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Old 06-04-2021, 06:21 PM   #1
CZroe
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Default Ninebot ES4 / ES3 Plus error 42, 48, 52, premature tire wear, stem wobble

Pics and video for some of the issues:
https://imgur.com/a/xCcAeAM

I noticed the excessive wear on the front tire when the center rib was gone in a week. It’s three weeks later and now the rest of the tread is gone too. Nothing seems to be rubbing but I did notice a bit of stem wobble yesterday (see video in gallery above). Could that cause it much like a tire alignment issue in a car? I use the rear fender brake a lot and yet the rear tire still looks new. That’s the brake that rubs directly on the tread! If it tolerates that so well, what could possibly be doing this to the front tire?!

So, I discovered the stem wobble while at work yesterday and still had to ride the thing home before I could deal with it, but I had barely left work when it broke down. I released the throttle when going down hill and it started beeping and flashing a red wrench symbol and “52” on the screen. It seemed to stop when I applied throttle and came back when I let go again. I cycled the power and it started doing it right away while I pushed the scooter. I cycled power again and the error went away but there was an extreme loss of power such that I had to push my way home.

When I logged in to make a support ticket I saw that they closed out my previous tickets and marked them “resolved” even though I was still waiting for a response! They literally asked me for two days and I gave them weeks. Even my follow-up message to let them know I was waiting on a response got closed and marked “Resolved” though it never even got a “please give us more time” response like the first one! Ridiculous. I had tried their call center before that but it claimed to be closed for COVID-19.

So until I called them again today the only response I ever got was a person going by “Cheza” asking me to give him or her a couple more days or call the number I had just tried. It’s been weeks. I did respond to make sure they knew I was still expecting a response but obviously that didn’t work.

So, yeah, my first support ticket was because the scooter keeps turning itself on when I leave it charging which floods the room with obnoxious animated lights and beeps just in case you were trying to sleep/ignore it. I realized later on that it does this when reaching the maximum charge I specified in the app which means I am forced to manually unplug it at 80% or below to limit charging to 80%... which means I never needed an app function in the first place since I’m doing it manually. Stupid! By coming on automatically when it stops charging, it is acting like I unplugged it and intend to ride it off. It’s stupid for the FW to equate unplugging with the charge controller simply suspending the charge.

...but back to the remaining errors. I couldn’t carry the charger home on the scooter yesterday so I plugged it back in to charge at work today (drove my brother’s car and couldn’t leave it in the sun) and it started beeping with errors 42 and 48. It never stops beeping either... even when you unplug it. If you turn it on without the charger it will power on but it doesn’t seem to see the external battery.

Today is the 1 month anniversary of my purchase meaning all this was within the first month. I got it from Costco after an EF-4 tornado recently carried my car off before crushing it under a tree. That was only the second time I attempted to commute home from work on it (3.4 miles; 5.5 kilometers). We mostly use it to get to and from public chargers with my brother’s Chevy Volt since he can’t charge at home after being displaced by the tornado. That averages about half a mile so it has seen very light use (hence limiting charge to 80%).

I tried calling the number again and was told to remove the battery, try it out, and call them back. Hopefully a replacement battery will work but if not I will need to take this thing back to Costco. Heck, I would’ve already exchanged it except I checked a few days ago (just before all this) and they didn’t have them anymore. I’m certainly not going to spend hundreds shipping it around for an issue when it is still new.

What would you guys do? I don’t have a car anymore and thought I’d spend twice as much for this scooter over another so that I would have Segway’s warranty and support. So far that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
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Old 06-05-2021, 04:51 PM   #2
Philip
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Error 42 is a communications fault between the Extra Battery pack and the Main Board. I don't know what the other two errors are, but they also likely relate to the same area (or they are examples of the % battery charge, interchanging with the display of the error code).

The usual cause of Error 42 is that your Extra Battery has come loose against the Stem, so the connection between the pack and the board is intermittently disconnecting while riding, (or permanently disconnecting). This can cause arcing between the pins and sockets, carbonisation of the metal, and damage to the connector/plug itself...and ultimately permanent damage to either the pack or the board. Light carbonisation can often be cleaned up successfully.

Even if the two 3mm hex fasteners that attach the Extra Battery to the Battery Bracket are tight, you also need to tighten the three 2.5mm hex fasteners that hold the Bracket to the Stem. I suggest applying fresh thread-locker compound (eg Loctite) to these 5 threads.

The main cause of loosening of these bolts is riding the KickScooter too enthusiastically!

Are you riding over a lot of rough surfaces, such as chip-seal road or concrete paths with loses of joins? Check the User Manual - the design spec for the width and height of gaps/thresholds is probably smaller than you are encountering. Slow down so that you strike these gaps/thresholds with less force, and check that your rider+cargo weight does not exceed the design spec. Otherwise your entire KickScooter is going to wear out relatively quickly (in the same way as a person who drives their car hard and fast is going to burn through tyres, etc).

Fast wear of your front tyre within 100-200 km suggests a lot of skidding has been occurring.

One cause of rapid wear is through slight lifting of the front tyre with every "kick" - this most often occurs when the rider is kicking to assist the KickScooter while riding up steep hills. If every kick causes a little lift and thus a little slip of the wheel, then this will skid away your tread rather rapidly. Like, within a couple of hundred km's (or even less). These brief little skids happen even more readily in wet conditions, of course. Modify your riding style so as to prevent these split-second skids every time you kick. Also, lighten up on the throttle response so you're not causing wheel slip during acceleration (again, enhanced if you tend to pull back on the handlebars and skid the front wheel as you take off).

Some owners are able to get a couple of thousand kilometres - or further - of good, safe use from a front tyre on an ES-series before they need to replace it due to wear. Others....not so far. The difference mostly comes down to riding style, and some comes down to the road surface and slope, and rider weight.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:29 PM   #3
CZroe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post
Error 42 is a communications fault between the Extra Battery pack and the Main Board. I don't know what the other two errors are, but they also likely relate to the same area (or they are examples of the % battery charge, interchanging with the display of the error code).

The usual cause of Error 42 is that your Extra Battery has come loose against the Stem, so the connection between the pack and the board is intermittently disconnecting while riding, (or permanently disconnecting). This can cause arcing between the pins and sockets, carbonisation of the metal, and damage to the connector/plug itself...and ultimately permanent damage to either the pack or the board. Light carbonisation can often be cleaned up successfully.

Even if the two 3mm hex fasteners that attach the Extra Battery to the Battery Bracket are tight, you also need to tighten the three 2.5mm hex fasteners that hold the Bracket to the Stem. I suggest applying fresh thread-locker compound (eg Loctite) to these 5 threads.

The main cause of loosening of these bolts is riding the KickScooter too enthusiastically!

Are you riding over a lot of rough surfaces, such as chip-seal road or concrete paths with loses of joins? Check the User Manual - the design spec for the width and height of gaps/thresholds is probably smaller than you are encountering. Slow down so that you strike these gaps/thresholds with less force, and check that your rider+cargo weight does not exceed the design spec. Otherwise your entire KickScooter is going to wear out relatively quickly (in the same way as a person who drives their car hard and fast is going to burn through tyres, etc).

Fast wear of your front tyre within 100-200 km suggests a lot of skidding has been occurring.

One cause of rapid wear is through slight lifting of the front tyre with every "kick" - this most often occurs when the rider is kicking to assist the KickScooter while riding up steep hills. If every kick causes a little lift and thus a little slip of the wheel, then this will skid away your tread rather rapidly. Like, within a couple of hundred km's (or even less). These brief little skids happen even more readily in wet conditions, of course. Modify your riding style so as to prevent these split-second skids every time you kick. Also, lighten up on the throttle response so you're not causing wheel slip during acceleration (again, enhanced if you tend to pull back on the handlebars and skid the front wheel as you take off).

Some owners are able to get a couple of thousand kilometres - or further - of good, safe use from a front tyre on an ES-series before they need to replace it due to wear. Others....not so far. The difference mostly comes down to riding style, and some comes down to the road surface and slope, and rider weight.
You are exactly right as I have already found exactly what you describe:
https://www.reddit.com/r/ninebot/com...tm_name=iossmf

The app was only seeing the internal battery and should have said “Battery 1” and “Battery 2” at the top of the screen instead of just “Battery.” The labels work like tabs to bring up the other battery’s info but since it only saw one battery it was just a header with no context for how it should look with a second battery. I didn’t know what I was supposed to see until last night. I have since updated the IMGUR gallery linked in the OP.

Here’s how it went: I called Segway yesterday and they asked me to call back after I remove the battery, charge the scooter, and attempt to ride without the battery. I took it to the workshop I have been setting up since the tornado but couldn’t get that far as I have not found my hex keys from the tornado-damaged house yet and the one Segway included was only enough to take the pack off. The rail prevents charging without the pack and takes a smaller hex. The two I did remove were plenty tight but the rail was able to move a tiny bit (nothing I would’ve noticed if not looking for it).

Since I couldn’t go any further without a set of hex keys I decided to clean the contacts and put it back together. I used a cotton swab with PUREtronics Electronics Cleaning Grade 99.9% isopropyl alcohol on the smaller four pins, avoiding the other two because they were the high amp contacts and I didn’t want to short them. I couldn’t get too deep since the swab was too thick but I did see enough black oxidation on the swab that I knew the contacts needed cleaning. Though I barely touched it, the swab looked like a blackened cotton swab you might get after cleaning an old video game cartridge. I pulled most of the cotton off so that I could get between the four smaller pins a bit better then put dielectric grease over the corresponding holes in battery pack and wiped off the excess in a way that left the holes plugged with grease and installing it would push the grease in. Even without contact cleaner I have seen dielectric grease completely restore bad electrical connections in everything from car headlights to scratchy volume pots to PC VGA ports. That’s why they sell it as “bulb grease” at auto parts stores.

Anyway, it worked flawlessly! I plugged it in to charge and got no errors. I fired up the app and noted that it now shows both batteries. I charged it up and the power was restored.

The majority of riding has been on smooth streets. There is a railroad crossing but I always walk across even though it is downhill. I occasionally cross a brick crosswalk/intersection but slow down and push there too.

As mentioned elsewhere when I have discussed the excessive wear, I learned not to kick while giving it power on my very first ride... so I don’t think that’s causing my tire wear. Though the wheel spins freely, I have to wonder if the suspension is scraping it while in motion. You see, I’ve been very mindful of preventing wheel slipping, especially since I noticed the wear within days of buying the scooter... well before the central rib was gone. It’s gone along with the rest of the tread only a few weeks later. Considering how often I use the foot brake on the rear tire I would expect to see severe wear there, if anywhere, and yet it still looks new. I will have to see if there is anything I can do about that. I recently began to run alongside the scooter and then hop on instead of kicking but it hasn’t slowed the wear at all.

I hope the wear is related to stem wobble. I will get that corrected and change the tire to see if the problem remains. Thanks! I am happy to see that the call center resumed operation and the battery fix was relatively easy but I am still concerned with them closing out open support tickets after asking you to wait for an answer, the premature tire wear, the stem wobble, and the problem where it powers on automatically if you leave it on charge. One step at a time. I may yet keep it if I can take care of some of these other issues.
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Old 11-02-2021, 06:38 PM   #4
CZroe
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Ouch:
https://imgur.com/a/E0ca0kG

600-something miles on the clock and the wheel suddenly (and painfully) goes about 80° out of alignment with the handlebars. I occasionally need to tighten the two screws in front but they were not loose when I last checked. There are two more under a warranty seal n the back which I can’t check without breaking said seal. Considering that I have found the ones in front loose on at least two occasions I have been wary of the ones they won’t allow me to check/tighten. Were they were responsible for this mechanical failure?

I loosened the two screws, forced the tire back into place, and tightened the screws but I don’t trust that there isn’t significant damage inside that I can’t evaluate without breaking that warranty seal. Perhaps I should just put it back like it was and claim the warranty? I’m really annoyed that a silly warranty sticker is causing such uncertainty but I’ve heard horror stories about how much it costs to ship for warranty service and Segway stores or authorized service centers don’t seem to exist in the Atlanta area anymore though there used to be one right by me in Peachtree City.

I did have to clean and regrease the battery contacts one more time in the 6 months I’ve owned it and one of the two larger battery connections looks misshapen… probably from arcing when the battery was loose before. I believe they should have had battery contact grease and thread locker on the battery rail screws from the start… or at least include the tool with instructions to check that rail under the battery occasionally.

My front tire tread has been completely gone for 5 of the 6 months since buying it new. It was almost gone and already needed replacement at only three weeks… I even posted about it here. I can’t imagine having to buy and replace the front tire every three weeks and others tell me they continued using theirs once bald so I continued as well. Even now the rear tire looks almost new… and I still stomp on the foot brake/fended with every stop. If anything, I’d expect that one to be the one that wears prematurely but that’s the opposite of what I see happening.

Though I use the folding feature constantly I ordered a new front wheel, tire, motor, etc assembly that doesn’t fold. The $40 price was barely more than a tire alone and I figure it will give me a window into what things look like under that warranty seal without actually breaking the seal. If the tire wrenched sideways I expect it did some damage inside that I can’t see or evaluate without breaking that stupid little seal.
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Old 11-08-2021, 02:15 PM   #5
Civicsman
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FYI, dielectric grease is not a contact cleaner. It is simply a type of grease that has a high resistance to conducting electricity, and sometimes it has good thermal conductivity (for heat-sinks).

It doesn't fix bad contacts. Simply removing and re-seating the connection does the cleaning, because every electrical contact mating surface involves a tiny bit of plastic deformation, by design. So, pushing it back together jams the contact surfaces together, deforming them and making a new connection.

Applying dielectric grease just helps minimize oxygen infiltration into the contact area, which might help prevent the problem from returning.
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