What was wrong?

To follow up from my previous post with more detail, the problem that caused the scooter to trip the circuit breaker was overheating.  That is, the circuit breaker overheated.

Why might it do that?  The battery was fully charged, the tire pressure was ideal, the hill was the same hill that the scooter had successfully climbed several days in a row already.

The circuit breaker’s function is to interrupt current if there is a dangerous condition, such as too much current all of a sudden, or a rise in temperature that might be caused by arcing or unusually high resistance.

There were no burn marks or melted parts that might signal a large heat spike or arcing, but there are two screws that each tighten a clamp around a wire, securing an electrical connection between the scooter’s battery pack and the electric motor that is protected by the breaker.

Terry found these screws to be loose.  He explained that a loose connection could lead to heating of the circuit breaker, causing it to trip.  Fortunately, that meant that the remedy was to tighten the screws.  He did bring a spare circuit breaker and left it with me just in case.

So the lesson learned is to be mindful of the tire pressure and the circuit breaker screws.

Minding the tire pressure is something I easily overlook in any vehicle I’ve driven, so this episode has impressed upon me the perils of neglect.

Minding the circuit breaker screws was nothing I’d ever encountered before.  I mean, I never expected a moving vehicle to have what looks like a household circuit breaker equipped.  In hindsight, it makes sense that the screws might loosen as a result of vibration from uneven road surfaces.  We’re not talking about a Harley-Davidson whose engine can cause a lot of vibration, but an electric motor that pretty much purrs along, wasting no energy on loud pipe noise.  What both have in common is that they must traverse the same roads, whatever condition they happen to be in, potholes and all.

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