Friday, March 23, 2012

Electrically Operated Lift Chair Dangers

My neighbor
across the street has 2 sweet elderly parents who ran a old fashioned Italian grocery store before they retired and now that there getting up in age they have developed joint problems and several years ago bought one of those electrically powered lift chairs to help get up and down from a sitting position.
It simply plugs into a 120 volt Ac outlet and has a small electric motor which operates the chair. Well couple weeks back
they had a breaker trip in there breaker panel which serves the chair at same time they had several other items on so it looked like a simple overload . I went and restored the breaker and the chair operated just fine with no apparent problems . Then he calls me couple days ago and says the chair goes up but not down , this has happened before it was a bad switch control could I check it out. I go over and start checking things and lift the chair to check all the connections and here to my horrors was the control cable stuck in the metal frame and that it had shorted out .This is what cased the problem 2 weeks back and despite the damage the chair kept operating.
But as you can see the cord is burned the chair very well could have caught fire.
which means this control cable has 120 volts AC running thru it. Not low voltage being transformed down like you would think because of the fact this cord could be caught and shorted causing a fire.
This is a very bad and very dangerous design the control cord should have low voltage being used for control purposes not 120 volts which can fray crack and rub and cause an electrocution to person using the chair.
I temporarily fixed the wire with proper butt splices and tape and have ordered a new cord and in mean time shown this cord to a Electrical engineer I work with occasionally who is involved in fires from electrical products for further investigation.
I am also looking to see if this chair might have been recalled as well.

1 comment:

  1. My mom has also been having joint problems, so sometimes she has trouble getting up from her chair. It's great that there are chairs made for people like my mom who have trouble getting out of a chair on their own. This will probably help her be able to sit and relax without relying on someone to move to a different position.