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  • Self balancing scooter: all things considered
    self balancing scooter picture Figure 1. Self balancing scooter picture

    The self balancing scooter was a big hit last Christmas arousing lots of attentions from many different perspective. There were first quite a few celebrities, including but not limited to Justin Bieber, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, Ruby Rose, Mike Tyson, and Matt Paris etc, showing off their scooters in public, then there were news about incidents of self balancing scooters catching fire while charging, or even without charging (see wikipedia for more links) , and further there were kids hit by bus in London while riding the scooter in the street, last but not least, there was amazon's action holding 97% of scooter listing requiring for certifications about the batteries and chargers...

    So why is the self balancing scooter getting so much attentions, worldwide? We have seen segways with sticks long time ago yet they never really got so popular as Christmas gift. We have seen since early 2004 the electric bikes and they also didn’t attract the same amount of attentions. We have skateboards dated back to 1990s if not earlier and the trends for those stay readily going downwards up to now. So there must be something unique about this self balancing scooter and you may start wondering what the uniqueness is. Well, the answer is, to quote Ben Schmanke,”this thing is awesome!”. It is not as regular as a bike, nor does it require you to spend any effort more than slightly twisting your feet,and riding on it gives you the feel of going into future. We have one such hoverboard in our office and almost everyone wanted to test it and many of us can ride fairly well. Even the girl in the neighboring office wanted to give it a shot. The DHL and fedex courier we are working with wanted to try on it as well. This item only needs a couple of hours to charge and can go as far as 20 kilometers (12 miles) before next charging. It only weighs about 12 kilogram (27 lbs) so it can be carried with easy when necessary and it doesn't take much space and can fit in your trunk quietly. The LED light or bluetooth make the appearance and sounds fabulous. The top speed is just about right, not too slow, not too fast. No wonder it has become the most popular gift idea for 2015 Christmas.

    Now the next question would be where the self balancing scooter came from. History may not be well documented regarding this issue as there seems to be contradiction among three major parties all of whom are claiming that they are the real owner of the product. These three parties are Segway who has an earliest patent since 1990s, Solowheel who claims to first come up with an idea of building a scooter that can balance itself, and Chic who allegedly first built the self balancing scooter. All three companies have their own approved patent related with the self balancing scooter,see US20130238231 and China patent 201420314351.5. Yet for laymen, we can only read the description in the published pages from USPTO without easily conclude who is the first. In fact, even the patent issuers were confused, otherwise they would approve all three patents one after another. There are lots of reported stories regarding the invention and origin of the scooter but no one other than these three parties would know exactly what the truth was. The commonly accepted story is Solowheel had an idea but didn’t make it without the help of Chic, and both Solowheel and Chic are claiming the possession as the inventor. Segway, on the other hand, jumps in and claims that the invention is based on their long-held patent. Lawsuits were already filed among the three parties and we will see how they are to be settled by the courts. Considering Chic is a Chinese company and Solowheel is from US, things would be further complicated as even if the case is over in US, there could be different jurisdiction on the other side of the planet...

    With the origin of the self balancing scooter settled, we would like to introduce what it looks like, both from outside and from inside. You may start wondering since there are so many different brands, which one are we going to talk about. Well, we are not going to use any brands, and chances are, 95% of the brands are basically the same. If you google “self balancing scooter” and go to shopping results, the 20 results shown in the first page, regardless of the different sellers or websites or brands, all have very similar looking designs! The colors are different, there are a few different sizes, the patterns for the tire sides vary, some of the listings come with remote control, carrying bags as selectable options, and there are a few varieties in batteries and that is about it. As we have connections with a few manufactures, we get to know that the so called “manufactures” are rather assemblers. The shells, the electric boards, the tires and the motors are all readily made and purchased from upstream suppliers as is. You may already know that most of the scooters are made in China. There are only two major motor manufactures in China as far as we know. The electric boards have been changing from time to time. There are so called “three parts” and “two parts” versions and the programs injected into the electric boards have different versions as well. Some of the manufactures were using programs imported from US and some of them were developing their own. You may see that the maximum speed for these self balancing scooters are usually listed as about 7 miles per hour. You may or may not ask why it cannot go over that speed. You may think in theory, it should be able to go much faster than that. And you are right. The top speed is set at 7 miles per hour using the program for user’s safety. There are customized scooters for extreme sports for which you can set the speed to be unlimited (NOT recommended! Very dangerous!) The shells are relatively easy to make and hence there are more varieties like colors, finish, material etc. The tires are pretty much the same rubber tires, it is usually provided together with the motor as one piece. For the 6.5 inches and 8 inches model, the tires are non inflatable and for the 10 inches model, the tires are inflatable. A newer version of 4.5 inches were developed a couple of months ago used for children only.

    To be continued…

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  • Self balancing scooter : shipping problem finally over

    We are glad to announce that the shipment problem is now solved. The batteries were finally delivered to our US warehouse and all the orders that were waiting for batteries were completed. We would like to thank all our customers for your understanding and support and we will try everything we can to avoid such situation from happening in the future. We have failed to deliver some of the orders before Christmas and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience we have brought to those customers and we will compensate as much as we can.
    Future orders should all be within estimated time of arrival on the item page. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns by emailing to service@joyfay.com.

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  • Flame testing experiment for the scooter battery insulation

    Danger! Never try this on your own!

    In the following video, we are showing how our battery looks like when cut open and how the insulation reacts with flame comparing with normal insulation tape.

    Battery dissection

    Flame test for scooter battery insulation

    $('#youtube_1').attr('src', 'https://www.youtube.com/embed/7okxkpP79Bc');
    $('#youtube_2').attr('src', 'https://www.youtube.com/embed/hnrtcFawM8U');
    Again please do NOT try this on your own!


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