Hoverboard Fires: Causes and Remedies
Do hoverboards still catch fire? Many prospective buyers ask that question about the two-wheelers. These concerns are understandable as there are questionable places to buy hoverboards. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission often recalls and issues warnings on hoverboard brands it deems as fire risky. Recently, the CPSC was called into swift action after some LayZ hoverboards caused a fatality and damages. Several other brands have also been recalled in the past including Tech Drift, Drone Nerds, Dollar Mania Sonic Smart Wheels and iHoverspeed.
Most of these brands have an issue with their source of power: the Lithium Ion battery. So what exactly is happening with this gadget? We are about to learn how the fire happens and the measures you can take.
Battery Connection to Fire
Li-Ion batteries have been at the center of modern technology, providing seamless power to portable devices such as laptops and smartphones. That notwithstanding, cases of fires caused by these batteries have shifted focus to safety and handling.
A popular food of thought is that hoverboard fires are caused by a burst of energy from the battery because of operational abuse and manufacturing flaws. So how is the Li-Ion battery designed and how does the fire eventually occur?
The Li-Ion battery comes with safety devices- PTC (positive temperature coefficient) resistance switch, CID (current interrupt device) and gas pressure release vent valve. These devices are susceptible to damage that can cause safety hazards. They are not always able to stop dangerous thermal reaction.
Is Today’s Hoverboard Safe?
The arrival of the UL (Underwriter Laboratories) standards in 2016 was a game changer in the hoverboards market. UL 2272 comprises of more than 150 extensive tests that include imbalanced charging test, crash test, water exposure test and short circuit test.
While the UL certification does a lot to mitigate cases of hoverboard fires, it is worthwhile to be alert when choosing places to buy hoverboards. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the first measure you can take is to buy from trusted and reputable retailers only. Do you have a feeling that you may not trace the seller once the transaction is over? That is a warning that you are doing business with the wrong person/entity.
Nowadays, certification labels show proof of inspection for safety and other user needs. The reason you should check for these labels is not to ascertain their absence or presence. Manufacturers know that buyers are keen on these labels so do not expect to find a blank hoverboard. What you are likely to encounter are products with fake labels.
If you already have a hoverboard, it pays to know how maintenance and charging processes can contribute to fires. Experts suggest that owners should either use an external universal charger or keep a check on the charging process. A hoverboard caused massive damage to a New Jersey home, with initial investigations pointing to a charging hoverboard. Here are some tips that might have helped the owner prevent the fire:
- Charge the hoverboard outside or in a spacious area
- Stop using the device immediately you detect smoke or unusual smell
- Do not overcharge the hoverboard. 2-3 hours of hours of charging are enough for most brands
- Make sure you are within the vicinity as the hoverboard charges
- Use an original charger
Hoverboard fires that were rampant a few years ago offered a valuable lesson to both manufacturers and users. Design has improved in every level and buyers are more vigilant. Do not buy a product if it does not have UL 2272 certification. At Gearscoot.com, we thrive in helping buyers get the best hoverboards in the market. Our recommendations are based on extensive research and checks, so we believe the products listed are safe. Visit our site for the best places to buy hoverboards and more suggestions.
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