If you’ve kept up to date with the current events, you’re probably aware of these so-called “exploding hoverboards.” You might be wondering if hoverboards are safe to charge, and if there is a specific method you should use to prevent them from exploding.
Whether you already purchased a hoverboard or you’re simply considering buying one, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to keep your hoverboard safe.
Do Hoverboards Actually Explode?
The short answer is no, but if you’ve purchased a counterfeit model there is a risk. If the battery is poor quality and overcharged, what you’ll get is not so much of an explosion, but a lot more like a “fizzle”. The batteries can catch fire, if used incorrectly.
If you are looking for the most common reasons why hoverboards explode, CNET wrote a great article, feel free to check it out.
What Causes the Hoverboards to Catch Fire?
In mid-2015, the hoverboard craze was at its peak. There were several underground factories in China producing these boards as inexpensively as possible.
Some of them were designed to look and feel just like the original name-brand models, but they were actually counterfeit.
Millions of hoverboards were sold all over the country. One of the most expensive components of these boards was the lithium ion battery.
These power packs were responsible for delivering a large current to the wheels, and also needed to be recharged in a relatively short period of time. Official brand hoverboards used expensive Samsung battery packs. Samsung makes very high quality batteries.
These units were capable for lasting for a long time, and would hold up to the daily abuses that any hoverboard might be subjected too.
Drops, kicks, spills, all of these things are common. But since this was the most expensive component of the hoverboard, some of the factories making counterfeit boards started using inexpensive replacement batteries that were never designed to hold up to this kind of use.
It’s these counterfeit batteries that are responsible for the hoverboard fires we’ve all heard about. When they are left on to charge for a long time, they can overheat and catch fire.
How Do I Know if My Hoverboard is Counterfeit or Legitimate?
The easiest way to tell if you have a real hoverboard or not is to look at it. You should find a UL certification logo on the base, and also on the charger. If you do not have a UL certification, your board is counterfeit. If you do, then you have a legitimate board.
Another way to tell is the price. Some hoverboards are sold online for under $200. The motors, controls and batteries alone cost more than $200, so if you paid less than that it’s a possibility that your battery is counterfeit.
However, just because you paid more than that doesn’t mean it’s legitimate, as there is nothing stopping a company from selling you a hoverboard that cost $100 to produce for $400.
Another way to tell if your board is real or counterfeit is to look at where you bought it from. If you purchased it from Amazon or an official retailer, you have a legitimate hoverboard.
If you purchased it from a different online retailer, there is a chance that it could be counterfeit.
How Do I Charge a Real Hoverboard?
If you have a real, legitimate hoverboard you should simply charge it as normal. These boards are not prone to catching fire or exploding.
Simply plug in the charger when you need more juice and wait for it to be charged up. It’s safe to leave them plugged in overnight, as these batteries are not at risk for catching fire.
How Should I Charge a Counterfeit Hoverboard?
If you are in possession of a fake hoverboard, you should strongly consider replacing it with a safe one. These boards can be dangerous and we cannot recommend using them.
However, if you must charge them make sure you do so outside and in a supervised environment. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case something bad happens. Make sure that as soon as the board is fully charged, you unplug the charger.
What if My Hoverboard is Damaged?
Even if you have a legitimate hoverboard, it’s important to keep an eye on it for damage. If the hoverboard takes a particularly nasty fall, there is a chance the battery could be damaged.
If there is serious damage to the casing (cracks, pieces falling off) it’s important you are careful with your board. If it was fully submerged in water, you should dry it out and bring it to a repair shop before attempting to charge it.
What if Only My Charger is Counterfeit?
There has been a few reports of some vendors picking up official hoverboards, but bundling them with knockoff chargers.
Other consumers may have grabbed a cheap replacement charger off eBay, not aware of the importance of picking up authentic ones.
If you have a counterfeit charger, just purchase an official one from Amazon. These chargers will automatically shut off once the board is charged, helping to keep you protected.
What is this UL Certification I Keep Hearing About?
Due to the fires, every hoverboard sold in the United States must be UL certified. This certification tests the boards in many different ways.
Dropping them, hiding them, getting them wet, applying pressure to them.
Engineers look at all of the components and makes sure they are safe to use. This is important because UL certified boards simply won’t catch fire, which is why it’s important to purchase those boards.
So, Are Hoverboards Safe or Not?
The simple answer is Yes, hoverboards are safe and you can charge them however you see fit. But, if you have a counterfeit board it’s important to read this guide carefully and make sure you follow the directions.
But if you have an official certified hoverboard, you have nothing to worry about and you can charge your board anytime without having to take special precautions to prevent fires.
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