My Invacare TDX SP2 NB Powerchair: 5 Years On

Today marks five years since my newest electric wheelchair, the TDX SP2 NB by Invacare arrived at my home.

In that time, I have had good and bad things happen with it.

The main “drive” wheel is in the centre of the wheelchair so it makes turning much easier than in my other wheelchairs with 4 wheels. I can turn the TDX SP2 NB by myself without fear of bumping into things as long as I am far enough away from them in the first place. So this is helpful for anyone with spatial awareness difficulties like me.

The electrical features (tilt, recline, seat elevation and electrical legrest) which I can also control by myself but with some difficulty with a joystick control (but I eventually get there). This is such a relief as before I used to have to wait for someone to adjust the angles of the backrest and footrests manually and the angles weren’t always right for me.

The fact that the chassis (frame) of the TDX SP2 NB can take both specialist molded seating as well as “off the shelf” options. Choosing seating was difficult for me as backrests were either too low or did not have enough lateral control.

I am using my Sunrise Medical Jay 3 Deep Contour shoulder height back rest as well as my Deep Contour 2 air chamber cushion from the Jay 3 range which is just so comfortable and supportive because of the hard foam base for support and the Roho air insert. This is the first cushion I don’t slip with and I don’t feel unstable with it.

There are Invacare headrest options but I am still using my OttoBock combination head and neckrest which I had on my other chair.

My wheelchair has 30 degrees of backrest recline as well as 30 of tilt in space. I use them together and find they give the best positioning that way. Recline on it’s own is a good option for those who need just recline. I have tried using it on its own, and the movement is smooth but I find that I slip down the backrest and need to be physically lifted back up again by someone so I always combine it with tilt.

There is an option of 50 degrees tilt in space without backrest recline too which will have the chair lying almost flat when fully reclined. 30 degrees offers a good range of tilt and is great for relaxing watching a movie. I use this to stretch my body out too.

The backrest can go anywhere from straight to this position. The only time I have it straight is when I’m eating so I can use the dining room table for support (positioning the wheelchair right under it so reaching things is easier and I can use the table as an upper body support because otherwise I find this activity is difficult an another position.) Otherwise, I find the backrest being straight in other situations too uncomfortable. The backrest has positions that can be tailored to the user.

The legrest I have is the LNX legrest which is electrically controlled. Before I had a chair with an electric leg rest, I found I got no relief from leg spasticity as there was nowhere to rest my legs. My legs would fall to one side and back off the footrests.

The legrest is centrally located on the whelchair, so this means that it doesn’t catch on things or bump into them when the chair is turned and is more compact. Calf pads provide support to the legs. These are made of a hard material orginally which is not uncomfortable but after five years the covers on mine were starting to crack so I now have custom covers which are much more protective.

I did have some problems years ago with a strange noise coming from the legrest but that went away after lubricating the moving parts better.

The cracking thing happened with the leatherette covers I chose which were part of the soft arm rest option.These are very thin. I chose soft arm rests since I get pressure sores with hard ones. I now have custom arm rests as well.

I have had problems with the control option we picked which is a G90 joystick for years and which I have documented on my blog. I am someday hoping to get a control more suited to my needs as people have to move the chair for me much of the time. There are many special controls available. The control is good as it has brightly colored buttons but I don’t get benefit from a joystick control because of the precise hand movement and strength needed.

The wheels are strong and durable I have a pneumatic central wheel but there is an option of a solid one. The castors are all solid. The suspension system is excellent.

I choose pneumatic tyres if I can as solid ones mean a bumpy ride for me and make my pain levels worse as well as spasticity.

My chair is 6km/h but there’s a 10 km/h option for motors which will hopefully be an option for the future for me.

I don’t have lights yet but there’s an option for them. A few years after I got my chair, Invacare bought out an updated version with black tyres and different frame colour options. Mine is Transparent Purple which is pretty dark but which I like and the purple option now is Grape Jelly Bean which is brighter. More colours are available but I adore purple so picked that.

Overall I recommend this chair because it’s smooth and responsive. It can take different positioning accessories such as belts and harnesses.

Control Problems on  Invare G90A Joystick

This weekend has been good but also frustrating because from yesterday afternoon my powerchair has been out of action. The chair is an Invacare TDXSP2 NB (Narrow Base) chair. 

I’ve contacted the technician and am hoping he can help. After 2 years 5 months with the chair, I love it. Except now I can’t use it. 

I made this video to illustrate what’s wrong.The control is a G90A joystick. 

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This is the first control I’ve had on the chair and it is controlled by others much of the time because I don’t have much strength in my hands arms and fingers. I’m looking at alternate controls but what’s going on with it  is still annoying.