Power Troubleshooting Electric Scooters

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Troubleshooting an electric scooter’s motor and recharging problems in combination can be a frustrating job. To help you with the tedious tasks required to determine why your scooter’s battery won’t hold a charge or why its motor won’t run, you need to know the basic principles and best practices involved.

This short guide provides a checklist of things to try in sequence, in order of likelihood of the causes, plus a few test options and tips to resolve the issues by a simple process of elimination.

Starting and Recharging Checks

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  • Fuses or breakers. Look inside the fuse receptacle or breaker box to see if any fuses are blown or if any breakers are tripped. You may need to hold a glass fuse up to the light to see if it has indeed blown. Tip: If there is a breaker, you only have to flip its switch to reset the power circuits.
  • Push to start. Electric scooter models with single-speed throttle controls may have to be pushed in order to get them running. With one foot on the scooter’s deck, shove off with the other while throttling up. Once you’re rolling at a walking clip, this type of scooter should continue running with the throttle open until brakes are applied.
  • Recharges. A battery which has not been re-charged after several months may be too depleted to power the scooter’s motor. To check this, re-charge it for eight hours then see if it will start. You should not let the battery pack re-charge continuously for more than half a day, to lower the risk of it being overcharged or else suffering damages due to unexpected malfunctions in the process.
  • Brake control snafu. Brake levers signals the board controller’s circuits to apply the brakes. When these break or get worn out, they normally default to the locked position which switches the board off. If the scooter runs with the braking controls disconnected from the board controller, this indicates the problem is in defective or worn-out control levers.
  • Power controls. Check the mechanical action of the power-on switch by snapping it between its power-off and power-on positions for a few times. It should snap firmly and positively between positions, and if it feels loose then it probably has a defect and may need eventual replacement.
  • Battery charger. After connecting the charging unit to a power outlet, check to see if any of the charging LEDs pulses or lights up steadily. If none do so when connected and if the wiring and connectors have tested to be sound, then the unit is likely to be malfunctioning.
  • Charger port. Disconnect the charging unit if it is plugged into a power outlet. Insert its charging connector into the scooter’s matching and see if any indicator LEDs light up on the unit. If an indicator LED on unit lights up when the charger’s connector is inserted, this shows that the cabled connections leading to that port are ok and that the charging unit is working fine.

Operating Tests

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  • Testing on a known-Good. If you have scooter that’s known to run good, you can test a battery pack with it by first mounting and re-charging it to 100% capacity, then operating the scooter’s throttle at full speed on level pavement to see how long the recharged cells can last. Most popular models have maximum travel ranges of between 30 minutes and an hour on a single charge. If the pack fails to last 35 minutes of operation then it is only slightly worn. If it fails to last 25 minutes then it has middling wear and may need eventual replacement. If it fails to last even 5 minutes, then it has severe wear and is likely reaching the end of its lifespan.
  • Electrical load testing. If the scooter has a front light and seems to run fine, a test of electrical burden on the batteries can be made. First, attach a cutaway cardboard arch fronting the light and shading a part of its beam so that it can be partly seen by the rider. After re-charging the batteries to 100% capacity, ride around with the light switched on and with your eyes on the lit part of the cardboard. If the batteries are in only slightly worn condition, the brightness will dim only slightly whenever the throttle is pushed hard. If the batteries are in badly worn condition then the brightness will dim markedly.

Deeper Inspections

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Via: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/xS58b5jZ0ic/maxresdefault.jpg

  • Touch or smell for problems. Lift the foot deck or battery/board compartment cover to check for burnt or melted wiring or board circuits. Grab and pull on the wiring runs to see if any are loose or free. Nose around the board controller and the motor for the scent of burning plastic cable sheaths and components. Any part which both smells and looks to have melted or blown is likely compromised and in need of replacement.

A board which has burnt smells and traces in its circuitry is usually damaged and in need of replacement. However, even if the wiring and circuitry around the board controller smells and looks fine, this does not necessarily mean the board is good as it is a complex part and not easy to diagnose. You have to test all other parts and operations and eliminate them as reasons before you can conclude that a malfunctioning board is the problem.

  • Motor inspection. A motor with a burnt scent to its casing is likely damaged and may have to be swapped out with a new one in order to avoid more damage to the circuit board. Check for burns or melted circuitry around the motor’s immediate area. Burnt circuitry usually indicates the unit has overheated enough to cause damaging meltdowns of insulation lining the motor’s internal windings.

Motors with heat-damaged coils have shorted circuits with high resistance which will impose a damaging electrical burden on the board controller’s circuitry. Such damaged motors must be replaced immediately to avoid damage to the board controllers.

Wrap Up

The guidelines and tips here presume that the scooter’s battery has been re-charged at least once sometime in the past two or three months. These considerations should point you to where the problem might lie, but if the problem persists you will likely have to find a technician to look at your electric scooter.

About the author

Lisa

Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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