Finally, my own “Hoverboard”! At least for a moment…
After hearing all the bad news about “Hoverboards” catching on fire, exploding randomly or simply just overheating while driving I’ve decided to get one on my own to test it. Yeah, I know, sounds a bit stupid, right? Anyways… After seeing one for just about 220€ from a trustworthy seller here in Austria I decided to go for it and grab one since my sister and I always wanted such a device to simply play around with.
The fun however wasn’t going to last for long… Here’s why.
After getting the message that my board finally arrived at home I was quite hyped to be honest. I never saw one in real life nor did I try one or any other such device like a normal segway or even a plain normal skateboard before, a completely new area for me now.
So I asked my boss if I can get home earlier today since it was a nice, shiny and somewhat warm weather outside to try it and yes I was that hyped for it actually. After getting home the first thing I did was unpacking it and… reading the manual, quite unusual for a tech-guy like me who simply tries or figures stuff out on his own.
A few minutes later after reading the first few steps, how to start and what to do I put on a helmet, some gloves (which those happened to save me a hell lot later on) and a jacket (same goes for this one), went to the nearest widely open area and learned how to drive it. Learning how to get onto this thing and how to drive it is not as hard as you might think now, after some minutes I already stopped wobbling around on it and drove my first few rounds. Everything went fine, the board didn’t seem to make any weird noises, no slowdowns, no other bad things and, most important, no fire or explosion yet.
So I tried a few more times getting more and more secure on this thing, letting my sister try it in between “cooldown times” for myself since your legs start to hurt a lot when driving this thing for the first time. You literally feel every little hole in the asphalt when driving and the faster you drive the more you’ll get “vibrated around” on that thing. Kinda uncomfy after some minutes, bearable tho.
Everything was fine until the evening. After charging it up we decided to go for a ride again, except now it was kinda dark outside and you couldn’t see the streets well anymore. Nothing bad in my area tho, there aren’t many cars driving around so you can still drive around. After a few minutes tho I noticed that the left wheel was kind of loose. Nothing bad for now, it was still driving like it should and no weird sounds still.
I was on my last round around the block and got a bit too enthusiastic all of the sudden without even noticing it and maxed the device out, meaning it wasn’t able to go faster anymore. There was a tiny little beep which indicated that however it was so quiet that the sound of the motors were just too loud to clearly hear it and then… BAM… It happened. My first crash with this thing.
I was flying onto the asphalt with full speed, 12 km/h which doesn’t seem much actually but simply imagine running and all of the sudden you fall down. Kind of the same thing here. Remember those gloves and the jacket I mentioned earlier? Yes, those actually saved both my hands, butt and shoulders after landing quite hard. The board took a few spins and landed onto grass after the crash so nothing more happened but still, a hell of a shocking moment for me.
After such a thing the most important rule you have to remember: Don’t give up. So I simply stood up again, cleaned the dust off a bit and was already on the board again. It had a few more scratches after rolling a few meters on asphalt but hey, those things get scratched up like hell after some times of driving anyways so who cares. Nothing was wrong with the board yet and everything was working fine so far. It also wasn’t the loose wheels fault since that worked perfectly fine still btw.
And I already landed on the asphalt once while driving too fast and that thing slowing down without a warning xD pic.twitter.com/Ry4zpFtiCI
— EpicLPer (@EpicLPer) 9. März 2016
Once I arrived at home the first thing I did was taking this thing apart and fixing the loose left wheel. It wasn’t too hard to be honest, just a bunch of screws which had to be taken out and 4 bigger screws which had to be tightened down a bit. After testing it works even better than before now! Well, at least for a short time…
The next day I decided to take this thing to work with me since the bus stop is about 100 meters away from my workplace, it wouldn’t be much faster driving this thing all the way there and back again than simply just walking but hey, we’re doing this for the fun here and not because those mini-segways are the most practical things in life. Besides, it helps a bit waking up in the morning because you have to concentrate. So I got off the bus, unpacked the thing from the carry-bag which I already had and started driving. Everything was fine, no hiccups, nothing bad happening or anything weird which shouldn’t be there. Just a normal working “hoverboard”.
That was until I finished working and tried to drive from my workplace to the bus station… I took it out of its bag, turned it on, got on it and everything still worked fine like this exact morning. However after a few meters I had to search something in my pockets so I got off the board, searched for that thing (because I thought I forgot something at my desk) and after making clear I didn’t I tried to go back on it again just to see it’s not working anymore…
The red light was flashing constantly and there was no feedback anymore from the motors whatsoever. The right side was nearly completely dead and only powered up for a fraction of a second once powered off and on again. The left one, to my surprise, works great tho and there are no problems with that side. But the right one won’t move at all, in fact it even started to go into its error mode when you manually turn the wheel. For me this looked like a short circuit in the wheel-motor or something, those things are crazy tiny by the way for the power they can put out.
So yeah… The funny thing is that this wasn’t happening again when I arrived home (where I already missed my first bus and had to wait for some time). So I drove around with it, trying to trigger this error again, after a few minutes it indeed happened again but I was able to fix it this time by simply re-calibrating the device (holding down the button for about 5 seconds), worked again. Not long after tho the red LED started flashing again and it happened once more, the right motor wasn’t working anymore. This time however I wasn’t able to fix it anymore so I simply threw it on my shoulder (yes, those things are heavy as hell for their size and awkward to hold onto) and walked home.
After a cool down-time of about 1 hour I tried it again and, see there, it works again but you can hear some weird “screechy” noises on the right wheel, almost as if the motor was taking a dump on itself or something… It was moving without throwing an error at me for a few seconds but that noise was nothing nice to hear… But then it happened again, even when you turn the wheel while you’re not standing on this thing it’ll go into this error mode. Taking it apart and looking for a loose connection didn’t help either, besides I already knew this wouldn’t help much since it was working just fine a few hours ago and also after a cool down. It wasn’t getting hot either so we can scratch that from the list…
In conclusion: I have no idea so far what’s wrong with my board and will try to replace it. Those sellers here in Austria are usually nice and take stuff back even tho they don’t have to anymore so at least that’s a good thing buying stuff locally and not from eBay. I’ll keep you guys updated here and will post more stuff here, if they for whatever reason won’t replace the board I’ll have to take it fully apart to look at it myself even more.
Anyways, thanks for reading so far! Have a nice day :)
Update 17.03.2016 – I’ve now sent back the damaged unit and ordered a new one which was just sent away today. Let’s hope it’ll arrive in the next few days and I can update this post here again :) Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention here earlier is that those things are, by now, almost sold out on their website. They updated the estimated shipping time from a few days up to 5-6 weeks now, wow!
Update 29.03.2016 – Finally got my replacement-board now! Besides that, I was already driving for almost 3 hours with no problems at all now :) They’re also taking a look at the old, damanged one to see if I can get my money back, which I indeed hope so.