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Thread: Static from electric wheelchair

  1. #1
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    Static from electric wheelchair

    Ok, one of those strange things we just get used to, but would love to know if it affects anyone else.

    I use a power wheelchair at work, fairly standard model with joystick control. My job is quite busy, and I move around a lot using it. I seem to generate a lot of static electricity; people often jump (not literally, just move arm back quickly and comment) if they touch me (is it bad that this entertains me as people tend to touch my arm a lot - who knows why!) and I've realised I'm always careful touching lift buttons, etc because I can feel it if I touch the metal bit.

    Not a huge problem obviously. But curious to know if other people have the same experience?! I only use this chair at work.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Probably a combination of the material your tyres/castors are made from and the material the carpet at work is made from.

    Used to get a similar thing when wearing 'Doc Marten' style workboots in one particular office building.

    The 'rubber' of the soles of the boots (an acid resistant polymer, not rubber) rubbing on the 'Nylon' carpet meant that you could get sparks from the ends of your fingers when touching door handles, light switches, the tips of co-workers noses, etc.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  3. #3
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    Tips of co-workers noses...now there's an idea. I'm a bit low down sadly, but shall look for my moment!

    That's interesting to know; no carpets at my place and tyres are solid - won't be rubber but some sort of plastic. "Vinyl" type flooring.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I would guess that being an electrically powered chair the wheels are slipping slightly on the vinyl flooring, especially when turning corners, and it is this that is building up the static charge.

    Noses is just one good one; earlobes is another.
    (Be creative, but be careful of a harrasment charge. lol).
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Fliss perhaps it's your electric personality and natural spark - do your eyes light up at night I wonder!

    Here's something I found . . .

    Wheelchairs and Static Electricity Buildup:
    As mentioned above, static electricity is generated when objects of dissimilar substances move relative to each other. If one of the objects is nonconductive, such as the rubber wheels on your wheelchair, an electric charge can accumulate and produce sparks. To prevent the generation of the static charges or to drain off charges generated on an object, a conductive path must be insured. While, (to our knowledge), there are no grounding devices designed specifically for wheelchairs, it should not be a major problem to use a conductive device to achieve grounding. It is imperative, however, that all elements of the wheelchair system be grounded.
    You might try using a key or metal rod to touch something else that is metal before you touch it with your hand, or before you touch someone else. Touching the rod to a metal object (not your wheelchair) should drain off the excess charges, allowing you to avoid a shock. It may be inconvenient, but it is one solution. Another solution is to use a small chain fastened to the wheelchair or powerchair frame allowing the other end to brush the ground or floor. For wheelchair users who are constantly getting "zapped" apparelyzed.com has an informative article regarding Wheelchairs, Static Electricity and Electric Shocks.
    By taking the proper steps, you can reduce or prevent shocks from a buildup of static electric charges. There is little risk attached to electrostatic discharges, and in most cases they are just a nuisance, the biggest risk is that a sudden unexpected shock could cause you to have an accidental injury. For example, you might pull your arm back suddenly and hit it against something - or someone.

  6. #6
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    Nuke, they're used to a bit of harassment! Now realise I'm not being creative at all.....

    Interesting find Light, and useful to know. It definitely isn't enough of a problem to bother with any of these things, but will know what to do if it is!

  7. #7
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    Ooh yeah! I get static in certain shops....M&S, debenhams.....my son swears I'm a hazard when shopping! And the lift button in Debenhams - the loos were upstairs and i got shocked about 4 times!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    I get shocks too on lift buttons because of my walking frame.

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