Is hoverboard safe? Why are Hoverboards Catching on Fire? How to Prevent the Fire and Exploding? This article shows you the most useful hoverboard safety tips and precautions.
We cannot ignore that hoverboards are becoming one of the trendier must-haves among youngsters these days. However, it presents a monumental risk to the safety and welfare of innocent users and anybody in the vicinity. These boards have displayed a high propensity towards catching fire and exploding on the spot. In 2017 alone, The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued the recall of several boards and brands selling this item over the years.
Moreover, they labeled this gadget as a serious fire hazard. They recalled numerous brands, including Drone Nerds, Savageworld’s Smart Balance boards, Hoverspeed, Go Wheels, Tech Drift, iLive, and Sonic Smart wheels. In addition to that, countries worldwide are seizing and destroying these boards in the millions.
Is hoverboard safe? Why are Hoverboards Catching on Fire?
The reason for these incidents would be the overheated, rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs or second-tier battery packs installed in these self-balancing devices. Once these battery packs reach maximum capacity, they stimulate short-circuiting, sparking, smoke, flames, fire, and, in extreme cases, explosions.
More so, when connected to sockets while on a charge, accumulate a high electrical dosage and begin igniting. This, out of the blue, hazardous combustion has resulted in many accidents. Such as houses burning down, humans getting caught on fire, property damage, and even the loss of human lives.
These eruptions can even take place if your hoverboard hits a rough object or surface. Thereby causing a puncture mark to form on the surface of the battery. The chargers being used to power these boards may also play a part in the bigger picture. Using an inefficient charger, which is not part of the package, a third-party USB charger, a charger with multiple spelling errors, and fake or don’t have a UL certification will surely result in rapid oxidation and damage to the gas vent and discharge.
Faulty wiring is also a factor to acknowledge. Some hoverboards in the construction and manufacturing phase may become prone to crumpled or exposed wires. The fuse may cause hoverboards to jerk, produce embers, and burst into flames. Some had wires soldered onto batteries and jolted into flammable action when given enough friction or disturbance. Wires can tear if loose metal shards inside prick them. Even a defective or absent cut-off switch can be at fault.
The intensity of the lithium-ion battery malfunction literally results in an uncontrollable inferno that tends to re-ignite even after extinguishing it. Technically, the US Government has declared these as unsafe products to be used. The high risk of failure is because these boards cater to a younger demographic that will surely use them outdoors. Especially roughly and carelessly, and yet these boards aren’t built to withstand much wear and tear.
Separators are placed inside hoverboards to prevent the anode and cathode from overlapping. However, impacts and jolting of gadgets or batteries may dislodge the separator, causing a burst. The liquid present inside the volatile lithium-ion batteries is highly flammable. When this separator fails, the liquid electrolytes warm up very quickly, and the battery explodes. Electrolyte boiling leads to the cell undergoing infiltration and then follows an unavoidable burning.
Even leaving your hoverboard to be drained of energy to 0% or if they are overcharged may result in catastrophe. As such, US airlines have banned them. Amazon and Target suspended their sale. Also, Overstock has completely discontinued them, and even the US Postal Service refuses to ship them.
Despite the obvious deathtrap they may seem to be, it looks like the demand has not gone down. Most of the time, you cannot rely on the sellers to guarantee that the product is not a threat. But fear not, there are certain precautions consumers can take to ensure that no harm comes to them or their loved ones.
How to Prevent the Fire and Exploding?
Firstly, when purchasing a hoverboard, make sure to double-check if there is a certified Underwriters Laboratory holographic certification mark stamped on it. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has given UL the green light to run safety tests on devices. With their stamp of approval, it is safe to assume that the risks are minimal. It is also important to ensure that one party bears the insignia and that the entire board has UL approval. Jetson Electric and Swagway claim to have UL-certified chargers and battery cell packs, so they may be worth looking into.
Secondly, you must follow the guidelines and instructions about charging times of the hoverboard, as written in the product’s manual. When you want to charge your hoverboard, be patient and let it cool down first. After you are sure that the board is not in any way flowing with an active current, you can plug in the charger.
Even then, make sure to monitor the board whilst it charges. Always keep it in your line of sight whenever it’s on charge. Never leave the hoverboard charging for an extended period or overnight, as it is a recipe for disaster. The hoverboard is a high energy consumption item. So, make sure to use only one plug per socket during the recharge process. Once you notice that it is fully charged, remove it immediately to prevent overcharging.
Keeping your battery in a shallow cycle status will reduce the risk of any problems. Additionally, it will extend the battery life. You can accomplish this by charging it daily and often after every use. Nevertheless, you can never be too safe. So, always charge away from water sources since it may cause electrical shocks. Also, keep the item at a respectable distance from flammable material of any sort. In both cases, if an explosion occurs, everything won’t burn down, and the flames are less likely to spread.
Thirdly, only use supplementary gadgets and accessories that the company provides from which you’re buying your hoverboard. Knock-off or substitute chargers, despite being cheaper, are more likely to cause impairments in the hoverboard and cause it to erupt. Your safest bet is to opt-out of getting cheap boards that cover price ranges of $0-$350. If money is an issue, SwagTron1 is light on your wallet and UL certified. Despite the low initial costs, you don’t want to end up paying expensive medical bills, property damage bills, or dealing with lawsuits. You can better invest in a reputable, high-quality hoverboard or an external universal charger for maximum welfare.
When buying a hoverboard, taking a closer look at its constituent parts is the key to assuring protection. The components inside being of good or low quality will give you a general idea of whether it’s good to buy. Accept hoverboards that come with a fire-proof aluminum chamber as these inhibit any possibility of external damage to battery packs. If a fire does occur due to a battery fiasco, these hold the ability to contain possible fires.
It is preferable to make an in-store purchase rather than online shopping as it will allow you to test out what you intend to buy. You will also be able to question the seller thoroughly and clarify any ambiguities. You should always only buy from a reliable vendor. In Europe, these products should be certified by CE/Rohs certification and in America by UL2272.
The hoverboard you want should have a battery indicator and a highly durable outer casing. You should also have some knowledge of the appropriate voltage and current requirements with each acquisition. Testing the material for resilience and strength is also an aspect to consider.
The warranty provided by the company is also an indicator of safety being provided. You’ll often come across companies providing warranties of up to a year; these are good choices. Companies like Hover X’s might offer a 90-day warranty, and that’s when the warning bells should start going off.
Additionally, check how transparent the brand is about its warranty, product details, and overall company information for both self-assurance and precaution. Swagway provides a comprehensive outlook on its company, whereas Jetson Electric only states certain facts. Look into organizations that respond to inquiries openly, without hesitation or irritation.
As mentioned earlier, most hoverboards are for tough outdoor use. Regardless of this fact, you need to treat your board as carefully as possible. Please do not drop it, throw it, kick it, whack it or damage it with a sharp object. Do not mess around with the hoverboard, i.e., do not conduct tests and experiments on it or load it with excessive weight as this will only add fuel to the fire. Furthermore, check out customer reviews, ask friends, check blogs and expert opinion polls. Ensure to do your research on the company and create a comparative list of brands and approved patent lists.
A final precaution is to focus on the details printed on the package particularly. Do not buy a product without manufacturer or branding information, a charger without production details, or packages that come with misspelled instructions. Specifically, look out for non-compliant plugs that do not have a fuse. Red and yellow motherboards are not a reliable option. However, a green motherboard has better heat managing capabilities, higher-quality elements, and well-spaced components. The blue board is the best option as it has the highest lifetime guarantee.
If your hoverboard starts smoking up, encase it in non-flammable packaging immediately. Do not let it come into contact with any liquid, and make sure to cover your skin. Furthermore, remove any electronics near you to prevent them from catching fire. Also, remember to get yourself and others out of harm’s way as soon as possible.