Can You Ride An E-skateboard in the Rain?
May 10, 2023
- What are the potential risks and hazards riders may encounter?
- Impact of water on an electric skateboard
- Tips for preparing your electric skateboard for wet conditions
- Importance of wearing appropriate gear
- How to maintain your electric skateboard after the ride in the rain?
Riding an electric skateboard in rain or other wet conditions is definitely doable, but it does come with additional risks that riders should be aware of. While e-skateboards are designed to handle a range of weather, rain represents hazards like damage to electrical components and reduced traction, thus making riding in wet weather more precarious. By understanding these risks and taking proper precautions, riders can ride their e-skateboards in the rain.
What are the potential risks and hazards riders may encounter?
The biggest concerns are potential damage to the electronic systems and unsafe riding conditions. Exposure to water could cause short circuits in components like the battery, motor, controllers or wiring. Moisture can also impact tire traction and braking ability, reducing control and safety. Riding at lower speeds or power settings can help mitigate issues, but some risks always remain.
Impact of water on an electric skateboard
Water damage to e-skateboard electronics can reduce performance and safety over time. At a minimum, moisture exposure may cause temporary connectivity issues or interfacing between parts.
- Battery damage: Water can damage lithium-ion batteries, causing a reduction in lifespan or performance. Exposure to water may cause corrosion of battery contacts or seepage into battery cells. High voltage from the battery can also increase the risks of electric shock if submerged. It's best to fully waterproof the battery or avoid submerging it in water when possible.
- Short circuits: Water provides a path for electric current to flow, which can cause short circuits in the system. This introduces risks of fire, damage to components, and loss of control. Properly sealing components helps prevent shorts but does not eliminate the risk completely when riding in wet conditions.
- Motor issues: Water seeping into an electric motor can damage winding insulation, bearings, and other internal parts. This may cause the motor to become unresponsive, vibrate/squeal, or require replacement. Most enclosed motors have some degree of sealing but again, submersion or excessive moisture exposure poses risks.
- Controller damage: Motor controllers regulate the power to the electric motor. Water exposure can damage circuits within the controller, reducing or cutting power. Some controllers are more water-resistant than others, so risks depend on the specific parts used. Fully submerging a controller likely causes permanent damage.
- Corrosion: Components like battery contacts, bolts, nuts, and metal parts can corrode when submerged in or exposed to wet conditions for extended periods. The corrosion reduces conductivity and structural integrity over time. Applying corrosion protection helps prevent issues but may not eliminate them completely.
- Sensor damage: Some e-skateboards use sensors for functions like cruise control, speed limiting, or balance control. Water exposure can damage these sensors, impacting features that rely on them. Not all boards have sensors, so this risk depends on specific parts of your e-skateboard model.
In severe cases, water can cause permanent damage by corroding circuits or causing components to malfunction. It's best to take precautions by sealing and waterproofing electronics when possible and avoiding submerging parts in water. Even with protection, there is always a possibility of water getting in and causing problems.
Tips for preparing your electric skateboard for wet conditions
- Apply weather-resistant seals or coatings to components like the battery, motors, controllers, and wiring when possible. These provide an extra barrier against moisture.
- Use conformal coatings or protect electronics in plastic bags/sleeves, especially if fully waterproofing is not possible.
- Check that you have proper tires for wet riding with deep, wide treads that can grip wet surfaces. Softer tires also tend to work better than hard, smooth ones.
- Consider riding at lower power settings, especially on very wet days. This reduces demands on the system if any issues arise.
- Make sure any chargers or ports are sealed when not in use to prevent water from getting inside.
- Always wear appropriate safety gear like waterproof gloves, clothing and boots with good traction. Staying dry is the best way to prevent hazards from reduced visibility or control.
Importance of wearing appropriate gear
Wearing protective gear is essential for safety when riding an e-skateboard in rain or wet weather. Waterproof outer layers will keep you dry, while other gear provides protection, visibility, and grip.
- Waterproof jacket and pants: A water-resistant coat and pants will prevent you from soaking wet, allowing greater comfort and control. Look for gear specifically designed for e-riding or skating.
- Waterproof gloves: Gloves will keep your hands dry so you can properly grip the handles and prevent slips. Gloves with knuckle pads also provide more impact protection.
- Waterproof boots or shoes with good traction: Shoes that are rated waterproof or water-resistant will keep feet dry. Look for shoes with non-slip, grippy soles that can handle wet surfaces for better braking, turning, and avoiding falls.
- Protective gear (helmet, elbows, knees pads): Just as with any e-riding, safety pads, and a DOT-approved helmet should always be worn. Extra padding is good for high-impact falls on wet ground.
- Bright colors: Consider brightly colored gear that increases your visibility to vehicles and other riders on the road. This is especially important in rain, fog or low light conditions.
How to maintain your electric skateboard after the ride in the rain?
Proper maintenance after riding in wet conditions is key to keeping your e-skateboard in good working order. Some important steps include:
- Rinse and dry the board completely. Use water, sponges, soft brushes, air compressors, and heat guns to remove all water from hubs, pulleys, sensors, zip ties, etc. Allow all parts to dry completely before riding or storing.
- Clean and lubricate pulleys and moving parts. Apply lubricant to ensure free movement of pulleys on axles, bearings on pivot points, linkages, etc. This prevents squealing and keeps parts shifting smoothly.
- Inspect and repair any damage. Look for signs of water damage or corrosion and fix or replace parts as needed before riding again. Check tire condition and pressure too, adding air if necessary.
- Disassemble and dry components if needed. Removing components like the motor controller and drying all parts is best for heavily soaked boards. Reassemble everything before riding again to avoid future issues.
- Apply corrosion protection. In very humid or saline conditions, apply a corrosion inhibitor or lubricant to metal parts like axles, pulleys, and bearings to prevent rusting. Reapply after each ride in wet weather.
- Consider future-proofing. Install additional seals, covers, and water-resistant finishes when possible to better protect components for riding in wet conditions in the future. Prevention is the best approach.
In conclusion, while riding an electric skateboard in rain or wet weather is possible with the proper precautions, it does cause additional risks that require caution and awareness on the part of the rider. By understanding the potential hazards around water damage and reduced traction, taking steps to prepare your board for unsafe conditions, wearing necessary safety gear, and maintaining after wet riding, you can minimize risks when riding in the rain.
However, even with the best precautions, there is always an element of danger in riding an e-skateboard in wet weather. The key is using common sense to determine if conditions are safe enough for riding based on factors like visibility, precipitation intensity, surface wetness, and your riding skill level. If there are concerns about impacts to health, safety, or your equipment, it is best not to ride in questionable weather.