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How to Buy A Safe Hoverboard

Hoverboards have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  In UK, several house fires were caused by exploding hoverboards.  In the United States, Amazon have advised customers to throw away certain brands of hoverboards which were found to be unsafe. Several airlines including American, Delta and United Airlines have banned the carriage of passengers’ hoverboards.

What is a Hoverboard?

A hoverboard is popular term for a two-wheel electrically powered device which is kept balanced by a built-in gyroscope. The gyroscope provides counter-balance to prevent the rider from toppling and is also used to control the speed of the wheels. It works the same way as a Segway. Hoverboards are also known as self-balancing scooter and rideable.

Why are Hoverboard Catching Fire?

In the UK, it is postulated that defective chargers are to be blamed for the fire and exploding batteries. Some charger plugs are found without a safety fuse or the cut-off switch did not work during testing. It can lead to overheating when the device is being charged. The UK Trading Standard have found that 88% of hoverboards it inspected do not meet safety requirement. Faults were found with the charger, cable and battery. It advises that faulty chargers often have a clover-shaped plug.

Some hoverboard fire are caused by defective batteries. The common lithium-ion battery provide long usage and battery power. However, it is easily flammable if misused. Unfortunately, due to the design of the hoverboard, there is no where to put the battery except in the foot rest of the device. This is where the lithium-ion battery can get plenty of abuse especially in the hand of users who like to perform stunts on their hoverboard. If you hammer a lithium-ion battery repeatedly, there is a good chance of it catching fire. Lithium-ion battery malfunctioning can also be caused by improper charging.

Buying a Safe Hoverboard

Unfortunately, even the reputable and expensive hoverboard brands are in the news for catching fire. However, there are many causes of hoverboard fires as discussed previously, including improper usage and charging. The better lithium-ion batteries are more expensive. So if a hoverboard is dirt cheap, you may want to take another look at the device before buying.

Do your research before buying. One thing to look out for is the safety certification of the charger and battery. Some devices may have a local safety board certification. Other may have UL certification. UL is an international independent safety certification company. Having a safety board certification is an assurance that the device has the required safety features and they are tested to be working properly.

Safety Tips for Preventing Hoverboard Fire

It is unlikely that hoverboards will disappear altogether from the stores. The rising popularity of hoverboards will see more and more users despite the safety concerns. To be fair, not all hoverboards are unsafe. Here are some safety tips for preventing hoverboard fire.

  • Firstly, buy from a reputable dealer. If buying online, check that the seller is a proper company that can provide local warranty and after sale service. Do not be seduced by low prices alone. Check the manufacturer of the battery. Preferably, it should be a well known brand like Samsung or Maxell.

  • Before use, check your purchase. If it has a clover-shaped plug, refer to your local safety certification board for advice. The plug should have safety fuse. Or if in doubt, return the hoverboard for a refund.

  • Do not leave your hoverboard charging unattended. If the cut-off switch is faulty, the device may overheat and cause a fire.

  • Do not charge the hoverboard longer than required. Do not charge overnight.

  • Take good care of your hoverboard and charger. Avoid dropping or getting hard knocks on your devices.

  • Check your hoverboard periodically for any damage.