Magnetic Power Cable Makes Mobility Scooter Much Better

Sometimes, you have to wonder what major manufacturers of assistive tech are thinking when they design their products. [Niklas Frost]’s father has MS and uses an electric mobility scooter to get around. It’s a good solution to a terrible problem, except it stops short of the most important part — the charging scheme. Because of the aforementioned mobility issues, [Niklas]’s father can’t plug and unplug it without assistance. So much for independence.

And so [Niklas] gave it some thought and came up with an incredibly easy way that Dad can charge his scooter. It’s even non-intrusive — all it took was a handful of off-the-shelf components and some 3D printed parts to make what’s essentially an extension cord between the charger and the scooter. Really, there’s nothing more to it than three 10 A magnetic connectors, an XLR female port, an XLR male connector, and some very helpful plastic.

Something interesting to note: [Niklas] spent a year or so tinkering with a robot that could drive the plug over to the charger and plug it in. A book on the subject made him destroy that robot, however, when he realized that he was being driven more by cool technologies than solving the problem at hand. Within a few days of changing course, [Niklas]’ dad was charging his own scooter.

Now, if [Niklas] wants to see about making the scooter move a whole lot faster, we have just the thing.

10 thoughts on “Magnetic Power Cable Makes Mobility Scooter Much Better

  1. The scooter manufacturer was thinking they didn’t want to significantly increase their testing and regulatory burden. For a manufacturer to design a new electrical connector is quite expensive.

    They should have done it anyway, of course.

    1. How do you mean?
      Rosenberger makes magnetic charging connectors intended for, among others, electric scooters (RoPD). Maybe the scooter in question predates these, though.

    2. They wouldn’t need to design a truly new connector. They could use the existing contacts style of an appropriately high-current connector, but then place it in some sort of housing, and an equivalent mating housing on the other side, which makes bringing the internal connectors together easy. Imagine a typical plug and socket, but in a housing where you roughly align the housing together, then turn a handle and internally it self aligns before pushing the plug in to the socket. Existing connector design from an electrical perspective, new outer housing to simplify alignment and provide the appropriate force for connecting/ejecting.

    3. I don’t think any response is complete, which doesn’t acknowledge the inelasticity of demand for any accessibility product. is it just that they didn’t want to spend more money? or is it that they have basically no incentive to make a product that goes beyond making your life only marginally better?

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