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Help. All lithium ion cycles banned at USC


rdalcanto
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My son is a freshman at USC.  He was using an Inmotion V8 to get around campus.  USC just came down with a no lithium ion device policy.  No electric bikes, no hover boards, etc, allowed in the dorms because of "fire risk."  This is obviously a response to the cheap hoverboards that caught fire in the past.  A quality EUC with a charge doctor is hardly a fire risk.  Any advice on how to deal with this?  He is a music major and has to carry around a heavy saxophone across a large campus.  The EUC was awesome.

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Not sure where Inmotion stands with UL certifications. If they are certified, take that to the school and make your argument that they are safe. 

Perhaps they will make exceptions to UL certified electric personal assistive mobility devices. 

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Made some changes to the letter.  Thoughts?

 

Dear Mr VuNguyen,

 
My son Nicholas just informed me of the new USC ban on all Lithium Ion devices.  This is obviously in response to the fires that have occurred with the cheap, defective hover boards that became popular a few years ago.  I am deeply disappointed that someone has made the enormous mistake of assuming that all lithium ion devices are a fire risk.  The cheap hover boards caught fire because of the low quality chargers and poor design of the motherboards that allowed some of the cells to over charge, causing them to catch fire.  Not all lithium ion devices are a fire risk. Lithium ion batteries are in all the residents phones and computers.  High quality devices like my son’s Inmotion V8 unicycle have sophisticated circuitry that monitor the charge state of every cell.  Furthermore, the cells used are high quality batteries from LG and they are charged at a slow rate.  In addition to that, he uses a device called a “charge doctor,” that has been programmed to stop charging when the batteries are around 80% charged, which prolongs their life, and eliminates the fire risk completely.  The housing agreement said no hover boards, which is reasonable considering their history.  But to ban high quality devices, such as high end electric bikes and unicycles, is a policy dictated by ignorance and fear, and it is embarrassing to see this at an institution of “higher learning.”  In the not too distant future, nearly every vehicle in the parking garages will be powered by lithium ion batteries more than one hundred times larger than the batteries in the transport devices in question. This policy needs to be reconsidered using input from more knowledgable individuals who understand lithium ion cells, the importance of charge rates and charge levels, the difference between cheap and sophisticated chargers, and the safety features which are now standard in quality circuitry, so that the rights of the students are not violated in such a blatant manner.
 
Sincerely,
 
Richard A. DalCanto MD, PhD
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In hindsight I think trying to ask the college to allow some units and not others simply on the owners word that it is a quality machine will be challenging. You need some kind of easy to read 3rd party certification that a university office official could glance over and then issue a pass or sticker for the device to indicate it is approved for use on campus. I would rewrite the letter to be less confrontational and agree that the Hoverboard situation was indeed dangerous and you understand their reaction (albiet late) but that lessons were learned and products now exist that are certified safe and they should be considered by a forward thinking university who should be encouraging mid-range eco-friendly transportation methods. If you can persuade them to allow UL certified devices then get your son a Segway One S1 for campus related stuff which has UL certification and keep the V8 for all other non-uni movements. It isn't ideal but meeting in the middle with reasoned discussion will likely get you closer to the result you'd like.

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If you can't convince them otherwise, there's always working around the dorm rules. Does your son have a car he can store the wheel in? If so, he could charge the wheel elsewhere, like at the library while studying (presumably that is still done), in a classroom while attending a lecture, at a campus Starbucks, etc.

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