Hoverboards just seemed like the coolest thing when they came out until they became the opposite. Issues with their batteries led to overheating and literally exploding hoverboards were reported. While these incidents are not that many, they can end up really deadly. In fact, in the early part of 2017, an exploding hoverboard was blamed for a house fire that led to the death of a toddler.
When these incidences first began, more than 500,000 hoverboards were taken off the market. After all, there were no safety checks or certifications done on any of these models before they became a fire risk. They were eventually investigated and the ones that do not pass the test may no longer be sold.
It is then easy to assume that the only hoverboards on the market now are safe, but sadly, this is not the case. There are still come counterfeits being sold online and unfortunately, not all people who bought the faulty models before have returned their hoverboards. There are also still models that have been produced abroad, where they are not as strict in certifying them. This means, there are still boards out there that are not safe.
Why Do They Explode In The First Place?
The problem does not lie on the lithium battery itself. After all, there are millions of cell phones and other devices that are powered by these batteries as well and they do not simply explode.
The reason why these hoverboards are exploding is a combination of various factors. Cheap lithium batteries, wrong charging practices, and even damage to the board itself, all contribute to this risk.
Hoverboards that are produced in places with less stringent safety standards are more likely to produce batteries with faulty wiring. This means when the batteries become very warm while charging, these wires might then spark and cause a fire. The same happens with overcharging, as they become too hot and dangerous when not unplugged as soon as the battery is full.
Lastly, when hoverboards are not sturdily built, they become a huge fire risk. Since it is a device that will be subject to bumps and minor accidents, they should be able to withstand some damage. However, some models actually had some superficial damage or the chemicals inside became exposed to oxygen that they started a fire.
Are They Still Dangerous?
Substandard models do exist still, especially on the Internet where it is not as strictly regulated. Moreover, many customers have reported buying branded items but received knock-offs. These copies are sure to be of worse quality than the originals.
On the other hand, hoverboards are making a comeback. They are still quite cool products, and thanks to existing certification, people can start buying them without worrying about them exploding. The only important thing is to buy those that do comply with safety standards.
Many hoverboards for sale now are tested and certified by UL, a safety consulting firm. They make sure that these items are not prone to overheating and are not a fire risk. They even test them against shock, to make sure they will not malfunction at the first bump. Many products for sale state explicitly that they are Certified to UL 2272, so consumers know which ones are safe to buy. Of course, if you choose these brands that are certified, make sure you buy them only at reputable shops to avoid buying fakes.
Steps To Keep Your Hoverboard Safe
It is also important that you use your hoverboard correctly to avoid overheating. First of all, you need to read the instructions included in the product to know the proper usage. Parents need to explain this to their kids before use.
Second, you have to watch out for proper charging practices. It is during this time that the fire risk is highest. Do not keep it plugged in to charge overnight. At best, unplug it when it is finished or only as long as recommended by the manufacturer. Some models will have a light indicator when the battery is fully charged.
Lastly, do not store your hoverboard with items that are flammable. This is how fires grow and become very dangerous to everyone.
After the many incidences of fire and explosion, hoverboards are now strictly tested for fire risk. This means, though the chances of exploding are high with untested models, most models with a UL certification are guaranteed safe. By buying these, and partnering them with good charging practices, you can be sure to have a safe product in your hands or rather on your feet.