Locking Swing Away / Flip-Back Armrests

Overview

For more information, see Locking TiLite Swing Away and Flip-Back Armrests on CareCure forums.

We are now looking for a good way to lock the Swing Away and Flip-Back Armrests. My husband has seizures and sometimes pulls them up, and it would be safer if we could lock them so he does not fall out. We are needing a way for the armrests not to pull up, but still allowing them to easily swing-away or flip-up to allow for lateral transfers.

Although he is quite forceful with pulling up on the armrests during seizures (usually just one side), he usually does not swing them out (it is an up/down motion). It would be nice if we could do whatever it is loose enough that they could still swing out during transfers so that we can just leave whatever it is on the rest of the time. It sure would be nice not to have to deal with one other thing to lock/unlock during normal everyday situations (seizures are random about 1-2 times per month), and locking them would be something easy to forget. We also do not want anything that we need to drill or machine any of the existing parts if at all possible. We do not want to weaken the frame or any components, or void our warranty.

What we have now

The seat back type on the ZRA is a Folding Titanium Adjustable Height, Seat Back that Locks when Folded. The 2GX with Flip-back armrests has a Fixed Angle, Adjustable Height Seat Back w/8-Degree Bend.

  • The diameter of all arm tubing parts are 1 inch (25.4mm)
  • The seat tube for the ZRA is 1.25 inch (31.75 mm) and the 2GX is 1 inch (25.4mm)

Here are the parts drawings of both the ZRA swing-away and 2GX flip-back armrest assemblies along with the options borchure showing the desk arms:

Swing Away Armrest Assemby Angle Adjustable Swing Away-Flip Back Armrest Assembly TiLite Armrests

Below are photo’s of the ZRA with the swing-away armrests and the armrest receiver (oops, it needs a good cleaning). The part with red tape on the bottom are transit brackets.

What TiLite Advised

Flip-up - no solution

Swing Aways - you can have these pinned in place by your Dealer, however you will need tools to remove them for transfers which isn't convenient.

Desk Arms - these are secured in place and if you want to remove them you have to press a lever to release them. These would be much more practical for transfers and they would not lift up in case of a seizure.

Having said this. Your ZRA does not have side guards so it does not have the holes in the frame that are needed for the desk arms. However, your 2GX could accommodate the desk arms.

If you haven't spoken to your Dealer yet, you may ask them if they have a solution too.

We heard back from TiLite, which was very good of them. In short, there are not any possibilities to lock either the swing-aways or flip-backs, and they suggested the desk arms that can be locked. On the 2GX we originally had desk arms that locked, but replaced them with flip-up's because the release lever was not easy enough to access for transfers.

Desk arms are also not a possibility on the ZRA because we don't have holes in the frame drilled for them. They are also very heavy and rattled around a lot, and would not work with the ADI carbon fiber seat base and fold down side guards that we have on the ZRA and are very happy with.

Possible Options

Quick release pins

I'm thinking maybe quick release pins with detents, but that might also be difficult to access to swing away the arms for transfers. Having the pin in the next hole lanyard'ed to the transit brackets would be the simplest to try first. Possibly using a quick release pin in the hole just above the armrest saddle with a lanyard connected to the transit brackets is an option.

Elastic Tie-Down Cords

Another option is a strong  Elastic Tie-Down Cords, but I also worry about what would happen if it snapped lose, and I'm not sure it would be flexible enough  to swing away the arms for transfers.

Quick release clamp

Another idea a sort of quick release seat post clamp like those used on bikes or a quick release shaft clamp used in industrial applications like tripods, theater lighting and microphone stands.

Bergh Quick Release Tube Clamp € 5,02. Tube clamp with lever, Ø31,8 mm / 1.25 inch , aluminum type with QR-lock Part #: A.BK.00.31.AQR. Just in case it is needed, we can get tube cover foam at Bergh 1 inch (25.4mm).

Armrest stops

Another idea is something clamped on the seat posts about 1/2 inch above the armrest to prevent him from pulling them upward too far, but still allowing for enough  space to swing away the arms for transfers.

I'm thinking that  the armrest stops that we have on the flip-back armrests could be used, and wondering if we could not do something similar, but reversed on the seat post. We would have just enough room under the ADI seat back clamps on the seat post to have it just a bit higher than the armrest stop notch on the receiver, which is about .5". I can also lower the armrest another stop (.75") if needed, and possibly the ADI clamps could be mounted on the push handle posts/canes.

Here are some pictures of the flip-back arm rests inverted along with a drawing of the arm rests we have (AS110981-Z Swing Away Flip Back Armrest Assembly with CP102111 / CP102112 Flip Back Armrest Stops):

Brake clamps

A last idea is to use brake clamps that we already have. We have 2 sets that might work and could be clamped on the seat posts about 1/2 inch above the armrest to prevent him from pulling them upward too far, but still allowing for enough  space to swing away the arms for transfers. They are much higher than the Armrest stops, so it would definitely require mounting the ADI seat back clamps on the push handle posts/canes.