Category: Computer Accessories

Electric Wheelchair Power Socket

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DO IT YOURSELF ENTRY --- PURPOSE: To enable an individual with communication disabilities who uses a powered wheelchair to power a laptop computer with augmentative communication software using the wheelchair battery. Speech software was needed during school hours; however, the computer battery did not have sufficient capacity to meet the demand. To be heard in class, powered speakers were also needed, which further diminished operating time. A portable solution was necessary to enable the speech software to be used as needed. The wheelchair uses two 12-volt direct current (DC) high-capacity batteries wired in series. A standard cigarette lighter socket was used to tap power from one of the batteries and was mounted on the top of the battery case. Tapping the battery directly avoided both the electrical noise generated by the chair controller and the need to modify the chair's charging system. A standard 150-watt 12VDC-120VAC inverter was plugged into the cigarette lighter socket, allowing the chair battery to be used for the computer. A wooden box was mounted on the back of the chair to hold both the inverter and the power supply. This could also be used to power a cell phone or similar low-powered electrical device. The speakers had to be mounted facing forward and were easily removable, but did not extend past the chair wheels when mobile. A wooden box was used that the speakers dropped into, but were still easily removable. The front and back were cut out for the grille and wires. The box was mounted on a metal frame made from two pieces of three-quarter-inch flat steel stock. One piece was bent 90 degrees to support the speaker box. The two frame pieces were welded to a 3-inch hinge that allows speakers to swivel behind the chair when needed. The frames were attached to the chair using stainless steel hose clamps. TITLE: The Electric Wheelchair Power Socket. WEB SITE: Workshop Solutions at REF: The originator, Doug Brown, can be contacted at


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Electric Wheelchair Power Socket