Introduction

The device that makes walking look pedestrian: the much-blogged-about “hoverboard.” You may have seen those super cool kids, effortlessly gliding around the supermarket while you’re stuck walking the produce section—like a chump. You may have thought to yourself, “Should I get one of those highly advanced, futuristic wheeled-transport platforms? And if I do, will it spontaneously combust, as I’ve seen so many times on YouTube?” Only teardown will tell if this self-balancing scooter will be up to snuff on safety, and repairability.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Swagway, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: Hard ABS outer body casing Image 2/2: Aluminum wheels with rubber tires
  • Just how much "swag" does this Swagway pack? The specs are a good place to start looking:

    • Hard ABS outer body casing

    • Aluminum wheels with rubber tires

    • 10 MPH top speed

    • 23" x 7.3" x 7.3"

    • "Top Quality Brand" lithium battery

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Image 1/2: "Risk of Death or Serious Injury"? Yep, nothing to worry about here. Image 2/2: Looks like someone flunked out of a certification. There’s a suspicious hole in that line of approvals…
  • We found some super reassuring warning labels.

    • "Risk of Death or Serious Injury"? Yep, nothing to worry about here.

  • Looks like someone flunked out of a certification. There’s a suspicious hole in that line of approvals…

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Image 1/3: Things look… not bad! Given these boards' reputation, we weren't expecting clean insides. Image 2/3: Each foot pad has two infrared sensors. Stepping down on the pad pushes a peg between emitter and receiver; when all four sensors are blocked, you are ready to roll. Image 3/3: Those sensor switches live on the backs of the two gyro boards—one for each wheel. Each board is home to:
  • Phillips #2 screws secure the two bottom covers, so it's not long before we're well within the belly of the beast.

  • Things look… not bad! Given these boards' reputation, we weren't expecting clean insides.

  • Each foot pad has two infrared sensors. Stepping down on the pad pushes a peg between emitter and receiver; when all four sensors are blocked, you are ready to roll.

  • Those sensor switches live on the backs of the two gyro boards—one for each wheel. Each board is home to:

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Image 1/3: Looks like we’ve got a “Shilly-car” lithium battery operating at 36 V with 4.4 Ah (that works out to 158 Wh—just over four times the capacity of an [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad+Pro+Teardown/52599#s115429|new_window=true|iPad Pro]). Image 2/3: We’re pretty sure shilly car is a Chinese term for scooter. Image 3/3: Inside, we find a tidy block of 20 LG [http://www.batteryspace.com/prod-specs/5457_B4.pdf|ICR18650B4|new_window=true] batteries with their own protection board. We’re glad to see a reputable brand in here!
  • The real star of the show here is the firestarter lithium ion battery pack.

  • Looks like we’ve got a “Shilly-car” lithium battery operating at 36 V with 4.4 Ah (that works out to 158 Wh—just over four times the capacity of an iPad Pro).

    • We’re pretty sure shilly car is a Chinese term for scooter.

  • Inside, we find a tidy block of 20 LG ICR18650B4 batteries with their own protection board. We’re glad to see a reputable brand in here!

  • Their nominal voltage is much higher than the 158 Wh listed on the shrinkwrap. Li-ion batteries shouldn't be fully discharged, so the battery protection board probably limits the pack to the label's specs.

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Image 1/2: The board in their product photo got a much better soldering job than ours. Image 2/2: The four large components are MOSFETs responsible for charging and discharging, and have pretty skimpy solder joints.
  • Speaking of the protection board: this is a Shenzen Dalishen Technology DDJ10A9.

    • The board in their product photo got a much better soldering job than ours.

  • The four large components are MOSFETs responsible for charging and discharging, and have pretty skimpy solder joints.

    • So far this is the only sketchiness we’ve seen, although it is a bit concerning. These particular solder joints are going to see a lot of power as the battery is charging and discharging.

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Image 1/2: They could also do with some more support and insulation (hot glue) on the solder joints. Image 2/2: Here's what we found on a quick tour of the main board:
  • The motor power lines have some interesting (read: completely mismatched) color coordination going on—fixers take note.

    • They could also do with some more support and insulation (hot glue) on the solder joints.

  • Here's what we found on a quick tour of the main board:

    • GD32F103 GigaDevices ARM Cortex-M3

    • Six half-H bridge motor drivers, made up of two large MOSFETs each

    • Two pairs of 0.007 ohm resistors by the power inlet (R007).

      • Resistors like these, with very low resistance, are used to sense current—helping to shut things down if a motor stalls out.

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Image 1/2: Inside we find oodles of coiled copper wire, three large power leads (one for each of the three phases) and five leads for Hall effect sensors (for position tracking). Image 2/2: The motor control board will let the motor know when to switch across those wires, making for a nice smooth ride.
  • Saving the best for last(ish), we cracked open one of the mysteriously heavy wheels to get a look at the brushless DC motor.

  • Inside we find oodles of coiled copper wire, three large power leads (one for each of the three phases) and five leads for Hall effect sensors (for position tracking).

  • The motor control board will let the motor know when to switch across those wires, making for a nice smooth ride.

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Image 1/3: To be honest, it looks pretty messy, but we don't like to judge a charger by its... random epoxy? So we consulted charger guru [http://www.righto.com/|new_window=true|Ken Shiriff of Righto.com], who said: Image 2/3: ''"Looks like a straightforward flyback switching power supply. I don’t see any cause for complaints...The charger looks solid. I don’t see any corners cut. The design is ‘unchallenging’—they didn’t try to make it as small as possible; Apple probably would have made it half the size."'' Image 3/3: So hey, as long as you have a ''real'' Swagway, with a ''real'' UL-certified charger, you should be fine? Probably.
  • Real quick though, let's take a peek at the UL-certified charger. After all, house fires from charging hoverboards have been reported...

  • To be honest, it looks pretty messy, but we don't like to judge a charger by its... random epoxy? So we consulted charger guru Ken Shiriff of Righto.com, who said:

  • "Looks like a straightforward flyback switching power supply. I don’t see any cause for complaints...The charger looks solid. I don’t see any corners cut. The design is ‘unchallenging’—they didn’t try to make it as small as possible; Apple probably would have made it half the size."

  • So hey, as long as you have a real Swagway, with a real UL-certified charger, you should be fine? Probably.

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Image 1/2: Modular design with good use of connectors means many components can be easily replaced. Image 2/2: Only Phillips #2 screws are used—nothing proprietary.
  • Swagway Repairability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • Modular design with good use of connectors means many components can be easily replaced.

    • Only Phillips #2 screws are used—nothing proprietary.

    • The battery is easy to replace.

    • Inconsistent wire colors makes reassembly tricky.

    • We couldn't get the tire off—replacing a worn-out tire will probably mean a new wheel and hub motor.

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4 Comments

These Motors are AC brushless induction motors, not standard DC Motors.

allanxp4 - Reply

I fixed my broken hover board but I'm looking for one of the 4pin hole for the charging cord that goes inside.

Joseph - Reply

Anyone know where the serial number is? Trying to ID the manufacturer of my board--having trouble. Wanna make sure it's not under recall. Thanks! I should add that I'm 99 percent sure it's a SwagWay board.

Lance G. - Reply

Thank you for learn

My problem is I fix my swag way and I changed the sensor then it's start putting own Weel drive forword and ether own drove back side

I hope slovenly this problem with you

Thank you again

Saleh alwaghzah - Reply

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