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Water in the power button?


Aaron Corsi

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So when I went to leave for work this morning my new Ninebot was acting crazy, I think I can guess what was happening but it shouldn't have happened at all on a device that is supposed to be water resistant enough to ride in the rain. Here is a video of what it was doing:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jjjITI421NU

I bought it from How We Roll so I'm hoping they can take care of me since their website has lots of text about how their units come with an American warranty. Here is the email I sent to them after sending the initial video of the problem: 

 

I have some free time to during my lunch break so I wanted to give you an update and some background on my situation.

Last night I decided to remove the bumper foam as I have become comfortable riding it and haven’t had to bail in a few days. I used a soapy sponge to scrub off the adhesive goo from the double sided tape and once all of the goo was gone I rinsed the Ninebot off in my shower using a handheld shower head on low pressure like it recommends in the instructions. I’m guessing what happened is that the power button was shorted out because it wasn’t properly waterproofed and water must have gotten inside the button. The weird thing is that it didn’t start acting weird like this until I picked it up to ride this morning but it sat quietly all night without incident. I had to leave it at home beeping and flashing and go to work, when I got back home for my lunch break it was totally silent and appeared to have turned itself off. I turned it on and it’s seemingly acting normal, I left it on to see if it would happen again and while it didn’t go crazy it did turn back off after a few minutes of being left alone, is that normal?

While my Ninebot seems to be acting normal right now I’m scared to ride it. This wasn’t bought as a toy, I bought it to replace a bicycle for commuting back and forth to work and I need it to be reliable and safe. I often have to ride my bike to work in the rain and would have to with this too, now I am afraid that its electronics aren't sufficiently waterproof and I’m afraid it’s going to turn off on me when I’m riding it in the rain. 

 

Any thoughts from the experts here in the forum? Should I expect them to service it or send me a replacement button? I'll keep you guys updated on how this shakes out.

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Sounds like it was indeed water causing a short and that it dried out after a while.  I wouldn't say it is definitely the power button though.  I could have been moisture that got on the circuit board.  The circuit board is sprayed with a sealant to make it water resistant but by no means is it waterproof.  The spraying looks to be done by hand so it is also prone to inconsistencies which may allow water to come in contact with components and cause shorts.

You were lucky that the design of the system just caused a reset instead of burning up something though.  I would test it out to make sure it functions as it should then pad up for the first ride to make sure it is behaving as expected again.  Then treat it as you did before.  :)

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Don't know about Ninebots, but at least some wheels have a non-latching power button that just gives a "signal" (shorts or opens two pins) to the mainboard... guess it could be the same on Ninebot, since it didn't react to the power button (if there's water shorting the button, it won't change state).

None of the wheels (including Ninebot) that I've seen tear downs of have been really IP65-enclosed (IP65 = 100% dust proof, waterproof enough to take low pressure water jet from any direction for duration of at least 3 minutes without water entering critical parts), at least the motor cabling hole is usually totally unsealed.

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1 hour ago, Aaron Corsi said:

 

 

@esajI believe it. I am hoping the seller will replace this unit for me on the grounds of it not having the waterproofing that the manufacturer advertises, but we'll see. Right now I'm wishing I had just paid the extra money for a Solowheel Xtreme which I have heard is actually waterproofed to a reasonable degree. And yes I'm fairly certain the power button on the ninebot is just a momentary (non latching) switch because you can't feel any sort of latching mechanism when pressing it.

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 An update for anybody interested: I took off the side pads and there was water all over inside them. Luckily the battery and main board appear to be very well sealed so no harm was done. The connector from the main board to the power button sits right below the opening at the top of the side panel so water had dripped down and followed the bundle of cables until it hit the connector nestled under them and caused a short. There's a tiny bit of corrosion but I'm just going to live with it, I think I'm going to cover that connector in a piece of heat shrink to prevent this from happening again, luckily all of the other non-waterproofed connectors are out of the way of this opening and they stayed dry. How We Roll was super nice in their emails to me, it's good to know I've got some nice guys to rely on if something more major goes wrong, that's what I was hoping for by buying my wheel from an official US distributor. Thanks for all the help and suggestions everyone!

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Good to hear that you were able to determine the cause.  I'm sure you will get back on it with more confidence now. :)

You should post some pics of your findings and fix!

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32 minutes ago, Cranium said:

Good to hear that you were able to determine the cause.  I'm sure you will get back on it with more confidence now. :)

You should post some pics of your findings and fix!

Yep I'm feeling much better about this knowing it wasn't the exposed button itself, this should be a pretty easy fix. I took pictures last night when i was drying it and I'll be putting the heat shrink on tonight so I'll make a follow up then. I rode it to work this morning with my gopro attached and all went smoothly, here's the video: https://youtu.be/EAXH38-FdqE

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52 minutes ago, dpong said:

It is normal for a NineBot One to beep once and turn itself off if left inactive for several minutes.  I don't recall how many minutes, but something like 5 or 10 minutes. 

If it's not then mine is broke - it's always done it as far as I can remember :)

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