Segway Scooters

Why Won’t My Electric Scooter Turn On?

Owning an electric scooter makes your life easier and more interesting than the four-wheeled engine brigade. It gives you a more economical and environmentally friendly option than your automobile counterparts. But what happens when your electric scooter won’t move and the key switch won’t turn from OFF to ON? 

Occasionally, you may encounter common electric scooter issues that can be easily repaired or require your electric scooter to be sent to the manufacturer or local repair shop.

Electric scooters 101: understanding the basics 

Before we explore why your electric scooter won’t turn on, here are some basic things to know about it and how it works.

Source: Popular Mechanics

What makes an electric scooter work? 

Electric scooters operate by brush direct or brushless direct motors built into the wheel housings. Sometimes, these are dual motors on more powerful electric scooters, while kick scooter motors run off a single motor. This motor is powered by electricity that flows through a circuit from a battery pack and is engaged by a key switch, similar to those in your car.

Common components and their roles 

Some common components of electric scooters include: 

  • The deck: The platform on which you stand on a kick electric scooter. This part is either powered by a kick-off from the rider or by pressing on the accelerator.
  • The battery: An electric scooter battery is the power source from which the electric scooter draws its power. These are typically Lithium-ion batteries that range from 24V to 120V and have a watt-hour range of 150Wh to 750Wh. These batteries are not particularly large and are relatively inexpensive, allowing you to have spares and maintain a charged ‘power bank’ for your electric scooter.
  • Motors: The battery that powers these comes in two types: brush direct and brushless direct. Brushed motors rely on the friction generated by the brushes to power the motor. Whereas brushless motors do not. As a result, brushless motors are much more energy-efficient than their brushed counterparts.
  • Pneumatic tyres: Unlike non-electric kick scooters from the 1990s, electric scooters typically have larger pneumatic tyres, enabling them to tackle different types of terrain and operate more stably while on the road. Unfortunately, they are another thing to maintain on your scooter, so it’s best practice to check your tyre pressure weekly. 

 Common reasons why your electric scooter won’t turn on 

If you’re experiencing a problem where your electric scooter won’t turn on, there are a few reasons why this may be happening.

Source: EnviroRides

Battery-related issues 

The first potential source of the problem could be your electric bike or electric scooter’s battery. Your battery may not be producing enough power to turn over the motor. If you forgot to charge it the night before, simply plug the battery pack into the battery charger and get a fresh battery that is fully charged. Sometimes, your battery will have a charge indicator on it – check this before installing the new one. 

Alternatively, you may experience a problem where your battery dies while riding. This could point to a defective battery or battery charger, a more serious issue that could mean a more expensive repair or replacement of the scooter’s battery charger or the battery itself. 

If you suspect battery-related issues are not solved by charging the battery completely, your next step should be to check the charging ports for broken or bent pins or debris. Clean out the debris with a dry paper towel or a cloth, and see if you can fix the bent pin with a pair of pliers. Broken pins will mean that you may need to replace the charging unit.

Damaged or Aged Battery 

If your attempts at battery maintenance have failed, you may need to bite the bullet and replace your battery entirely. If your battery is a few years old, it may be time to send it to the battery graveyard. Or, if your battery has been accidentally dropped from a height or your electric scooter has been involved in a collision, your battery may have been an unknown casualty in the crash. 

In any case, if your battery dies suddenly while riding, is incapable of holding a charge or isn’t emitting any wattage when tested with a voltmeter, it may be time to replace it. 

Electrical system problems 

Another common reason your electric scooter fails to turn over could be a problem with your electrical system. As electric scooters rely on electricity to function, any electrical component problem will cause the scooter to malfunction. 

These can include loose wiring, a disconnected wire from the circuit breaker that’s causing the connection to short circuit, or your electric scooter may have a damaged wire that’s either broken or has its copper exposed (these wires should be replaced immediately). 

Other electrical problems can include a faulty electric scooter controller or motherboard. These are the ‘brains’ of the scooter, as they control the speed at which the scooter can move. The wires that connect the controller to the rest of the scooter are sometimes susceptible to damage or breakage and can cause communication issues between the different components of the scooter. 

If you have a faulty controller, you need to address this. Check the user manual for details, and don’t worry too much; it’s a common issue that is easy to fix with the right troubleshooting guide.

Mechanical issues 

Mechanical issues can also prevent your electric scooter from turning on. These problems usually come from the motor(s), brake, or throttle levers. 

Evaluating brake lever functionality 

If your brake lever is not operating properly, you may need to replace the lever or the brake sensor. To test this, simply ride your electric scooter slowly in a controlled environment like an empty car park or garage and then depress the brake lever. This should stop you in your tracks. If you notice that your brake lever is depressed and not releasing itself, you may have a faulty lever.

Brake levers activate your brake sensors, sending brake fluid down to a pair of callipers that engage the brake pads on the tyre, slowing the scooter to a stop. Over time, your brake sensor may become damaged, stopping the brakes from working properly. 

Replacing the brake levers and sensors is easy enough to do yourself. However, replacing other braking system parts may require you to send your scooter out for repair or to the manufacturer. 

Diagnosing motor problems 

Motor problems are a common mechanical issue with electric scooters. Your motor is one of the most complicated pieces of your whole machine, so diagnosing motor issues can be more complicated than you’re prepared for. Give it a go, but always ask a professional if you struggle to fix the problem yourself. You don’t want to make it worse by being stubborn. 

Electric scooter motors come in two variations: brushless direct current motors and brushed motors. Brushless motors are most commonly used today by manufacturers. Brushless motors are comprised of a permanent magnet and coiled stator. 

This coiled stator allows electricity to be conducted through it, creating current through the coils and generating force that allows the rotor to move, powering the electric scooter. 

Sometimes, wires that connect the motor to the rest of the machine can become loose, damaged or disconnected. This will cause a break in the electrical component circuit and, if frequent enough, can cause the electric scooter’s fuse to blow. Check your motors for loose or damaged wiring if you have issues turning your scooter on.

Preventative maintenance tips 

While you may sometimes encounter seemingly random problems with your electric scooter, sometimes these issues are simply caused by wear and tear and a lack of preventative maintenance. Like any machine, taking preventative maintenance steps can help increase its lifespan.

Source: Electric Scooter Insider

Here are a few preventative maintenance tips for your electric scooter to keep you on the road longer.

Regular battery care 

Electric scooter batteries can be expensive, so you want to protect your investment for as long as possible by performing regular battery maintenance. You should do several things to extend the life of your battery. 

  • Always store your batteries in a cool and dry place. Like anything electrical, introducing moisture into the equation is often fatal. Do not keep your spare batteries, battery chargers, or anything battery-related in a place where they may get wet.
  • Store batteries at room temperature when charged. To prevent your battery from losing its charge due to trickling – the slow loss of battery life over time – store it at a comfortable room temperature.
  • Check your battery charger and battery pack frequently for charging pins or dock damage. Bent pins can be straightened with pliers, while broken pins require a new battery charger.

How to store your scooter properly 

When it comes time to stop riding your scooter for an extended period, ensure you store your electric scooter in a secure location that is not susceptible to moisture build-up. Your scooter should always be stored upright with the kickstand engaged to prevent it from falling. 

Do not leave a charged battery on your scooter, and ensure that the key is removed from the ignition to prevent theft or wear and tear on the key switch.  

Electrical system maintenance 

While maintaining your battery is important, maintaining your scooter’s electrical components is equally important. Without electricity, your scooter will not have battery power. Here are a few important tips to keep your electrical system functioning properly.

Tips for preventing wiring issues 

Wiring faults are one of the most common problems that cause electrical components to malfunction on any electric scooter, whether aging and wear-and-tear of wiring or damage and breakage due to a collision. 

To prevent wiring issues, you should regularly inspect your electric scooter’s fuse box for signs of fraying or otherwise damaged wires that could cause a fuse or circuit breaker problem. 

Ensure that all wires are contained within the housing of their various parts. No wires should be outwardly visible except in the brake sensor area. All wires should be shielded by wire insulation. Any exposed wiring can be temporarily re-shielded with electrical tape but should ideally be completely replaced.

Do not ride your electric scooter in wet conditions, nor should you ever submerge the base of your scooter in a puddle or other water bodies.

Maintaining the controller or motherboard 

You need to incorporate regular checks of your electric scooter’s controller into your maintenance routine. The controller, or motherboard, is the most important part of the scooter as it is the brains of the operation.

Controllers are there to limit your electric scooter’s performance, extending its lifespan by only allowing it to function optimally within specific parameters. Maintaining your controller’s health means not exceeding these limits (found within your owner’s manual and manufacturer warranty). Take the following steps to maintain your controller. 

Never modify your speed control. Sometimes, you can remove things like the speed limiter from your controller’s ‘memory’, allowing you to increase the top speed of your scooter. This will not only void the manufacturer warranty and decrease the lifespan of your electric scooter’s controller but could also pose a significant risk to your life while riding and even be illegal.

Keeping your scooter in top shape 

As with any investment, you want to keep your scooter in the best possible shape for as long as possible. Doing this is fairly simple but will require you to keep up some sort of routine, whether weekly or monthly, depending on how often you ride your scooter.

Source: E-Rides

Clean and lubricate 

You must ensure you clean and lubricate your scooter’s various bearings and all moving parts, except for the brake levers. Never lubricate your brake levers, as this will decrease their functionality. Lubricate the folding mechanism if your scooter has one and the shock absorbers. 

Using a PTFE lubricant only (no WD-40.), spray down and wipe your wheel and headset bearings periodically – a weekly lubrication should suffice if you use your electric scooter daily. 

For cleaning, use a damp cloth and a light application of an all-purpose to remove dust and dirt from the surfaces gently. Do not use a soaked cloth, as water may run and damage the electrical components. Never apply water with a hose. 

Periodic safety checks 

Aside from wearing a bike helmet when riding your electric scooter, you should perform regular safety checks. These can include checking that your brakes work properly by riding and stopping the scooter in your garage. The stop should be immediate upon the depression of the brake levers, not a “rolling” stop. 

If your scooter has lights, check that they work when activated and replace any burnt-out lights. If it has a bell or other warning device, check that it functions properly. 

Other periodic safety checks include checking the amount of air in your tyres and checking your tyres for signs of wear and tear and signs that they may be losing tread and need replacing.

When to consult a professional

There are a few times during scooter maintenance when you should consult a professional. These include the more complex fixes you’ve been struggling with, such as broken electrical wiring. Also, if there is significant cosmetic damage following a collision and you’re unsure if any internal components have been damaged. 

You should also consult a professional regarding motor maintenance for anything other than a cleaning you can do yourself. If you notice instability in the headset or handlebars or if your wheels have somehow loosened over time, bring your electric scooter to a professional. 

If you recently bought a new electric scooter and notice issues, these may (and likely will) be covered under warranty. Call your electric scooter’s manufacturer for a possible warrantied fix for your problem.

How to find a reliable service centre 

As electric scooters become more common, more service centres and mechanics are dedicated to electric scooter repair across Australia. These professionals can diagnose and fix a problem more quickly than your manufacturer, and they may also be a cheaper option. 

However, finding a reliable place to take your scooter when it breaks down will require research on local repair shops. Ask your scootering friends whom they use for their repairs. Or, look online at Google Reviews or the social media reviews of the various repair centres near you. 

A successful service experience begins with clearly articulating your problems and explaining when they started. Additionally, you may provide pictures or videos of the problem (if your wheels feel loose and you’ve got a video of them wobbling while riding) or if there is significant cosmetic damage following an accident. 

Having an electric scooter that won’t turn on is a frustrating problem and not necessarily one with a simple fix. Using this guide to diagnose the issue and solve the problem, we’ll have you back on the road in no time.

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