A few weeks before the holiday season, it seems like everyone was talking about hoverboards. As units began to ship and more and more people started playing around with the gadgets, something bad happened.
While the video above is a bit of special effects wizardry, exploding batteries are a real problem. Check out the video below:
So why is this happening?
Devices like these hoverboards are powered by a special kind of battery, known as the lithium ion. Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere. They’re responsible for powering our automobiles, phones and even our toys.
As you can see in the video above, a lot of work goes into making high-quality lithium ion batteries. Devices are even subjected to a battery of tests like the one shown in the video below.
Each cell of a battery is separated by a conductive layer of metal. This metal is one of the most expensive components in the manufacture of a battery.
These batteries are often ‘cheaper,’ because they are made by manufacturers who cut corners. Using an impure metal is just one way a battery can fail. The truth is, low cost batteries are a favorite of some manufactures.
Unfortunately, ‘buyer beware’ is some of the best advice we can offer when it comes to avoiding purchasing products that might contain exploding batteries. Small defects in the manufacture of the battery can be exacerbated by damage or heat. Little mistakes like the alignment of the elements inside the battery can have explosive consequences.
That’s likely why so many of these accidents seem to involve units that were left charging overnight. Often, these defects do not become apparent until the product has failed.
You’ll want to make sure that you stick with brands that use the highest quality batteries on the market. While this won’t totally eliminate the risk, it will mean that you reduce the likelihood of purchasing a product with a bad part.