The Acorn/Brooks hinged rail features a lower track section 15″ in length that folds upwards, so that the folded section stands vertical (or beyond vertical) on staircases where the angle of inclination is between 28 and 53 degrees. The hinged section is supported and damped by a pneumatic (gas) strut, so that it is self-supporting at 45 degrees or higher from the perpendicular. The hinge itself is precision engineered at the factory and should not be dismantled without supervision by Mobility123. That said, there is a degree of fine adjustment available to our service technicians, but this is only required occasionally and usually when the equipment has been in service for some considerable time.
The hinged rail is useful in situations where there is an obstruction (usually a door) at the foot of the stairway, or where the protrusion of the foot of the rail could cause a tripping hazard. It should be noted that the hinge is manually operated (ACORN has a powered hinge in development). Advisers should assess the users ability to raise and lower the hinge. We often suggest that the user ‘hook’ the underside of the hinge with a walking cane to raise and lower it – and avoid stooping. The pneumatic assistance afforded by the gas strut makes this process relatively effortless.
The hinge is NOT designed to be lowered by this means (even though it is possible to lower the hinge this way). Invariably, the hinge is not fully lowered and the stairlifts’ undercarriage then collides with the hinge mechanism, which will eventually result in significant and expensive damage to the rail and the carriage, which is not covered by the manufacturers warranty. It is very straightforward to lower the hinge from the stair lift seat, by pushing it down with the tip of a walking cane.