Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hoverboard Safety News

  • An update from the Consumer Products Safety Commission:

    I was really hoping to find some good information, but all I'm seeing in that article is a summary of recent news and reinforcing the concern that this product is of concern. I hate to be negative, but Duh1 Come on. Get to it. If the CPSC is really serious about an investigation, it would have been completed by now. There are so many experts out there who are knowledgeable about batteries and all the techy circuitry. Get them and get moving.

    I'm starting to think this is just an exercise for them. They're only doing it b/c they're expected to as they are of course the Consumer Products Safety Commission. 

  • UL is accepting applications for hoverboards. That's only good news if any manufacturer bothers to send an application. So far, they're selling quite well despite the fires. Will we see some UL listed ones soon? So far we've gotten chargers that are UL listed, but no hoverboard themselves.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hoverboard Laws!

California Law: refers hoverboards as EMB, "electric motorized boards."

1. Must be 16 years old for use on public roads.
2. Top speed 15 mph. I'd like to see that. All hoverboards max out at 12mph. Most are capped at 8mph.
3. Must be in bike lanes. That would be way more dangerous for the hoverboard rider than riding anywhere else. 
4. Not permitted on sidewalk in San Francisco. Good luck enforcing that. 
5. Rider must wear a helmet. Makes sense. 
6. Can only be used in areas designated with a top speed of 35mph which includes highways. Tell me that's a joke. Seriously riding 8mph in areas where everyone else is going up to 35mph? I think these guys are missing the point of a hoverboard. They're designed to be supporting pedestrians in a commute. They're not an alternative to a bicycle. 

This is such a new product that the laws are brand new. Will be revisited in 2021 apparently.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Hoverboard shakes!

My cousin and aunt tried riding it this past weekend. While my cousin had been riding it for about 30 minutes, she said it started shaking.

"Get off! Get off!" I exclaimed. The last time I felt a board shake, it was due to me meeting the top speed. In this case, the hoverboard was only going around in circles at minimum speed.
She flew off as we watched the hoverboard from a distance.
My dad comes closer and starts reaching for it.
From what I've read about these things, I knew enough to warn him, "No, no no. Stand back!"

I watched it. Kept watching.
No fire.

I felt the bottom of the shell and it felt cold. No heat whatsoever. Watched it for a bit longer, left the garage where it was being stored on the concrete floor with no combustibles nearby, and kept revisiting it every 15 minutes to be sure the garage was still there.

No issues.
Was a bit worried about storing it in the cold garage, but we ended up doing it anyway. It was inside the bag which probably didn't do much for warmth but the hoverboard worked just fine the next day.

I also learned that there's an automatic shutoff (not the charging), but on the board itself. I had left it on while walking around uneven surfaces where the hoverboard wouldn't be able to go. 10 minutes later, I returned and the board had turned off. Saves battery. Good thing.

Friday, January 1, 2016

How to put out a Lithium Ion battery fire

I'm still looking into this, but so far:
CO2, ABC dry chemical, powdered graphite, copper powder or sodium carbonate should be used. Source:

Fellow at Friendman's recommended this one: 

I had mistakenly thought that I only needed a C rated fire extinguisher, but the sales guy informed me that I'd need an ABC rated one in case the hoverboard ever gets on fire near grass. If I used just a C or BC rated extinguisher, it would take out the chemical fire but it wouldn't do any good on any fire that gets onto grass. 

$40, but glad I spent it for peace of mind if nothing else. 

The battery claims to be Samsung

The hoverboard has been hiding in my garage just sitting there w/o a rider for 2 weeks while I do my research and await my replacement chargers. I took the opportunity today to remove the shell to inspect the battery for swelling. Good news is no swelling of the battery. In doing so, I found that the battery was not labeled as LG as the vendor hand claimed. The sticker says, "Samsung." That's good news, but there's no way to really tell if it's Samsung w/o taking apart the battery to see the actual cells. We know Samsung doesn't make these batteries as a package. There are no true Samsung batteries distributed by the company. 

Legit companies purchase individual cells from Samsung and then put them together as a hoverboard battery. The label here still doesn't prove that it's indeed a Samsung battery but at least it doesn't say, "Gpower" or some unknown brand. 

I was a bit surprised about how clean the setup was under the shell. 

I did end up taking a test ride after confirming no swelling of the battery. No fires. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

How to tell if a CE or UL Listing is fake

Sad but true. CE which normally stands for “ConformitĂ© EuropĂ©enne” or “European Conformity” (European equivalent of UL Listing for the US) shows up on electronics from China but in fact stand for "China Export." So so so sad. They use the same logo but claim it stands for something other than what it is known to be defined as. 

How to tell if a UL listing logo is fake:

How to tell if a CE logo is fake:

This tells me that the logo that came with my charger isn't real. Look closely and you'll see that the C is not a complete half circle. It's slightly ovular.

Same with the one that's being sent to me that's supposedly "their best one." 

New Vendor?

I have a theory. 

Vendors will want to stand out amongst the rest by talking about how safe their hoverboards are now that the public is scared of them blowing up under their feet or in their homes. 

It's no longer just fancy colors, bluetooth speakers, security remotes and free bags that make each hoverbaord better than the next. It's that they won't explode! What a selling point, eh? 

China will feel the heat, realize the US is demanding safer products and they'll have no choice but to up their game with better quality products. Yeah right. Not exactly. Perhaps companies would sell replacement batteries and replacement chargers to those that already have hoverboards. 

Instead of selling aftermarket accessories, they'll focus on owners since they're already in the ecosystem. What beats excitement is fear. Fear sells. And instead of accessories, it's the guts of the hoverboard. 

After a quick 10 minute search, I already located a company that sells "safer" chargers. Zooming into the photo of it, the UL listing was still missing. Next. 

Then I came across Seems very legit. The company points out in a lot more detail than any other site I've come across regarding the source of the fires and what the solutions are. Of course they sell these solutions which happen to be batteries, chargers and even a new motherboard. 

Very tempted to buy the UL listed charger. I reached out to my vendor at Chinae Health for the hoverboard I have and asked for photos of the charger they plan on sending me. Within minutes, she sent me these: 

No UL listing and if you look closely, there are typos in the text. 

Back to landbirdboard: 

They go into so much detail. Surely everything they're posting could be a complete lie, but why draw attention to themselves? If they're not actually selling UL listed chargers and not actually selling hoverboards with LG and Samsung batteries, making everyone aware of a lie and selling junk would ruin their reputation a bit too quickly. 

The site flat out says to ignore the label on the battery. The label needs to be changed when shipped internationally anyway, so it's not the source of confirming whether the battery is really brand named or not. The only way to really know is to rip open the battery packaging and look at the actual cell. More detail on the website, but the point is that I'm trusting these guys more than the other sites I've seen, including Miberitech. No one else has responded to the exploding hoverboards as much as these guys.