I’ve finally gotten around to tearing down the two power chairs that I rescued from the dumpster. The Jazzy chair (pictured in the first two shots) was complete, so we just took off the chair and the cover to get to the chassis and guts that you see here. I tried plugging it in overnight but got no movement from it. The lights under the joystick were happy to blink at me, but other than that there was no activity. The left side motor (pictured here) is fairly covered with rust, and the lever the moves it from “freewheel” to “geared” is very hard to move, but still works. This motor may have issues and I’ll likely tear it down for a closer look
The second chair was much less complex (no ‘suspension’ like the Jazzy has) and came apart with a basic nut driver screwdriver and some Allen and Torx bits. The motors, batteries and control circuits all look really good and things don’t appear any worse for the time in the rain.
My current thinking is to begin with a joystick controlled lawnmower that I can just follow behind and control while it mows. This will allow me to at least prove the concept. At that point I can work on replacing the joystick with some form of interface to a receiver. I’ve seen at least one other blog where someone has done this, and it appears to lower the complexity of the build quite a bit. The plan is to essentially remove the wheels from the mower and build a frame for the drive assembly, then mount the mower in the frame.
Next steps will be trickle-charging all of the batteries to see if they’ll hold a charge, then motor testing and repair (if needed). After that I’ll decide which set of control circuitry to use and begin building the frame.Watch this space for updates!