well that's because you don't know how good they actually "can" be and have nothing that steers and moves properly to compare it to! See programming

Back to this chair, I have personally only tried one variation of the R4000 chair. recommended to me by the dealer because it had the best "torque" or power level of the various packages. And that person knows what I like!  It was the 4 Pole, 6mph version, with although with the standard 70 amp control system. (A 100 amp version is also available too at extra cost and is well worth paying)

 The Pride Q-Logic control is really a just a rebranded Curtis Mc-2 100 amp system. At least as far as we can tell. It may have pride specific firmware though.

And whilst it is difficult to really tell by "feel" alone, due to the aforementioned "soft" and very delayed steering and acceleration programming settings as standard, it seems to be very borderline on power (torque) in some circumstances.

That is not really surprising though. My own Powerchair has similar gearing, motors, batteries and NEEDS its100 Amp controller (rather than 70 amp one as this chair has by default) to perform adequately. More would sometimes be nice too as my Clamp Amp Meter tells me my own chair regularly hits the 100 amp limit. See TOP END Control Systems though as its not so simple to compare different manufacturers systems...

This chair struggles with thresholds and ramps even with the slower speed / high torque 4 pole 6mph motors (which are around 20 percent better / more "powerful" than the 8mph "Hammer" motors are.  (8mph not available in the UK anyway technically) When both are using the biggest 100 Amp controller option. If you want lots of torque then the 5 mph geared (Hammer) motors are available which will give you this. But then obviously its going to be too slow!  6mph (just over) is the best compromise of torque / speed - and with the biggest 100 amp control system option for most normal sized adults on a reasonably mixed terrain / use / range. Its a compromise.

No way I could possibly live with one of these powerchairs personally though, after using my own home re-engineered powerchair which has evolved over the last 12 years. But most people don't have this luxury and need to choose a stock Powerchair from the few half decent ones that ARE available...

The 4 pole 6 mph version SHOULD be the most "powerful" (best torque) for heavy users apart from the unbearably  slow 4.5 mph Hammer motor version and yet it still struggles to climb the ramp into my van or over the small step (threshold) into the local pub!  At least from a standstill.  And while still having some positive steering control.  It makes accurate entry to the pub or my van very difficult and unpredictable & results in lots of  extra dents and scratches  and battered fingers compared to real control I have with my existing powerchair. 

That would be rectified HOPEFULLY with the optional 100 Amp controller option (rather than the 70 amp stock) that this chair had. As long as it was correctly programmed though.  Stock programming is awful. Even worse than most...

My own powerchair (100 Amps, group 24 (34) AGM batteries, but Properly Programmed, also 6.2mph and 4 pole positively leaps over such obstacles at will and under positive accurate control do so by just touching lightly on the controls and with complete predictability.  No struggle and no wait to "see" if its going to move like the Pride (Quantum) powerchair!  It easily climbs ramps (MUCH!) steeper than my vans with absolute full control. Such a huge difference (lack of torque and steering control) I didn't expect from just the 30 amp difference in control system.

I think the 100 amp upgrade is pretty much essential, along with some radical & careful re programming, especially if you are heavy (nearer the 300lb limit) on the 6mph version of this chair for some sensible & safe control capability. As standard its criminally bad...

And if you are heavy, expect or need some decent range, a sensible amount of real torque and control, then absolutely avoid the 8mph version with "Hammer" motors. They offer about 20 percent LESS power/torque than the 6mph version. And its bad enough already.  Fortunately for us here in the UK its not available with these anyway. I only found this out after trying to order a set of motors to speed up someone else's chair to 8mph...

They have to have less torque though because they are still using the same 100 Amp control system as I would want on the 6 mph chair, but with 20 percent taller gearing. Although not all control systems ARE the same

It will suck power out of the batteries faster too due to that taller gearing and limit your range/battery longevity. If the 6 mph version needs the 100 amp control system with a normal / well built adult (and really it does) then the 8 mph version with its taller gearing needs yet more amps to give the same torque level... And you cant have more as they only offer 100 Amp max and its just not enough. And Group 24 Gel batteries really have no more to give anyway at this point!  They are already "stretched" with a "conventional" 6mph 100 Amp setup.

How do I know? Because basic and pretty simple Physics tells me so!  I am an engineer. And also through experience and trial and error! I don't drive a desk, I build and make things and experiment lots.

In more detail: Because 8mph motors must use TALLER gearing to get the speed which reduces the torque available at the wheel by the same amount as the speed increases - about 20 to 25 percent in this case.  It doesn't matter if the motor has more power potentially either (bigger motor) as they have only got the same 100 amps maximum available to work with from the controller.

And because I have tested a good few 8mph powerchairs in the past... Which tells me exactly the same thing. To successfully use 8mph you need 100 amp hour batteries, and a control system that can deliver considerably more than 100 amps. Some can. not all control systems ARE the same

That 100 amps is not really quite enough even on a good 6 mph chair in some very difficult situations, so 20 to 25 percent less torque on an 8mph chair is much worse in difficult high torque dependent situations like on ramps etc.

Backed up by many e-mails I receive on this sticky subject.  Which includes this R4400 chair and many other faster than 6mph / 8mph ones. Plus I tried a set of 8mph motors on my own chair years ago. Soon removed for the very same reasons!  Update. Tested an 8mph chair again recently (not this chair). And it is lacking power much as expected.

We all want more speed, but its just not always a good idea!   Although it also depends on the type (manufacturer) of control system And batteries.

However If you are skinny (14 year old girl?) AND live somewhere reasonably flat, without too many hills, ramps, curbs, etc and don't very far each day, tend to avoid any grass or off road stuff and thick carpets indoors then absolutely go for the 8mph version. 

Because under these circumstances it will be excellent.  If your situation is the exact opposite to this then go for the 6 mph (with 4 pole motors) and the 100 amp control system. And still don't expect miracles!  Batteries are still the weakest link.  

The 8mph version may STILL be OK even if you are heavy and you understand its limitations. Its all a balance / compromise. You need to choose.

If you are 103, never go very far, don't expect very much from a chair, sit in front of the fire all day long then get the 70 Amp version with slowest speed. Or better still get one of these! or similar!

Its difficult to figure out the differences between Athena / R4000 / R4400  versions of this chair exactly other than the obvious default 4.5mph or 4 pole 6mph differences. The different speed packages (motor/gearbox ratios) are available on both models though so why have two?  Don't get it... Must be some US insurance/ classification thing...

In the UK its called Athena and is 6 mph only.  All of Prides (Quantum) Powerchairs are available in a mass of overlapping models, features and configurations. You need to ignore all the names and try to just figure out what you actually need mechanically.

And they have hundreds of confusing names for things.   E.g. Quantum (still Pride?) Q-Logic (no idea), Tru-Balance? (just a name for some common sense engineering as far as I can see) SYNERGY (no idea! Something to do with seat cushions?) Marketing gone mad. Just leaves everyone confused.

It is a little wider and longer than it really needed to be. That is its Longer and Wider than my own powerchairs which is crazy since they also have huge fat easy riding comfortable (outdoors) tyres with some off road beach/sand capability too. The Quantum chairs Athena / R4000 / R4400 should & could be narrower than mine!  And shorter.  Every inch or part of an inch really matters indoors and in confined spaces like vans / loos, homes / restaurants etc. 

It has the usual "hit every door frame" swing away footrests. Although a single central platform may be an option (check if available as it probably is as prides options are very involved and comprehensive) and it looks a lot "nose heavy".  Don't worry sir, unless you make some modifications to move the seat back they are all like that as the manufacturers are scared to death someone will tip out of the back on steep upward slopes/ramps... Personally I prefer the control, steering and wheelies that a rearward C of G allows.

This also causes the front casters to sink in snow/sand and the steering and control is compromised slightly. As is range as you have a greater tendency to head for the gutter (down towards the edge) when on any non level road, pavement etc.

The chairs motors then have to waste energy fighting this due to the forward C of G.  That's another reason why my own chair has a very rearward C of G

Rear anti tips often leave the drive wheels in fresh air as they are much too long and low.  But for good outdoor use this is still the best Pride/Quantum powerchair. The Q6000 etc are pretty useless outdoors in comparison. And there really isn't that much difference indoors either.

Tyres (Tires) These are great sizes for indoors as well as reasonably good outdoors on a rear drive powerchair on smooth or reasonable surfaces. With 14 inch wheels on the rear (3.00 x 8 tyre) these work great indoors and out on smooth pavements and carpets alike but unfortunately much of the world isn't smooth and this can be a problem with almost every modern powerchair.

The front casters are 9 inch diameter which means they are quite big so they are reasonably capable outdoors compared to other chairs with smaller casters.  See tyres and Solid or Pneumatic? to know what you really need!

10 inch casters are better still outdoors though (3.00 x 4 tyres) and the extra width and diameter is better on uneven surfaces or sand/snow. Shame it doesn't come with these.  You may be able to fit these later on. Not sure but it may be possible. If anyone has done so let me know!

In a rear drive powerchair like this Pride Quantum Athena / R4000 / R4400  these 2 larger caster wheels seldom cause any problem indoors compared to a 6 wheeler or centre wheel drive chair as Its easy to predict or even see where they are or will swivel or move to as you manoeuvre in a tight spot.

Mid drive, front drive, 6 wheel platform powerchairs all need too many extra wheels sticking out in all corners, and behind you so these types of chairs usually use much smaller caster wheels to try and keep them "small" enough indoors so the casters don't go hitting everything all around you as you manoeuvre.  Leaving them at a disadvantage outdoors where they hit every bump or in snow etc where they are awful. (Powerchairs and Snow)

If I didn't have my own 3 Custom Home Built Powerchairs then one of these Athena / R-4000 / R-4400 chairs would definitely still be on my list to check out in more detail though! 

The only fly in the ointment really is that from the rear (or the rear quarter) it is plain pig ugly! 

With a great big battery box sticking out of the rear like its taking a dump. This alone would probably stop me buying one.

Why do manufacturers not "get" this aesthetics thing? 

Who wants to drive about looking like the battery (or worse) is hanging out the back? 

Plus it gets in the way as you reverse in some situations indoors (hits my bed when reversing from my computer) along with the oversized anti tip wheels that are too near the outside edge, forming "corners", too low, and too long. 

On my own fat tyred rear drive chair I moved them further inboard out of the way and higher and shorter. It makes for better indoor capability and so they don't get hung up on curbs etc.

And be very careful. With SOME seating options (there are MANY options and combinations available here) the batteries are smaller!  To allow the mechanism to fit. You really NEED group 24 (not smaller group 34) batteries if you have Gel batteries. If you are to have any sensible range or battery longevity (due to average depth of discharge issues) or torque. The only option if you HAVE to have group 34 batteries are the superior Odyssey D34 batteries. These can provide the amps this chair needs.  Most of the adjustable seat options leave you sitting about 2 floors higher! Find out the details before you order.

The suspension (another confusing Pride marketing name "Sport Trac") is like all powerchair suspension, pretty useless. We don't travel fast enough for it to work. And it does not have enough movement. Run over a rock. You feel it right?  I certainly do. Goes right through me. Hurts like hell! With or without this "suspension". Well that's because the suspension cant really work at such low speed and small wheels/rocks etc.  ADDED 2nd July 10: After a closer look I can see NO suspension at all!!!  They have to be kidding?

Compared to say big fat balloon style tyres that simply deform around the rock or object where you just don't feel it.  See much of the world isn't smooth And why I chose to throw away the suspension on my own home built/redesigned powerchairs and fit these...  And still its narrower.

And for outdoor use on serious sand or snow then forget it!  It has only 2.6 inches of clearance!  That means if your (skinny 3 inch rear tyres and narrower smaller 9 inch casters) sink into the snow or the sand you are beached!  And going nowhere. Only solid ground for this powerchair.

I read on an "experts" forum recently that said this was because to get a low seat height of 16 and 7/8th (almost 17inches) with group 24 batteries there was no choice. Wrong!  Its just bad design.  Inches wasted. The seat bases are too thick, and the battery free space above is too great or something.

The tallest Group 24 batteries are about 10.5  inches tall (225mm).  If we allow 4 inches of ground clearance (like my own chair has). 1/8th inch for the battery floor material. 1 inch clearance between the top of these batteries and the seat frame we get 15.5 inches. The seat on my Group 24 Powered Powerchair CAN be set at 16 inches with the stock seating.  If I made a slimmer seat base I could reduce that by another inch...  Although I set it at 18 since I have long legs... 

So I have almost double the ground clearance of this Pride Powerchair. And that's WITH some big fat tyres with lots of floatation so I don't sink in snow or sand either... And its still narrower too!

But you cant buy mine. I keep mentioning it to show what IS possible if they tried, so as to help you choose a chair to suit your requirements. And to try and wake up the industry "experts" a bit.  The manufacturers don't seem to try too hard to achieve the same things.

This chair all in all is pretty good though DESPITE my criticism, compared to other bought chairs, other than a few minor issues and that ugly backside! 

Ugly Bum... I have never seen so much "designed by committee" mess on one rear end! Just look at it. They never heard of "clean lines" or finish. Looks like a ships boiler room. A mass of pipes, wires, plastic boxes, and the worst bit, a huge battery box sticking out of the back!  Some of this "ugly" is caused by the "rehab" multi adjustable seat, which means the batteries are smaller (lower) and the seat higher still, But you get this battery box sticking out in the way regardless. Be careful what you order! >>>  

Compare this "nose heavy" side view with battery box hanging out to my own chair here to see what's really possible with the same sized batteries.

Why do you suppose there isn't a single picture of its rear in any brochures? (or the web)   These are thanks to a reader!

Its still well worth a look if you are interested in a full time, full sized top end powerchair It has to be good to make it onto my pages at all! I may be critical but most of the rest are not even worth looking at. Other than this one here reviewed just for its comedy value!

If I ordered one of these I would definitely order some means of re-programming it properly myself, the 100 amp controller option, 6 mph 4 pole motors and fit 10 inch casters (or just tyres if there room) if they will fit easily once the original tyres wore out for even better outdoor capability.

Burgerman

 

 


Specifications
 
My Comment (white)

Maximum Speed    
6 Mph 
(About right! Faster is worse for both Torque and Range)
Also 5 Mph
(with cheaper 2 pole motors I suspect although 4 pole hammer motors are also available)
8 Mph (A step too far if you are heavy or need some Torque - OK if light!) Not in UK unless you know how!

Range  
 
Up to 20 Miles
(claimed for all variants which cannot be true!)   
Read about Range!


Weight Capacity  
300 lbs
Product Width   Wider "just" than my own  
25.5 Inches
Slightly wider than my own All Terrain tyre chair and that has 12 inches of rubber. They are not trying!
Product Length  

42.5 inc footrests
 40 is better! (Mines 2.5 shorter with a very deep footrest)

And some interesting comments from a reader on length on my message board: Quantum R4000


Seat Width
 
 

Adjustable to 20 inches
Battery 

 

   
Group 24 full sized 
Good - less is useless unless in a slower chair or if you weigh very little. Don't get the group 34 ones - or if you do swap them for Hawker Odyssey ones...
Charging  
8 amp.
Industry standard size. OK for overnight very slow charging. 12 would be better. Batteries have moved on. Or even fast

And some interesting comments on length from a reader on my message board here: Quantum R4000

More info on this chair by other users here in this thread on my forum http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=289

Add your OWN Review, Pictures, or any comments you may have and read other peoples opinions about this R4400 or R4000 Powerchair here

See its mid drive sister!

 

 


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Detailed Full PowerChair Related ONLY Menu HERE

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