A Safety Reminder from Backfire Boards
Posted by JERRY TONG
Batteries can be dangerous, and it is a challenge that E-boards and any PEV that uses lithium-ion batteries face. There have been a few incidents in our community as a whole that makes us as a company want to educate our customers about lithium-ion battery safety. We have linked a very informative video below about fire issues that electric cars have at the moment.
As stated in the video linked above: most of the responsibility for battery safety is on the supplier/manufacturers, but some of it falls on customers’ training and education on how to properly handle the product. This is why we are sending this email to make sure our customers are properly informed about the battery safety of their new electric vehicles.
With the growth of the esk8 and PEV industry, more and more new users are getting into the sport. This has led to us wanting to communicate our knowledge on things that can cause issues and early warning signs of a defective battery.
Here are a few key points about this issue:
If your board goes through a very heavy impact such as being run over by a car or a very large drop, go ahead and disconnect the battery and contact us. There is potential for internal damage that will not be visible from a glance.
Some esk8s are equipped with regenerative braking. Regenerative braking describes a board’s ability to transform kinetic energy (AKA motion) into electrical energy. Basically when you're not using the trigger to power the board and your moving some boards will recharge the battery slightly.
The main point here is to NEVER ride down a hill with a full battery. Almost all esk8s are equipped with a safety mechanism that will shut the board down to prevent it from overcharging the battery. That means as you are riding downhill you could lose access to any electric braking abilities. This is a fairly rare situation but something for everyone to be aware of.
If you read the fine print on almost any PEV warranty they are NOT waterproof, most are water-resistant. This is a very important distinction as that means you should always avoid water. Backfire's IP55 water-resistant rating enables riders to use the board through a small puddle on dry roads. We pursued this rating mainly to make our batteries safer from potential outside damages.
You cannot use the board during the rain, on wet/icy grounds; or sink the board into the water. Water can not only damage your battery but also your ESC, motors, deck, and bearings in the wheels. Water damage is NOT covered under our warranty or nearly any other manufacturer's warranty.
Taking water damage seriously is an important matter as water-damaged batteries have the risk of spontaneously catching on fire. This is due to a variety of factors and typically is only a risk if you regularly ride in the rain for a long period but it's always best to be safe rather than sorry.
If you find yourself caught in the rain without any option but to ride home, the first thing you should do when you get home is to unplug your battery and wipe down the whole board. If you absolutely must ride it do not turn your board back on for at least 48 hours to give time for any internal moisture to dry. Contact us as soon as possible for the next steps.
Safety Warning: If there was potential risk of water damage to the battery before, please disconnect the battery from the board immediately and stop charging it or use it! Keep the battery in a dry, and fire resistant place to avoid potential fire risk (such as a sealed bucket outdoor). Don't keep the water damaged battery in door. Do not ship a water damaged battery for service. A Li-ion battery store and release its electrical energy through electrochemical reactions. When electrical energy is drawn/discharged from the battery, lithium ions move from one electrode to the other. The electrodes are submerged in a liquid called an electrolyte, which allows for the movement of ions and consists of lithium salt and organic solvents. It is these organic solvents which are the leading fire hazard in Li-ion batteries. Furthermore, the positively charged electrode (cathode) in the battery contains oxygen, which may be released if the battery is subjected to specific stresses, e.g., internal short, excessive heat, and more. This means that the Li-ion batteries have all the elements needed to self-sustain a fire.
Manufacturer defects with batteries are extremely rare due to the safety tests and quality checks that batteries go through. However, with the large number of batteries being produced now, there are occasionally a few things that slip through the cracks. We hope you all take proper safety precautions and if you have any questions feel free to ask us here or ask one of the amazing esk8 communities around the internet.
Thank you from all of us here at Backfire Skateboards!