The Problem of Ninebot ES2/ES4
Why you should never buy Ninebot ES2/ES4
Out of laziness after sorting things out, I’ve been putting off telling the fact that Ninebot ES2/ES4 have the HUGE issue on its control board, which is hidden from most of new buyers who all regret their purchases, or even get furious towards these products and their customer services. The motivation of writing down this after I’d been through all the things with Ninebot is that it feels not right to me, as a post-buyer, to let others buy these defective products without knowing they will break down within as early as few weeks and last as long as few months. Most of post-buyers knows the issue and thus, doesn’t recommend you to get one. On multiple communities, they’re telling you that you’re going to throw your hundreds dollar off in the drain, and to exhaust your mental resources to sort the issue out. So, please don’t overlook these caveats, especially if you’re the one who desperates to buy the convenient, portable, and fast Electric Scooter from the feeling tired of riding on Metro, Uber, or bicycle, and even walking.
The Control Board
The issue of Ninebot ES2/ES4 is its Control board. It’s inside the thick pole and under its battery. Basically it connects all signals of a headlight, brake, gas, battery(ies), hub motor, backside LED, and a rear red LED light. This Control board easily breaks down no matter when you buy, no matter how many you buy, the same problem happens to anyone.
What is the problem of Control board
The problem is that while you turn on a headlight, these scooters slow down and can’t run uphill. As this issue happens, eventually the Control board dies and shut down for good. This happens to ES2 that you add an external battery on it, or ES4, which comes with an external battery. As for ES4, it runs up to around 19mph on a flat road, and 15mph on uphill. However, with the issue, these scooters are hugely affected by a slight uphill and slows down to as low as 7 mph, probably less. Believe or not, your gramma would be walking faster on uphill while the issue is happening.
At first you get this scooter, it works very well. It’s sleek-looking, sturdy and speedy. It fits our needs to travel 2–3 miles for everyday life in cities. Unfortunately, you will get the same issue sooner or later, and you look up the issue on the Internet, finally start to regret that you didn’t research more before you bought. (It’s ok. Everybody bought it because we were desperate for traveling) You’re in deeply in love with your scooter, so you would try to find solutions. There seems to be solutions, however, you still haven’t realized that you are already in the dead end.
As I mentioned, if you look up on the Internet to figure out what’s wrong with your scooter, you will find a lot of people talking about the Control board’s defectiveness. They say replacing a Control board will fix your scooter. Painfully, the new Control board costs $60… Are you willingly to spend on it every few months it dies? So one might try to find out other solutions, which is to fix Control board itself. Fortunately, there is the solution, one of which is micro-soldering. One specific resistor on the mother board is the root cause of this, so it must be as simple as just replacing it with another. The resistor is sold on everywhere like Amazon, if you get used to micro-soldering, it’s worth a shot, but if you’ve never done before or a just noob, it’ll never work out because the resistor is merely 1.0 mm.
In my case, after soldering, I got an another issue. So I needed to find out other solutions anyway.
What’s the pitfall of replacing a Control board
Once you decide to look for new Control board, the place you would end up buying it is Ebay. Basically there are two types of Control boards: first is a completely new one shipped out of a manufacturer(or a retailer ships), and the other is a pre-owned one. A pre-owned one can be divided into two categories: one is refurbished from broken and the other is removed from other ES2/ES4 somehow.
If you buy a pre-owend Control board, there is a 50–50 chance for you to get right one. Some of these can fix the slowing down problem although they still cause other problems, which we will never desire to have. Even though sellers describe that their Control boards will fix the specific issue, in most of cases, they don’t make it clear about other issues caused by their pre-owned Control boards. You should ask them and make sure there is no gotchas. Even if there is a chance you can get a right one, it’s better not to rely on the resource, grant the amount of pre-owend Control boards would be limited. As the number of circulation of new scooter decreases, it’d be not possible to find one.
If you buy new Control board, you’re already on the wrong path. The new one needs to be unlocked before used. To unlock it, you will need the Ninebot App with an authorization feature, which is only available for Ninebot official stores. So you will end up sending your Control board or a whole scooter to an official store and have them to do it for you. And most importantly, inbound and outbound shipping fees and labor costs are your responsible(, which they say).
If you don’t know all of these pitfalls of a Control board, you will end up spending tons of money for nothing to be done. I’d purchased twice on Ebay, and throw a hundred twenty bucks away. Luckily, Ebay is customer-oriented, they would most likely step in and help you get a refund from sellers.(And, actually they did) That’s said, it’s exhausting to go through all processes, such as, to contact sellers, explain details and have them accept you returning an item, proceed a return shipping, and wait for a refund. Now I know how grateful and advantageous it is not to hold an old maid in the palm of my hand.
Sending your scooter is a only choice, but…
The only choice left is send your scooter to a Ninebot official store, and have them replace its Control board. In this case, you have got to send your whole scooter to the nearest place, but how much does it cost you? Surprisingly, there are only two Official stores in the U.S.: one is in New Jersey, and the other is in Michigan.(Hard to believe that there’s no store in other cities, like San Francisco, LA and Seattle) You may pay nearly few hundreds dollar to send whole scooter from LA to New Jersey just for shipping fees. Plus, they will charge you for a new control board, and labor costs($45/hour). Oh boy.
In addition to these, you must follow an inbound shipping instruction, one of which is not using styrofoam, but fine with sealed inflatable foam packs. And most importantly, they clearly state that they don’t owe any responsibility for any damage incurred during shippings. What a risk.
The primal motive to get my own electric scooter is to be frugal. Saving bucks rather than spending on a car, gas, insurance, parking, and so forth, is what we look for. (Of course, saving time too) Once you get this scooter, the time bomb begins. There is no way back to the right track like the time when your scooter worked properly, but return it to a retailer and get a refund.
After all where you bought it from all matters
After I’d underwent all these processes, I decided to return my scooter. At some point I thought I can resell my scooter after fixing the Control board, but feeling too terrible to do so with knowing it would die soon at next owner’s backyard. After all I decided to ask Amazon, which is where I bought from, if I could return it although two months had passed. I originally thought it would be a slim chance for me to return my scooter since on the order list in my account, there was the clear statement, ‘Return Deadline: March 3rd’, which was way before I got an issue. Luckily, they accepted my request and got me a refund. (They may have received the same requests from many other customers so far.) I got a refund, 80% of the amount I paid for because of a late return policy, but, it’s a lot better than having a dead scooter on my backyard. On the same day they accepted as I requested them, I rushed into UPS and in the next week I got a deposit in my account.
I could imagine things would’ve been a lot worse if I bought it from other retailers.
A simple and foremost advice
Don’t buy one.
If you need an electric scooter, you would be better off with Xiomi. I’ve never tried the one, but I feel I’d get far less problems with them since all I got with Ninebot is an issue. Assume I wouldn’t experience worse with Xiomi.
With that being said, the downside of Xiomi scooter is its speed. It runs up to only 15mph, which is a little slow to me after knowing how good it is to run at 20mph with ES4. So if you don’t like it, nor mind instability without a handle, Boosted Board is the best choice. It’s really fast and powerful. Even on uphill, it doesn’t slow down. If you don’t like both choices, you might like to go with a Boosted Scooter. They haven’t released yet, they would announce it on May 15th. Today is April 25th, so if you don’t mind for waiting for a while, then, it’s really worth a shot. From what we all saw Boosted Board’s quality, the Boosted Scooter would be high quality as well. Their customer support is excellent, so even if some parts go wrong, you’d never experience anything like what I described above.
If you’ve already bought one, and have an issue?
The first thing you can see how post-buyers feel like
Without having a scooter, you can still get the Ninebot App and can see a lot of posts on the community there, like Twitter. I’d recommend you to see what’s going on post-buyers before you pull the trigger.