It only makes sense that before you can repair a lift chair, you need to have a pretty good idea of what’s wrong with it… There are several ways to go about this (some better than others)… One method is just guess what part you need; sort of a “warm feeling”; Another method would be to ask someone you know for their opinion, maybe your neighbor’s third cousin’s fishing buddy… Those choices might work out, but most likely would lead to a lot of wasted time and frustration. Or, you could spend a little time using an electrical meter, our notes on these pages, and a little common sense, and in most cases, have your chair back working again. We developed the following section to help you with figuring out what may be wrong, and what needs to be done to repair your chair. Please remember that this is only a guide, and is not intended to be the only solution, or even the correct solution, for every problem. This is based on what we have learned in over twenty four years experience “in the real world” repairing lift chairs in our service area, and from feedback we have received from our customers across the country.
In most cases, there is no need to call a technician in to repair a lift chair; the problems listed here can easily be completed in the home by almost anyone (please keep in mind that the last statement was made by a service technician that made his living by doing service calls…). Even if you buy more parts than what you really need, it will still be cheaper than paying for a service call… We hope the information is helpful in your situation.
Although there are differences in the major manufacturers of power lift chair bases, the general principles of lift chair operation are the same. They all use a lift motor to operate a lift mechanism mounted by scissor arms to the wooden chair frame. Internal to the motor is an acme screw/worm gear system that pushes the chair to the lift position and pulls the chair to recline. When the actuator is fully extended, the chair is in the full upright position; when the motor is fully retracted, the chair is in the fully reclined position.
This guide is broken down into five sections, based on what brand the motor and other electronics the chair has. Just click on the drop down menu on the electrical system you have, or on the links at the bottom of this page, for detailed information on that system. Knowing the manufacturer of the chair is helpful, and it is one of the first questions I usually ask, but even knowing that, we still need to know what electronics that manufacturer used when they built your chair. For instance, Pride Mobility, the largest manufacturer of lift chairs in the USA, has at some point used all five of the motor sets described below. The motor information should be on a sticker on the side of the motor. Turn the chair over on its side, see if you can find that information (you may have to stand on your head to see it…), then check below for the most common problems and possible solutions.
One other point, and then you can go to work; these tips were written for someone with general electrical knowledge and a good dose of common sense… The suggestions will be “way over the head” of some who attempt these checks, and it will be elementary and boring to others who have been diagnosing electrical problems for years… I wrote these as if I was coming into your home on a service call, with a small set of tools and gadgets to work with, and without the thousands of dollars of inventory I have at my shop that I could use to swap parts around to see what the problem is. I realize that this section may fall under the “if all else fails, read the instructions…” category, but that is the concept anyway.
If, after reading the suggestions below, you still can’t figure out what is wrong, or if you just don’t want to deal with figuring out what the problem is, you can send the complete electrical system (motor, transformer, hand control, power cord) to us here in Tennessee, and because we are all-around nice guys, we will check it out for you free of charge; all you would pay is for the parts needed plus return shipping for the system. Feel free to sent it down to us for checking (please insure the package in case of loss), just please put a note in the box describing the problem you are having, and a contact number so we can call you with what we find (even if you have called before you sent it, I will have slept a night or two and will have forgotten what we talked about (I’m like a duck – it’s a “new world every day”…)
A note about calling in for assistance: I am hesitant to write this, but for my own sanity (or what’s left of it…) I must say this, and I say it in the most gentle way that I can: We have spent untold hours compiling these troubleshooting tips, and even more hours revising and adding to the notes below. Yet, every day, many times a day, someone will call in and ask a questions that is clearly explained in the steps below. When I ask if they have gone through the steps in the troubleshooting section, the general response I get is “I saw all that, but I thought it would be easier to just call”… We have been doing this for a long time, and have gotten pretty good at it, but for the life of me, we can’t be as good about finding what the problem is when we are 500 miles away as you can sitting next to the chair. I say all that to say this: please go through the troubleshooting steps below before you call in for help. If, after you go through the section below, you still can’t figure out the problem, then let us know and we will be glad to help.