By Jason Wakefield Is My Hoverboard Safe? Short answer: It depends. In a previous article, “Can I Take My Hoverboard on a Plane,” we brieﬂy discussed the growing concern airlines had with hoverboards. As the demand for hoverboards grew, ﬂy-by-night companies stepped in to ﬂood the market with cheap, low-quality knock-offs. These unscrupulous players had one goal in mind: make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. Get in and get out. This resulted in a torrent of new, low-quality products that were shoddily built and poorly supported. With cheap quality hoverboards ﬂooding the market, many have been subjected to problems while using or charging them. This has resulted in a potential ﬁre hazard in some cases. With rare exceptions, your self-balancing hoverboard is likely powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They are extremely compact, light and easy to make, but to ensure they are okay, great care must be taken in their production and the production of related components, like the charger and mainboard. As with any industry, some hoverboard manufacturers showed little regard for quality: In their rush to get to market with product, many low-standard manufacturers used cheap, low-quality batteries. Even worse, some companies used outdated manufacturing processes with little to no quality assurance. But with SWAGTRON®, quality is fundamental a value that we gladly instill in everything we do. And that includes bringing to market top-quality hoverboards that are fun and feature-rich. The SWAGTRON® Way When it comes to caution, SWAGTRON® believes in being proactive with our design and manufacturing processes. To that end, we’ve implemented patented SentryShield® Smart Battery Management technology in all our electric rideables, including hoverboards. This is a system of processes combined to provide multilayered protection for the internal components, including the battery. The SentryShield® system also provides hardware protection. The hoverboard’s battery sits in an air-tight aluminum alloy enclosure. A silicone gel layer on the PCB mainboard also helps it maintain consistent temperatures and avoid short circuiting. The battery is also monitored by an intelligent Battery Management System (BMS), which helps protect the battery against overvoltage, overcharging and overcurrent. But there’s one more thing that SWAGTRON® does to ensure the highest quality standards in our hoverboards. Enter: Underwriters’ Laboratories UL is an international science safety company whose goal is to ensure safety in consumer products. UL was founded in 1894 and in 1903 developed the ﬁrst standard for safety. In 1913, UL revolutionized building construction by improving the construction standards of walls. Eventually, it would move on to consumer goods and, in 1921, UL certiﬁed its ﬁrst refrigerator. Tests for this landmark product ranged from shock hazard, drop tests and the ability of children to open the fridge from the inside, should they get trapped there. This trend in developing safety standards for consumer goods continued and expanded. Consumers would soon ﬁnd comfort knowing that a lot of the everyday products they used had been tested and certiﬁed by this now-global entity. UL tests everything from dish washers and washing machines to vending machines and televisions. In 2016, Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) took on the task of deﬁning rigid quality standards for manufacturers of hoverboards, amid growing concerns. They designed over 150 rigorous tests that must be passed to gain UL-2272 certiﬁcation. The 150 tests include: Overcharge Test Short Circuit Test Over discharge Test Temperature Test (determines the failure temperature of a product) Imbalanced Charging Test Shock Test Crash Test Drop Test Mold Stress Test Water Exposer Test Extreme Temperature Cycling Test Motor Overload Test What does it mean to be UL certiﬁed? “UL Listing means that UL has tested representative samples of a product and determined that the product meets speciﬁc, deﬁned requirements. These requirements are often based on UL’s published and nationally recognized Standards for Safety.” – Underwriters’ Laboratories UL 2272 hoverboards have been certiﬁed to have a battery and electric system protected against overvoltage, overcharging and overheating. UL certiﬁcation also means that the battery’s encasement and the hoverboard’s frame are made from durable components. UL certiﬁcation lets hoverboard lovers breathe a sigh of relief. As with any electrical and recreational mobile device, however, you should always be cautious. Use common sense and take steps to reduce the chances of damaging the battery during operation. For example, avoid riding or charging the hoverboard in the rain, avoid throwing the hoverboard around, etc. How do I know if my hoverboard is certiﬁed? Quite simple. Look for the UL holographic certiﬁcation mark on the hoverboard and the UL promotional mark that manufacturers place on hoverboard packaging. The UL emblem indicates that model hoverboard was inspected by the UL and passed its tests. If a hoverboard has been certiﬁed, you’ll ﬁnd the UL holographic sticker on the bottom of the board. If you are new to the hoverboard market, be sure to check for the certiﬁcation markers. Other tips to make your hoverboard working properly Don’t buy a used hoverboard. If you buy a hoverboard that is not new, make sure it is Recertiﬁed. Shop at a retailer you trust. Do not buy from a seller you may not be able to locate in the future. Don’t buy a cheaper hoverboard model on sites like eBay, unless it’s directly from the brand or an ofﬁcial brand ambassador. Don’t charge the battery overnight or for longer than indicated in the product manual. Don’t leave the hoverboard unattended as it charges. Let the hoverboard cool for an hour after use, before you plug it in to charge it. Hoverboard manufacturing has come a long way. The frames are more durable. The software is more streamlined. The suspension and tires offer better balance and smoother rides. And yes, the batteries are better than they were in years past. But testing and certifying a hoverboard is still a time-consuming and expensive process. Not to mention, not all manufacturers bother going through the process at all. Or . . . you could always just buy from SWAGTRON®, where you know your care is taken seriously. 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