Segway Ninebot ES3 Issues

CZroe
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 13, 2021 1:28 am

Segway Ninebot ES3 Issues

Postby CZroe Thu May 13, 2021 1:50 am

I picked up this scooter from Costco last week ($579.99; $602.xx after tax) and have been using it intensely since a tornado destroyed my car (picked up, moved, then crushed under a tree). Since then I have encountered numerous issues which I have not seen mentioned online except where I have mentioned them (YouTube comments and such). I thought I’d ask about them here in case custom firmware can solve these issues, but first, a little about the “Plus” variant of the ES3.

I’m told that the normal Segway Ninebot ES3 does not have side lights at the rear wheel or rear suspension. Well, my ES3 Plus certainly has both. My understanding is that the normal ES3 is just an ES1 with the external battery pack. Mine has that too. Strange that a difference more significant than an optional battery pack didn’t warrant a different model number, but whatever. I guess they did the same thing with the ES2 and ES4? I see online that Costco used to carry the normal ES3 for the same price so this model seems to have replaced it but it doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else when I look online. Even their website pretends it doesn’t exist. Perhaps that is why is has such glaring firmware issues as I am about to discuss.

Issue #1: Automatically powering on when it reaches the target charge level instead of just when you unplug it.

The Segway app lets you specify a maximum charge level to reduce battery wear. This is very welcome since I intend to sell the scooter when I get my motorcycle fixed or get another car and I want to preserve the battery for the next owner. Also, my typical use will be only 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) with occasional jaunts to 1.6mi (3km) which is only a small fraction of its 28 mile range.

I set it to 80% with the intention to recharge once I drop below 30%. Little did I know, it would repeatedly power itself on in the middle of the night and flood the room with its obnoxious animated LED light show, starting when it hits 80% charge. It also beeps over and over as it cycles on and off (times out, turns off, reaches 80% again, turns back on, times out again, etc). This is extremely disruptive to my sleep. I recall it coming on at least twice during my initial charge to 100%, before setting it to 80%, so this may be completely unrelated to the setting but it does make the setting completely pointless: to silence it, stop the lights, and stop the needless charge cycling, I have to manually unplug it at 80%. If I am limiting it to 80% by manually unplugging it when it reaches that charge level, what was the point of ever specifying this?! Stupid. All the firmware needs to do is distinguish between a charge that stopped because you unplugged it (go ahead and boot) and a charge that stopped because it is full or reached the target charge level (don’t boot)... or just let the user turn off the feature to auto-boot when it is taken off charge.

Though I don’t know if the custom firmware is safe for the Segway Ninebot ES3 Plus variant, I looked at the configurator and didn’t see any customizations/options for this. In fact, I didn’t see anything about being able to set a maximum charge level and suspect that I would lose that feature if I switched to CFW. Would it be possible to add such a feature? I guess I wouldn’t be losing much if I did switch to CFW since the feature is functionally broken in the official FW.

Issue #2: Bluetooth/phone app only supports one user.

I can’t disable the deck lights or disable the charge limiting function because they don’t let two users pair with the controller and I am not the primary user.

I can use my brother’s log-in credentials with my copy of the app but it requires going through the pairing process every time I hop on. Yeah, I bought it for my brother to zip to and from the public car charger/work at the town square 0.5 miles from the home we’ve been displaced to... since he can’t charge there like he could at the old home and he’s stuck taking me everywhere until I get another vehicle. Even when I was setting it up for him I only saw different patterns and colors with no “off” option. I don’t actually want to turn them off for safety reasons but they are extremely obnoxious when they flood the entire room with light while you are trying to sleep.

Issue #3: Not FW/hacking related, but I do not get a “click” when I unfold the scooter.

The manual says I am supposed to hear a click when I unfold the scooter but I don’t. I hear the click on two different unboxing videos and vaguely remember hearing the click the first time I lifted it out of the box... but never again. I noted it the first time I rode on it and was terrified that it might fold up on me while riding if something were wrong with the mechanism but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I looked at the mechanism and can’t see anything wrong with it.

Issue #4: Support is seemingly non-existent.

That’s why I’m here. Their phone center plays a recording about being shut down due to COVID-19 and yet call center work is one of the easiest things to transition to Work From Home. Most were already WFH so there is no excuse for not having set that up a year and a half later. The only response to the support ticket I submitted online was to give them two more days... and it’s been almost a week with no update (other than my own). Hoping it’s because they are researching and addressing the issues I brought to their attention but so far they haven’t even acknowledged them. Guess I will give them the benefit of the doubt since the charging issue could just be an issue with ES4 Plus users and they weren’t aware since we are a tiny fraction of the total ES1/ES3 users.

I’m on the verge of returning it even though we really needed something like this. I can’t afford to get stuck with a $602 boat anchor if something more serious goes wrong and they won’t even support it under warranty. Support reputation was the main reason I didn’t get a $300 GoTrax. The horror stories you hear from people who bought a refurbished GoTrax are what scared me into spending twice as much on the Segway Ninebot. Despite the range difference both could easily handle my intended usage/range so I hope I didn’t pay twice as much for essentially nothing.
CZroe
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 13, 2021 1:28 am

Re: Segway Ninebot ES3 Issues

Postby CZroe Wed May 19, 2021 3:53 pm

It’s now been almost two weeks since they asked for two days and Segway still hasn’t addressed my support ticket except to ask for those two extra days.

In the mean time I did find that the ES3 Plus is essentially an ES4. I can find no functional difference between and ES3 and an ES4 that wasn’t added with the ES3 Plus. Is has the extra side:rear and deck lights, front and rear suspension, 30km top speed, and even the 300w JYX36300 motor. The folding foot pedal flips up and everything (supposedly just stays out on the ES1/3). For all intents and purposes, it’s an ES4 for $579.

I did find that you could turn the lights off but I want them on for safety. I don’t want the scooter cycling on and off even without lights so I left them on and it still comes on in the middle of the night when it reaches the target charge level. I set it back to 100% and didn’t have this problem but with daily use I really need to utilize the charge limiting function to extend the life. I set it back to 80%, which is what the app recommends for daily use, and it began turning itself on at 80% again. Ugh. Really hope they can fix this with a firmware update.

There seems to be excessive front tire wear though. After about 50 miles I could barely see the center ridge in the front tire and now it is completely gone. The rear looks fine even though I used the mechanical brak often.

I set the app to imperial measurements instead of metric and it also changed the display on the scooter. Unfortunately, the dashboard mode of the app is incorrectly displaying kilometers as miles, meaning it just swaps kph for mph and doesn’t change the numbers displayed.

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