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Unlocking a Joy Stick For a Drive Power Wheelchair

Updated on April 8, 2015

Power Wheelchair Joystick

Example of a power wheelchair on a Cirrus Plus HD power wheelchair by Merits Health USA which is a very common power wheelchair.
Example of a power wheelchair on a Cirrus Plus HD power wheelchair by Merits Health USA which is a very common power wheelchair.

How to Unlock Your Power Wheelchair Joystick

For those of you who are disabled, you may own a power wheelchair. Statistically, if you own a power wheelchair there is a good chance that you will run into electrical problems and the most common electrical problem to encounter with electric wheelchairs are related to the joystick getting locked. I encourage you to participate in the poll I provided below that way we can see just how common this type of problem is for individuals who own an electric wheelchair with a joystick.

As mentioned in my Hubpages profile, for a living I service handicap products which include electric wheelchairs and scooters. In my experience, I have seen this problem happen hundreds of times and its such a simple fix that I feel guilty having to charge people to fix it so I thought I would create a simple tutorial on how to unlock your joystick without paying someone to do it. I plan on sharing this tutorial with anyone who may be experiencing trouble with a locked joystick on their wheelchair. Depending on how severe your disability is, unlocking your joystick may not be an option but if you are capable of using your hands relatively well, this should be a breeze to do.

Generally speaking, there are 2 very common types of power wheelchair joysticks known as the VSI joystick and the GC 2 Joystick which I will be covering today.

Why Do Power Wheelchair Joysticks Lock?

The reason that these joysticks lock is to allow the repair technicians for these specialty products to troubleshoot common problems and to quickly identify if the joystick is faulty or not. There are a ton of programmable hidden tricks that you can use as a technician to trouble shoot these types of electric wheelchairs. Locking your joystick can also be useful if you want to prevent your joystick from moving because often times it can be difficult to avoid accidentally touching the joystick as you reach over into your arm bag or for many other reasons.

I will explain how to lock and how to unlock your wheelchair using a simple set of steps for the 2 different types of joysticks that most power wheelchairs use. I have performed this test using the Cirrus Plus HD Power Wheelchair by Drive Medical as well as a Pronto M61 power wheelchair by Invacare.

Share Your Experience

Have you experienced Problems With Your Joy Stick?

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Locking & Unlocking VSI Power Wheelchair Joystick

Unlocking the VSI Joystick

The first type of joystick we will cover is the VSI joystick, we will explain how to lock and unlock the joystick for this power wheelchair so that you can understand how to lock or unlock it with ease.

First off, you will want to watch the video above and then reference the instructions below for locking and unlocking.

Instructions for Locking Your Power Wheelchair Joystick:

1. Power the Joystick on.

2. Hold the joystick in the forward direction until you hear a beep (2 seconds).

3. Release the Joystick.

4. Hold the joystick in the reverse direction until you hear a beep (2 seconds).

5. Release the Joystick.

6. Wait for a final beep and for the lights to light up in sequential order one at a time indicating that the joystick is now locked.

Instructions for Unlocking Your Power Wheelchair Joystick:

1. Power the joystick on.

2. Hold the joystick in the forward position until you hear a beep (2 seconds).

3. Release the joystick.

4. Hold the joystick in the reverse position until a beep is made (2 seconds).

5. Release the joystick.

6. Wait for a loud beep and for the lights to light up in sequential order, one at a time indicating that the joy stick is now unlocked.

Locking & Unlocking GC 2 Button Joystick

Locking & Unlocking The GC 2 Joystick

The second most common type of joystick found on the various types of power wheelchairs for disabled people are the GC 2 Joysticks. These joysticks are similar to the VSI but they have a dial instead of an up and down button to control the speed. The steps are almost identical but for your reference they are found in text below.

You may also reference the video above which gives a demonstration of how to lock and unlock the GC 2 Joystick with ease.

Instructions on Locking the GC 2 Joystick

1. Turn on the joystick.

2. Press and hold the power button until a beep is made (2 seconds).

3. Release the joystick.

4. Hold the joystick in the forward position until a beep is made (2 seconds).

5. Release the joystick.

6. Hold the joystick in the reverse position until a beep is made (2 seconds).

7. Release the joystick.

8. Wait for a beep and for the lights to light up one at a time indicating that they joystick is now locked.

Instructions on How to Unlock a GC 2 Joystick.

1. Power on the joystick.

2. Hold the joystick in the forward position until a beep is made (2 seconds).

3. Release the joystick.

4. Hold the joystick in the reverse position until a beep is made (2 seconds).

5. Release the joystick.

6. Wait until a beeps is made and for the lights to light up one at a time indicating that they joystick is now unlocked.

Other Types of Joysticks For Electric Wheelchairs

There are a few other types of joysticks out there and I'd recommend downloading the owners manual from the manufacturer sites or the place that you purchase your power wheelchair from to learn how to lock and unlock the joysticks. For the SPJ + joystick its as easy and quickly pressing the horn button twice.

There are several websites that contain user manuals for each power wheelchair available and you can generally find them pretty easily. If you have a joystick that is not like the ones covered here, I'd recommend that you go to a website that you can down load the user manuals from.

Other Types of Joysticks For Electric Wheelchairs

Tips For Unlocking Other Types of Joysticks

I know that many of you reading this might be saying "I don't have either of the types of joysticks you covered here" and I will do my best to write a new tutorial soon covering another set of joystick types. For now, if you are in a predicament and need to get your joystick unlocked sooner my advice is to find your products user manual and to look for the section that explains how to operate the joystick. Generally speaking, all user manuals provide the sequence codes for unlocking a joystick if it has the locking feature. If you can't find your user manual with the resource link I provided above, calling the manufacturer of your product is also worth a shot.

Having Other Joystick Problems?

If you have come to the realization that your joystick is not just locked and that it is actually damaged or broken, there are many great technicians that are certified by the companies that make these specialty wheelchairs. I'd recommend contacting the manufacturer of your product to see if they can assist you in finding a certified technician so that you have someone reliable that can come help you trouble shoot your product or repair for you professionally.

Important Note: Disassembling joysticks or any electronic parts may result in electrical shock. It is not advised that you tamper with the internal components of the power wheelchair.

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