The other day, a client asked me a specific question about the remote control on his newly-fitted straight stair lift. So I opened up the User Manual at the relevant page and explained to him what each button is for and how best to use them. It struck me as I was doing so that I haven’t actually read a user manual – not properly anyway – in a fair while.
Stair Lift User Manuals – What They Don’t Tell You
Now, while that might seem a little strange, the thing is, when you’ve been in the business for as long as all of us here at Newbury Mobility have, you come to know the equipment inside out. So you carry most of the knowledge around inside your head and to be honest, it’s much, much more extensive than the information given in a User Manual.
That being said, I thought it might be quite interesting to give myself a refresher so when I got home, I sat down and read a manual from cover to cover to see what I might be missing.
I’ve never written a User Manual and I have to say, I don’t envy those whose job it is to produce them. The challenge appears to be to provide all of the essential information without overwhelming the user with stuff they don’t need to know and will never use. But woe betide you if you miss out something vital.
The first thing that struck me was that some of the Warnings and Precautions seemed a little…er…how do I put this nicely?
A bit like the warning on a Swedish chain-saw that read, “Do not stop chain by hand.”
Or the caution on an American-made PVC water bed that said, “This item is not to be eaten.”
But then again, you’d be amazed at some of things that people manage to do. (We might share some of those with you in future posts!).
And let’s face it, we all have our “D’oh!” moments.
So, when you see a warning in a user manual not to pour hot tea into the electronic controls of your stair lift, that’s because there are people out there who will happily say. “But you never told me I shouldn’t pour hot tea into the electronic controls of my stairlift, so it’s all your fault.”
And of course, in this litigious age, with TV adverts encouraging us to sue for compensation, manufacturers and suppliers have to be very careful that they don’t make themselves vulnerable to being taken to court.
Don’t get me wrong – if a manufacturer or supplier does something wrong or is careless or negligent, then they should get everything they deserve. But sometimes it would be nice if common sense were to prevail. Or is that me just getting old?
While there’s nothing we like more than visiting our lovely customers throughout Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire, I thought it might be helpful if I were to share some little fault-finding and problem-solving tips with you. So that if a pesky problem does occur, you might just be able to fix it yourself.
Number 1 – Stair lift won’t go
Without wishing to insult your intelligence, is the key under the arm rest switched to “on”? (This is a classic D’oh! moment which we’ve seen happen a squillion times – so if it happens to you, don’t worry. You are not alone!)
Number 2 – Stairlift going slow
If your stair lift is moving slower than continental drift and error code “n” is flashing on your diagnostic display, the most likely reason is that your batteries are coming to the end of their useful life. Which means that you’re going to have to give us a call on 01635 229228 so that we can supply new ones. Sorry – can’t do this one yourself, so get the kettle on. We’ll be with you shortly.
Number 3 – Bleeping Stairlift and Error Code 2
That bleeping stair lift! Well…this just means the poor thing is hungry. If you’ve got Error Code 2 with a bleeping sound, then it’s not charging – even though it’s been parked on the charging point. In this case, check that the power is switched on/plugged in and that there is a green light on the charger. If not, and there are no other obvious reasons like power cuts or a fuse tripped, then it’s time to call us on 01635 229228 and get that kettle on again. Because we’re really not very far away.
Number 4 – Stair lift won’t go again
Check that the large black power switch on the base of the unit is switched to “on”. Also, if there is a large red button to the side of your seat, check that it is not pushed in.
Number 5 – Error Codes 4 and 6
Both of these codes mean that the footplate safety edge function has activated. Check that there are no obvious obstructions and then place your hands either side of the foot plate and push to the left and right. (Or get someone else to do this for you.) That should reset the function and allow the stairlift to move again. If not…well, you know the drill by now.
So, I hope that some of these might be of some use to you.
Unlike the warning on a set of Chinese Christmas lights that said, “For indoor and outdoor use only.”
Or the rather baffling instructions on a Japanese-made food processor that read, “Not to be used for the other use.”
We’ll share some more useful tips with you in future posts but meanwhile I will leave you with this – once, when fitting a stair lift in a client’s home, I noticed a hand-written warning stuck onto a wall above a power socket which simply said, “Don’t.”
So I didn’t.
All the very best,
Andy and the Team