Exploding Hoverboards By: Daymiond Cuevas

Hoverboards were at the top of Christmas lists this past Christmas, as many children and adults were anxious to get a much anticipated hoverboard. However, controversy over the safety of the hoverboard quickly escalated after their release. How did they move from the top of Christmas lists, to the bottom of garbage cans?

There have been many recent incidents of exploding hoverboards or hoverboards being defective so many of them have been recalled. According to an online report, there have been forty reports of hoverboard fires in nineteen states. UL, is an American worldwide safety and consulting firm, that conducts OSHA-approved safety testing on consumer products. They are the people who check to be sure your circuit cables don’t explode and they are also responsible for the perfection of your metal waste can. The UL is trying to fix all the hoverboard related problems by introducing guidelines for hoverboards. The workers at UL have been taking product submittals for the self-balancing scooters. The UL have started to evaluate the construction of these hoverboards and, if they pass the company’s tests, they will be able to certify them as safe under a new certification called UL 2722.

Noah Wenzel, freshman at DHS, has owned his hoverboard for one year. Noah’s first experience on his hoverboard was very cautious and unstable. “I was very wobbly at first and felt like I was going to fall but after a while it became smooth,” Noah explains.

Noah realizes his hoverboard was bought defective because its motor always made a peculiar noise. Noah explains that his hoverboard wasn't recalled, but his family sent it back to the manufacturer.

Noah informs “There was no damage on the outside besides the scrapes and marks of a couple of my failed attempts.” Noah knew his hoverboard was going to blow up because it started spouting smoke. “All I know was mine was going to blow up; it went up in smoke” Noah explains.

For many hoverboard users out there, Noah informed me that is was possible to get a new one from the manufacturer but it would take a considerable amount of time to receive it. Noah explains what it is like to ride a hoverboard for those who have never experienced it. “At first, if you have never driven one before, it is really hard but after a while it becomes easy. They are easy to get around on.”

The UL 2722, also known as “Electrical Systems for Self-Balancing Scooters, is a law that will cover electric drive trains, including the rechargeable battery and charger system combination for use in self-balancing scooters. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was going to investigate how the boards are made, and manufacturers tried to argue that they were using certified products to make the things. There are many benefactors of the hoverboards believe they are not dangerous so they are no longer fears of buying. The main reason behind hoverboard fires is fairly simple, and easy to understand.

A lot like a laptop, tablet or phone, the hoverboards use lithium ion battery packs for power and the the liquid inside most lithium ion batteries is highly flammable. If the battery short-circuits say, by puncturing the incredibly thin sheet of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery the liquid electrolyte can heat up so quickly that the battery explodes. If lithium batteries cause so many problems, then why are we still using them in our products such as hoverboards?

Here is a video from YouTube of a person learning how to use their brand new hoverboard... until it unexpectedly begins to release smoke and catch on fire.

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