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Transportation United States News

More Than 500,000 Hoverboards Recalled Because of Fire Hazards (go.com) 95

501,000 self-balancing scooters -- more popularly known as hoverboards -- are being recalled due to fire hazard concerns, said The U.S. Consumer Product Safety. The lithium-ion battery packs in the hoverboards can overheat -- which could result in sparking, smoking, fire, and explosion -- the agency added. ABC reports:The recall involves hoverboards from eight manufacturers/importers that are made with lithium-ion battery packs as well as 4,300 from Overstock.com and 1,300 from a store in Pennsylvania. Amazon.com is not listed in the recall, but in February, the online giant worked with the CPSC to offer refunds to any customer who wanted to return hoverboards purchased on the site. Hoverboards by Swagway make up more than half of those recalled -- 267,000. "We are urging consumers to act quickly," CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye told ABC News. "We've concluded pretty definitively that these are not safe products the way they were designed."
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More Than 500,000 Hoverboards Recalled Because of Fire Hazards

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  • They listed a ton of brands. I think it would be easier to do a list of hoverboards that are NOT proven fire hazards, rather than the other way around.

    Also is there some reason those lithium batteries only went into hoverboards? Or did some go into other devices - and are those other devices safe?

    After all, it's not the wheels or actual standing area that's the problem.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      I can say this: in the process of sourcing products from China, you run into a *lot* of places there (producers, middlemen) selling hoverboard-like things for dirt cheap. QA is surely almost nonexistent. Western companies can buy them and resell them for a big profit. And the results are ever-so predictable.

      You never import from China without doing rigorous product inspection and testing - because they'll only manufacture to the minimum standard needed in order to get you to pay them. They can, and will

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The messed up part is China actually has high standards for electrical and electronics. But the regulations don't apply to products made for export. They can build a rod that plugs into the wall and tells you to put it in your bathtub and it's okay as long as it's for export.

        • I have seen those things, which are supposed to be used to heat up bath water. It isn't even a heating element, it is
          just two plates connected to each terminal of the AC.

          You might as well just throw a toaster in the bath instead.

        • They can build a rod that plugs into the wall and tells you to put it in your bathtub and it's okay as long as it's for export.

          So they're not going for the cultural victory?

      • by known_coward_69 ( 4151743 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @11:41AM (#52456993)
        this is the way US manufacturing used to be. until ladder manufacturers were sued, ladder makers would skimp every penny from the final product and 80's news stories are full of companies whining about spending an extra nickel for some safety part.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's how a purely free market would behave, and libertarians just don't get the problem with it.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      It's probably more the fault of cheap charging circuits than the batteries, but since it's the batteries that go WOOSH and burn your house down, they are getting all the credit.
    • by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @01:16PM (#52457701)

      Or did some go into other devices

      This isn't likely a battery problem but a device problem. Safe operation of LiPo batteries depends on sophisticated charging circuitry, and if a manufacturer cuts corners on that, the user won't know it until the fire starts.

      One way of cheating on safety: Design the charger to deliver high current for a fast charge. Good example here: LiPo's have largely supplanted IC engines in model airplanes, and there's an incentive to charge at high rates so you can get in more flying in a day. Modelers take the battery out of the airplane and fast-charge it in a fireproof bag. They could leave it in there and get away with it most of the time, but they usually have the good sense not to.

      An adolescent kid doesn't want to wait several hours to charge his hoverboard, and a fireproof bag would be an alarm bell to Dad, so the manufacturer has a motivation to work on the edge.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @11:34AM (#52456919) Homepage

    ... because they can't hover.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @01:04PM (#52457623) Journal

      ... because they can't hover.

      They do briefly when they explode

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      ... because they can't hover.

      Dakine1493 wrote on reddit:
      Pencil lead is made of carbon.
      Koala bears are marsupials.
      Jellyfish aren't fish.
      A peanut is actually a legume.
      Strawberries aren't berries.
      Guinea pigs are rodents.
      Chinese checkers didn't even come from Asia, let alone China.
      Tin foil is made of aluminum.
      You dial your phone although you haven't used a rotary phone in years.
      Hoverboards don't actually hover.

      Other day VTA train called Control asking can a passenger bring a hoverboard on board, I first wondered what this is (

  • by Stan92057 ( 737634 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @12:07PM (#52457193)
    They are a glorified 2 wheel motor-boards. They don't hover in any shape or form they are firmly planted to the ground by 2 wheels. This is a true hoverborad it actually hovers over air

    http://www.wired.com/2015/10/how-the-most-promising-hoverboards-actually-work/
  • by archer, the ( 887288 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @12:18PM (#52457303)
    or wannabe "hoverboards".
  • It's a start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @12:37PM (#52457449)

    Now if we could only recall all of the douchebags who think it's cool to ride them. Extra points for vaping at the same time.

    • Double-extra points for vaping and exploding.
    • Re:It's a start (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2016 @06:38PM (#52459683)

      What is it about hoverboards that pisses everybody off? Sure, a douchebag on one is a pain in the ass. So is a douchebag on rollerblades or a skateboard or a scooter, but I haven't seen them arouse the same kind of animosity...I don't get it.

      • What is it about hoverboards that pisses everybody off? Sure, a douchebag on one is a pain in the ass. So is a douchebag on rollerblades or a skateboard or a scooter, but I haven't seen them arouse the same kind of animosity...I don't get it.

        SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME

        Perhaps you don't remember the war on skateboarding, but I'm from Santa Cruz so I do even though I was never a skater.

        • Well, I teach engineering in Colorado, some of my students skateboard to class, and nobody seems to care. But nobody cares if they toke either, so maybe it's a regional thing.

  • How about they recall every single off-brand garbage battery ever made in China? I've had replacement laptop batteries fail after a week. I've heard quite a few light on fire or melt too. The same goes for the garbage quality set of 2 batteries I got from 2 different vendors for my digital camera. Basically every non-OEM battery ever is a sketchy, dangerous, fire hazard piece of crap and the vendors are lying about their reliability.
    • Basically every non-OEM battery ever is a sketchy, dangerous, fire hazard piece of crap and the vendors are lying about their reliability.

      Have you ever opened an OEM pack? There's not a whole lot in there, just some 18650s and a dinky little charge monitor board that you can get off eBay if you want to build your own packs. And they go bad or burst into flames all the time. If anything, the vendors are lying about their reliability.

  • Personally I suggest people who bought a product from a company called Swagway just stand on them and burn with their toy.

  • They just need to re-brand these as 'Hoverboard Extreme' and they can sell as many as they like. For the hipsters shooting vines of their hoverboard tricks, the added features of these so-called defects can only put more eyeballs on the link.
    • I did a school project on hoverboard technology [iki.fi] back in the day. Every time I mention this and the unlikely practicality of the lightning-like ionization levels required, someone invariably points out how cool that would be, power consumption and safety be damned.
  • Remember the time when those laptop batteries got recalled, over heating and exploding?

    From burning crotches to burning feet, I dare say, consumer technology is improving!

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