Australian Government To Investigate Hoverboards, More May Be Recalled

Well, this was inevitable. Following the hoverboard-ignited fire that destroyed a Melbourne home earlier this week, Australia's independent consumer watchdog is set to formally investigate the devices.

Victoria's Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garret had earlier called on the federal government to consider a permanent ban, writing to Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer, the federal minister responsible.

A spokesperson for Minister O'Dwyer has now confirmed to Fairfax that "the Victorian incident raises serious concerns and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will conduct a formal investigation into the safety of these products."

Victorian Consumer Affairs and Energy Safe Victoria inspectors are in the midst of a crack-down, checking retailers for devices that have been recalled and or don't comply with Australian electrical requirements.

Overseas, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is already full swing into a massive investigation into the safety of hoverboards. Airlines, the UK and many parts of America have also put various bans in place.


Did you get (or buy yourself) a hoverboard for Christmas?

ACCC Electrical Safety Hazard Advice

Ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle. The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements. A regulatory compliance mark (RCM) is placed on the external surface of the device and as near as possible to the model identification.
Approval markings vary between states and territories. They are usually an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state/territory that issues the approval followed by between one and six digits. Below are two examples taken from the Electrical Safety Victoria (ESV) website.
The ACCC advises consumers to examine their product for these markings and to contact their supplier to verify if the appliance is approved for use. Consumers can also access the Australian Certification Public Database to search for approved electrical appliances.
Overcharging non compliant devices may cause overheating of the battery and result in a fire Always use the approved battery charger that came with the product. If there are signs of damage near the battery do not charge the unit until the device is inspected by a professional
Hoverboard owners are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when using and charging their hoverboard. Adults should supervise the charging of all electrical devices for children.

Check For Recalls

The ACCC also reminds us to check the <a href="http://recalls.gov.au recalls website to see if a product or charger has been recalled - recalls.gov.au.

Self-balancing scooters / chargers recalled so far: • Hunter Sports - Moonwalker Electric Balancing ScooterSello Products - Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Electric Scooter AirWalk Self-Balancing Electric Scooter Techwheel Z-01 Scooter Emporium - Self-Balancing Scooter with ChargerGo Skitz Self-Balancing E Board - Models S01 and S03 Mod Board 'Hoverboard' Model MOD001

Questions about the most recent recalls should be directed to the relevant state or territory regulator:

ACT: ACT Planning and Land Authority, Construction Services Branch NSW: NSW Fair Trading, Energy and Utilities, Home Building Service QLD: Dept. of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland Government Electrical Safety Office SA: Office of the Technical Regulator, Dept. of State Development, Energy Markets and Programs TAS: WorkSafe Tasmania VIC: Energy Safe Victoria, Equipment Safety and Energy Efficiency WA: Department of Commerce, EnergySafety Division


Comments

    Buying cheap shit does things like this.

    Well done cheapskates.

      Cheapskates is a better product name for this than hoverboard!

    I don't understand why 1 particular line of products all have problems with charging. I'd get it if 1 or 2 were found to be dodgy, but it seems to be very widespread. On top of that, why is it only happening to self balancing scooters? We have Li-Ion batteries and charges everywhere nowadays, almost every portable electronic device has them. Why aren't they randomly catching fire as well? Why are these particular products dodgy, and everything else (comparatively) is fine?

      I would guess that it's a combination of Li-Ion batteries and the motor driving these things. The motor probably gets very hot, then you go to charge it which produces more heat.........then no more house.

        are you saying that when the battery is charged, the motor in the wheel produce heat?

        I am not an electrician or engineer but i think this is a little subjective.

          No, I meant after heavy using then you plug it in to charge whilst the motor is still hot. It's totally a guess. I read on another sight it could be something puncturing the battery.

          It's various issues.
          Firstly, quality of components. The cheap shit has little protection, probably doesn't meet Aus standards (more on that later) and uses the poorest quality components such as batteries, cables and connectors.

          Secondly, LiPo batteries are inherently dangerous. They aren't the same thing as is in your laptop and phone. These ones have a much higher capacity and MUCH higher current output. They are more like the stuff you'll find in RC quadcopters, electric cars etc.
          Because of the high current output, they can get hot, and they also usually require high current charging. For RC quads I have a special charger for these batteries. It's high current and constantly monitors battery charge and temperature.

          Because there's so many different versions and knock offs of this product, some can simply have the wrong parts. Cables that are too small and can't handle the power. Connectors that do the same. Aus standards cover most of this stuff, so sometimes cheap Chinese stuff just isn't up to scratch. Even common problems like power packs that aren't rated to our voltages or frequency can be an issue and easily overlooked by customers and long at the plug fits the hole in the wall.

          Finally, due to the nature of the high current LiPo batteries, if they aren't properly protected they can overheat, run-away and combust. This can happen while charging or while under load. For example, if you're a heavy person and drive this board down a hill, it will naturally accelerate. Since it doesn't have brakes, it will either keep accelerating, or try to slow down by applying backwards torque. That can put huge strain on both the battery and the motor, both of which will get very hot very quickly. You can see where that can end up.

          And all that is before any physical damage to the battery... in which case, it's similar to any other. The chemical reaction happens uncontrollably and it catches fire.

          Last edited 07/01/16 4:19 pm

      It's because they are all the rage right now. Massive demand for them thanks to rapper endorsements. With the prices ranging from $500-$2000 there are a heap of dodgy real fakes for all the stingies out there. This is what happens when you pay cheaply for a piece of tech.

      People also injuring themselves on these because they don't realise it's something that requires balance and trying to use it for the first time in a small room with tables and chairs along with other objects with sharp edges.

      Last edited 07/01/16 10:26 am

      You could find although there is many brands out there, they are only manufactured by 2 or 3 places and rebranded for each seller.

      I like how you didn't use the term hoverboard.

    I am an Engineer. Also an RC Aircraft "enthusiast".

    In general the advice (RC "toys and tools") with charging any lithium rechargeable battery is to; remove the battery from the device (RC vehicle etc.), constantly monitor the battery during the charging process, and perform the charging in a fire resistant enclosure, preferably inside a blast proof charge-bag. Got all that.

    Cheap devices with lots of high capacity batteries inside, must have low cost batteries (or the device would be expensive). The low cost batteries aren't necessarily made in other factories than the expensive batteries (ie not necessarily counterfeits), but are likely factory "seconds" (without necessarily being declared as such).

    Premium batteries will have measured internal resistances within certain tolerances, and ultra premium battery packs will only have cells in the pack with very closely matched impedances, ensuring uniform voltages at all stages in the cycle (as well as regulation). Cheap batteries have none of these safety QA processes.

    Regulated cells may have a "smart" chip on each battery-cell limiting maximum and minimum voltages the battery can experience. Smart packs will have the smarts in the pack and actively manage the battery cells during charge and discharge. Obviously the level of smarts will vary between manufacturers. Unregulated 18650 cells are intended to be used in regulated packs, regulated cells can be used singly, or connected together into multi-cell packs.

    Note some "regulated cells don't have electronic regulation but just pressure vents to let gaseous products escape without exploding. (not all bad if you know what you are dealing with. These "kids" have no idea.

    In the RC world we generally use unregulated cells and use a "smart" charger which monitors the cells during charge, or limit the max voltage to individual cells to manuf. spec. We also fast charge and discharge these batteries at high rates, sometimes resulting in catastrophe (hopefully in a safe environment).

    These cheap 2 wheel board things, likely just place the total charge voltage across all series cells with no regulation (misuse of non-regulated cells for a consumer device), once one battery cell overcharges, (or has a substantially different voltage to its neighbour), bad things happen (lots of energy is involved). Explosive, fire-cracker things. If one cell overheats and the next one is in close proximity (with no adequate cooling). thermal runaway can occur (just ask Elon Musk (or boeing) why his car batteries have 24/7 cooling system operation, big packs of these batteries can generate heat constantly like a nuclear reactor, it must be managed.)

    Just like a Sony Laptop, or a Samsung washing machine, your house can burn down.

    Now for the falling over bit. What else did you expect, wear safety gear, or end up in hospital.

    Mike Tyson, grow up. lol.

    LiCoX cells aren't the only dangerous ones LiFeX pouch cells can also cause problems if abused (especially by a teenager) jk.

    NB. There are many types of Li-Ion batteries, none of them react well to misuse.

    Last edited 07/01/16 4:31 pm

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