Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad iBOT day

Today has not been a good iBOT day. I still
love my bot, but today I'm frustrated with
the tires. This will probably be a long post,
but I'm doing it mainly for my own personal
documentation. If you don't have an iBOT
yourself or you don't know much about it, the
following will probably be of no interest to

I called IT this morning to ask about switching
the clusters when there is a flat tire involved.
I asked them if there have been tests done to
see if, while switching the clusters, the bot
performs the same way with a flat as it does
when there isn't a flat. I've tested switching
the clusters with no flats, and it worked well.
I don't want to test it with a flat though
because I don't feel like being a crash test

IT didn't know if it has been tested. They also
didn't know how I could go about finding an
answer to my question. He looked up flat tire
information in the manual and it said that if you
get a flat, don't move the iBOT. It could "result
in serious injury or death". So, uh, what am I
supposed to do? Call AAA? Obviously you have to
move the bot when it has a flat. IT said the
only thing they could recommend I do is check the
tire pressure every day.

Since I didn't get my question answered (btw, IT
is always very nice and helpful, but they are
tech support only and they have nothing to do with
any sort of testing), I called a friend of mine
who also has an iBOT. He suggested I called
DEKA and talk to one of the engineers there. I
called. The person she transferred me to wasn't
at his desk so I left him a message to call me
back. I waited around for about an hour hoping
he'd call, but he didn't. I had to go to the
grocery store and so I left the house, in balance,
and went to the store which is approximately 15
blocks away. As I'm in the check-out line, the
lady behind me says, "It looks like you have
a flat." ARGGG! Not another flat. This is
getting old. I didn't know what to do because
my house and van were about 15 blocks from the
store. That's too far to roll on a flat. I
thought about switching the clusters, but I was
worried the bot might tip over or throw me out
if I attempted to do that. So I decided to go
down to 4-Wheel Function the normal way. Strangely,
it didn't shoot me forward like it did last time
I did that. It went to 4-Wheel and then Standard
with no issues. But there I was in the store
with a rear flat. My choices were, limp all
the way home which would definitely ruin the wheel,
go back into balance and force it to go into 4-wheel
by tipping it forward so that the clusters would
switch, or doing the stair climbing thing to switch
the clusters. I was nervous about trying either
one of the cluster switching ways because as I said
before, I don't know if the BOT would behave the
same way.

Lucky for me, my bf works in my neighborhood. I
called him and he met me at the store. He's been
trained on stair climbing and he's a mechanical
engineer, so I trusted he would know what would
be the best thing to do. We decided to use the
Stair-Climbing Function to switch the clusters.
I didn't do the stair climbing myself, he did
it. It worked. The clusters switched and I
rolled home in Standard Function with the flat
tire in the front and slightly raised.

My concerns:

1) Why do I keep getting flats? Someone just recently
asked me about the frequency of flats and I said that
I didn't think it was too bad. I've changed my mind.
Something needs to be done to prevent these flats.

2) Someone needs to answer my question about switching
the clusters when there is a flat.

3) Why is it that last time I had a flat tire when I
was in Balance Function, it shot me forward about
5 feet when I made the transition to 4-Wheel Function,
but today it didn't do that?

Ugh. I'm having van issues as well. The ramp broke,
the service engine soon light is on, the speedometer
and the other things on the dash aren't working. T'is
a sucky crip day.

Also, I have to get new caster wheels for the bot. I'll
post more about that tomorrow probably. $120 for two
new pieces of rubber. I can think of a least a gagillion
other things I'd rather spend $120 on.

Stress headache about to make my head explode. Sorry to
complain so much. I just need to vent every once in awhile.
To end on a happy note, I just saw my hair in the mirror and
it's shiny. :D


Anonymous said...

Driving in Standard Function with the flat being one of the tires that is off the ground should be no problem. Since those wheels aren't touching anything, why would they be?

Anonymous said...

Oops, "why would they be" should read "why would there be" (a problem).

Me said...

That's right, there wouldn't be a problem (and there wasn't) when the flat was in the front and it wasn't touching the ground. When I got the flat, it was the tire in the back. A flat wheel in the back is definitely a problem. My concern is, why do I keep getting these flats? What is the best thing to do when I do get a flat (not moving like IT recommends isn't possible). And how can I safely, if at all, switch the back tire to the front if I do have a flat?

I hope that answers your question. Let me know if I didn't.

Anonymous said...

If you get a flat just fix it and stop whining you moron! why in the world do you think your bitching will get you anywhere? stupid lazy idiot!

Anonymous said...

That other anonymous post is not the same as the first set. What a jerk.

Is it the same tire that keeps going flat? Can you mark it so you can tell the next time it happens? It sounds like it's going to happen again. Maybe there is something stuck in the tire that keeps poking a hole in the inner tube after you have it replaced. When you get it replaced it would be worth spending some time checking out the tire itself.

Anonymous said...

Can we put the anonymous jerk who thinks changing a tire is no big deal for those of us in wheelchairs in shackles for a couple of days? I would love to see him/her try to change a rear wheel without use of his/her legs. My husband, a very good bicycle mechanic, has a hard time changing the back wheels in our own home with all of his own tools. The thought of having a flat while out of the house scares me. I keep the number for our city's accessible van public transport with me when I go out. I hope that if I called them saying I had a flat they would be able to get me home. Luckily, I have not had that problem yet. I hope IT gets the information about what to do if you have a flat. I will call them next week with the same question. If several of us call with that question then maybe they will find an answer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your flat, especially after we had talked earlier about the flat issue.

If you don't have any luck with Deka engineers, let me know and I will give them a call as well.

A reminder is to check the tube once it is removed to see if the puncture is on the inside or outside of the tube . Inside tube puncture means you have an issue with the wheel (most likely a burr on the wheel somewhere)..outside puncture then you need to inspect and possibly replace the tire. Make sure they remove the tire and inspect both the tire and the wheel completely. As I indicated, I had a similar problem with flats on the same tire... I found a burr on the inside of the wheel, that would puncture the tube in certain functions, once I sanded the burr down the problem was resolved.

Keep me posted...

Botter from Utah

Me said...

The 2nd anonymous person has been harassing me for months. I don't want his garbage littering my blog, so I try to delete them before anyone else sees them. I can leave this one since someone already saw it, and because it's not full of the bad words he usually calls me. "Lazy idiot" and "moron" is nothing compared to what he usually says.

I think it is the same tire that keeps going flat. It's definitely on the same side, but since I've rotated the clusters a few times, I'm not positive it's the same tire. It probably is though. That's a good idea about marking the tires. I will do that. I'm going to have the bike shop put new
tires on all four wheels today. I think it's about time for new tires anyway.

I was quite frustrated yesterday, but today I'm better. I'm sure I'll get this problem resolved today by completely replacing the tire. I know I'm incredibly lucky to have an iBOT and truly, I'm thankful for it every day. Yesterday I was just frustrated that I even needed a wheelchair and a wheelchair van.

With that said, I do think that the iBOT people can come up with a better tire or a way to easily change a flat.

Anonymous said...

Oh one other thought on flats. If the tube is not installed correctly it can cause a flat. The bike shop needs to make sure make sure they double check the tube prior to inflation..I caused an issue with an incorrect tube installation on my first tire change a couple of years ago. Inspect for tube pinch and no twists. The Ibot wheel design and the tires and tubes used are not real user friendly.

And to the Jerk who thinks she should just fix the flat.. It is obvious you are just some uninformed jerk who has nothing better to do with your time than to scan blogs and make an Ass out of yourself.

Botter from Utah

Me said...

Hi Nancy and Utah Botter,

We were all posting at the same time!

Nancy, excellent idea about keeping the number for accessible public transport. I guess I didn't think about that myself because I'm a moron. LOL!

Botter from Utah, I'll have them check the wheel thoroughly. And I'll give you a call this afternoon.

(No return call from DEKA yet).

Me said...

Nancy, you've never had a flat? Remind me how long you've had your bot?

Anonymous said...

I have had several flats, but all have been either at my house or when I was close enough to my house to get home before the tire went completely flat. I have had my bot for almost a year. I am hoping the newer tires will hold up much better than the one the bot originally came with.

Me said...


You've been lucky to get your flats at home or close to home. Didn't anyone tell you that you are supposed to get them when you are on a weekend get-away and the little town you are staying in doesn't have a single bike shop? Or when you are several blocks away from your home and/or car? :D