The SmartDrive MX2+ is a rear power add-on for manual wheelchairs (I have a Quickie Argon 2). It provides users with additional power, enabling them to travel/propel further than if they were entirely reliant on their own strength. To turn on the SmartDrive you simply double tap the smartwatch it comes with and the unit will start accelerating, then single tap to lock in the speed you want, and finally double tap to turn the SmartDrive off. It also comes with a switch button that you can attach to your frame and use instead of the watch.
Around 6 Hours Of Intermittent Use
Source of Item:
Lifestyle & Mobility
The SmartDrive is almost fantastic. The concept is amazing and it has opened up the world around me, something no other device has done for me. Unlike other power add-ons, it is lightweight and easy to attach/detach from the rear of your chair (once you have the knack). It immediately allowed me to independently post a letter for the first time in years. To go into town with a friend who didn’t have to push me once, which was a first in my 6 years of wheelchair use. To no longer worry about being stranded as I did before. I truly would not be without it.
It is designed for solid level ground rather than offroading, but I have found it can handle small hills and grass just fine. The battery life of the unit is around 6 hours of intermittent use which is more than enough for me to spend a day out somewhere.
However, the SmartDrive has one big downside, which is the smartwatch you use to control it. It sucks, to put it bluntly. The battery life is about 2 hours while the SmartDrive’s is about 6, so it runs out far too quickly. It is also massively inaccurate and frequently starts when you don’t want it to and disengages at random moments. The whole experience is frustrating, to say the least, not to mention dangerous when it suddenly launched me into the road at an ever-increasing speed. To new users, I would say don’t even bother with the watch and just use the button to control it. This is because the buttons are connected to the main unit with a wire rather than relying on Bluetooth like the watch, which makes them 100x more reliable.
It attaches to most chairs via a bracket mounted on the axle, which only took a few minutes to install. The main unit then hooks over this bracket. It’s worth noting that this involves a lot of crouching down until you get the hang of it, which I found difficult. I have also not been able to master attaching or detaching the device whilst sitting in my chair.
Over the last few weeks I have had the chance to trial the new SmartDrive SpeedControl Dial and, to put it simply, it is amazing. (Thank you so much to Pete from Nexus for this opportunity). The dial attaches to the frame of my chair and is plugged into the main unit via a wire. This makes it so much more reliable than the watch that worked via Bluetooth. Fundamentally, I trust it to start and stop when I want to – no more being thrown out into traffic by a SmartDrive that has randomly activated. It is simple to use – turn it forward to go faster and backwards to go slower. You can stop in an emergency by hitting the side of the dial. Using the dial means I can use the SmartDrive inside as I can easily control the speed and quickly and reliably turn it on and off as needed. When I was using the watch, I simply didn’t have the fine control needed to use the SmartDrive in close quarters. With the dial, you can change speed as you go along, again something you couldn’t do with the watch. This means you can easily match the speed of the person you are walking with or behind without constantly stopping and starting. This feature is so useful, as I can go faster when on easy terrain and then slow down for tight turns etc without having to completely stop. The dial also never runs out of battery thanks to its wired design – this is in stark comparison to the watch that ran out of juice after 2 hours.
Overall, the SpeedControlDial is a game changer for the SmartDrive. It feels like how the SmartDrive is meant to be used – I am working with it easily rather than fighting it every step of the way.