The joy one gets from learning how to successfully ride a hoverboard is similar to the happiness one gets from learning how to drive a bike, motorcycle, or car. There is no denying that hoverboards, also known as self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters, are the hottest tech among youngsters, adrenaline junkies, and fun-loving adults. To people whose minds are into sustainable transport, they are the latest thing in electric mobility. Hoverboards may be fast, lightweight, and quick-charging, but they have yet to show proof as a safe mode of transport.
The first thing you may have heard about hoverboards could be those fires that occurred, right? Well, that happens only with fake self-balancing electric scooters imported from China, where manufacturers (or copycats) use substandard battery packs, the culprit behind all hoverboard disasters. Good thing major retailers like Amazon are making sure they sell units coming from reputable brands, which models have been evaluated and certified by third-party testing agencies, most especially the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The UL issues the UL 2271 and UL 1642 certifications for self-balancing e-scooters’ electrical systems and batteries, respectively. Certified hoverboards are safe hoverboards bear the UL mark.
What’s inside the hoverboard?
Ever wonder how the self-balancing two-wheel electric scooter works? The answer lies inside the device, where the components are properly organized to work in sync with one another and with the rider on board, of course. The standard smart e-scooter has the following parts and components:
- Steel frame with a central pivot
- Outer shell (plastic cover)
- Battery pack (composed of 20 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery cells)
- Main logic board or motherboard (the biggest of the three circuit boards)
- Gyroscope boards
- Foot pads (made of durable, dirt-resistant rubber)
- Pressure sensors
- Electric motors (inside the wheels)
- Tilt/speed sensors
- Wires and wire connectors
- LED lights
- Power button
- Charging port
For matter of safety and balance, the main logic board and the lithium-ion battery pack sit on opposite sides of the hoverboard. The charging port and the power button are found on the side where the main logic board is. Each rubber foot rest has two pressure sensors, one at the toes and the other one at the heel. The infrared sensors are located at the back of the two gyro boards, one beside each wheel. And inside the wheel is the electric motor and a tilt/speed sensor.
There are three circuit boards in a hoverboard. The main logic board is the biggest circuit board, and it acts as the “brain” of the device. The gyroscope boards are the other two boards, smaller than the “brain”. There are two electric motors, one for each wheel. Each electric motor has a total of eight cables (three power cables and five hall cables), which are responsible for the balance of the hoverboard, the function of the wheels, and the motion of the mobility device itself. The cables are connected to the motor control board, which works with the electric motor.
At the center of the hoverboard are the power indicator light and the battery charge light. In some smart self-balancing models, the riding mode indicator light is also at the center. Each foot rest has an LED light at the front.
How to ride your hoverboard?
Any person learning how to ride a self-balancing electric scooter is like a child learning how to ride a bike without trainers. Riding the smart e-scooter should be easy enough if you know how to balance. Here are steps to help you master the device:
Step 1: Positioning your hoverboard
- Find a nice amount of space to try out your device, like an open room or wide area with little or no objects lying around.
- Make sure your device is fully charged. You cannot learn how to ride on a dead two-wheel scooter.
- Turn the power on.
- Put your device on the ground. Keep it flat or in other words, level with the ground.
- If your hoverboard comes with different riding modes, make sure to activate the learner/beginner mode so you can start off easy.
Step 2: Mounting on your hoverboard
- Foot placement: Identify your dominant foot. Gently mount that foot first. Move device a bit to get the feel of it.
- If you feel the device wiggling, hold on to somebody or something nearby for stability.
- Once your dominant foot is on, lift your other foot off the ground, step on the device, and stand straight up.
- Just relax. Don’t overthink it or else you fall. Just step on the hoverboard like you would on stairs. Look straight ahead, not downward.
- Make sure your weight is equally distributed on both legs after you mount on the board.
- If you are still holding onto something, move your legs around. Get used to the directional motoring of the smart scooter.
- In a moment, you should be free-mounting and not holding onto anything for support.
- For better balance and control, push your feet to the edges of your device.
Step 3: Moving your hoverboard
- When moving your self-balancing electric scooter, “think” of where you want to go.
- To move forward, shift your weight to slightly lean forward. Press down with the front of your feet like you are getting on tip-toes.
- Start off slow until you gain balance at the speed you are going.
- The more you lean forward, the faster you go, but don’t lean too much or else you fall off your smart self-balancing electric scooter. You can slow down the speed by slightly leaning backward.
- To move backward, slightly lean backward and push down your heel.
Step 4: Turning with your hoverboard
- To turn right, slightly press down with the front of your left foot (clockwise rotation).
- To turn left, slightly press down with the front of your right foot (counterclockwise rotation).
- To make a spin, you will need to move down the heel of the opposite foot.
Step 5: Getting off your hoverboard
- Shift your balance to your dominant foot, and step right off with the other foot.
As with any other mobility devices, the purchase and use of a smart self-balancing two-wheel scooter can be fraught with safety risks. The customer or end user is advised to exercise caution and vigilance.
- Wearing a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and shoes are recommended.
- Avoid buying a hoverboard for children below 12 years of age.
- Purchase only from a major retailer or reputable brand. Consider self-balancing electric scooters listed on the Amazon site. The online retail giant now sells hoverboards that are certified by the UL and come with battery packs of genuine lithium-ion battery cells made by Samsung, LG, or any top-tier battery producer.
- Consider hoverboards that come with a one-year warranty.
- When it comes to price, be willing to pay a premium for safety. Avoid anything below $300 or just stick to items listed on Amazon.
- Read the manual for instructions on how to use and charge your mobility device. Take note on the required charging duration.
- Before you test drive your hoverboard, check and test the components first. Make sure everything displayed on the box and user’s manual is included, and test each one out. If you notice any slight defect, contact customer service and request a replacement or else send the item back and ask for a refund.
- Do not overcharge your hoverboard. Do not leave it unattended while it is charging. Most hoverboards take 1-2 hours to charge, so there is never a need for overnight charging.
- Do not charge your hoverboard right away after use. Let it cool for a few minutes. After charge, allow it to discharge for a few minutes.
- Do not attempt to do stunts with your device.
- Avoid tough and bumpy pavements and wet surfaces. Never use your hoverboard in rainy weather.