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THU, 09/05/2013 - 11:18AM

Normally our articles deal with topics geared towards breaking in new or potential Segway PT owners on frequently asked questions and maintenance.  In this article we will discuss a part of ownership beyond our typical realm and look at error codes.  Most Segway PT owners repair and maintenance troubles will consist solely of batteries and tires but for the unlucky ones who “throw a code” here is a little 101 to shed some light on the subject.

 Error codes are just what they sound like, a code your machine gives when there is something wrong.  This code will appear on the InfoKey remote at the top of the screen where mileage and time information is typically found.  Codes usually appear first during the operation of the machine and then will prevent it from starting thereafter.  In some cases they will be intermittent but over time will begin to increase with frequency as the component that is causing them to occur degrades.   Ultimately everyone with a bad component ends up in the same place, staring at a dead machine that locks you out when you try to start it up.

At this point there is little that can be done to work around the code.  Your troubleshooting steps are (for simplicity sake) limited to swapping batteries front to back, making sure your InfoKey battery is good, and checking tire pressure.  I have written previously about tire pressure in another article and the battery in the InfoKey is self-explanatory so let’s focus on swapping batteries.

First by removing both of the batteries and letting the machine sit for 15-20 min you are allowing the machine to perform a full “cold boot”,  which sometimes solves a minor issue. Think of it like taking a short nap and waking up in a better mood.  The next somewhat unexplainable phenomenon that occurs when you do this is it alters the flow of binary code and electricity ever so slightly to the point that all of a sudden your machine agrees with what is going on, thus ended the error code.  This makes sense when you consider how your Segway PT works.

As you may be aware every function of your Segway PT is performed with redundant components for safety reasons.  Segway has taken the approach of the aircraft industry in the sense that critical functions have a backup to get you to safety.  Can you imagine how long the Segway Corporation would be around if their product sent riders flying face down to the ground every time a computer board fried out?  The necessity of redundant components comes with a price, monetarily and maintenance wise.  

What happens inside that little platform is you have multiple sets of components performing a specific function, all communicating amongst each other simultaneously.  Try to imagine several teams all working towards a common goal and the probability that there will be an argument not only between the teams but also amongst them. To complicate this orgy of data flying around even further they all have to agree within very, very specific parameters of acceptable readings/calculations. If one little computer board gets even slightly out of line the problem is exponentially exaggerated in this layer cake and it puts the brakes on the whole show.  When you swap batteries around (each of which has its own control board) it does in some cases make a very, very slight difference in this flow of data and kazaam, your Segways parts all start agreeing again!

Now that we have taken a “Segway” into understanding your PT lets take a look at error codes specifically. Unfortunately there are quite a few error codes and they merely give us a general sense of what is going wrong with our machine.  The upside to this is that most of the time you will see the same three codes which are detailed below.

•    e08e (front) and e042 (back) -These are general error codes for controller board faults, each pointing to either to front or rear component.  These can either be because the board itself has gone bad (about $800 repair) or because of a bad battery attached to one of these boards.  If the battery is not properly allowing the board to boot then it thinks there is something wrong with the board.  You can narrow down the problem by swapping batteries and seeing if there is a change in the code.
•    e086 - This comes up as a rear controller board fault but is possibly a balance assembly malfunction.
•    C208- Battery temperature issue.  As a general rule of thumb with error codes anything that starts with C is most likely battery issue, anything that starts with E is going to be a component issue.

Now that we have the basics of understanding of codes what do we do? Unfortunately you are looking at time and money.  With the exception of a bad radio board (part that communicates with InfoKey to start machine) or a charging card (converts AC power to charge batteries) you are stuck with having the machine sent back to new Hampshire for repairs.  Not only do dealers lack the training to dig deeper into your Segway PT to repair it but also they do not have the diagnostics equipment to properly pinpoint the issue.  This centralized repair approach has its obvious downside however Segway is very conscious of their brand integrity.   By keeping all major repairs in house it allows them to guard themselves from liability as well as protect the equity of their brand.

Hopefully now that you have a basic understanding of Segway error codes if you are ever faced with a repair it won’t be quite as confusing.  Repairing your Segway is never a fun process but the silver lining is that all components are run through a series of test during a factory diagnostics, adding peace of mind that when you get your machine back it has been looked over 100%.  If you find your Segway needing repairs please contact a dealer for more information on facilitating the process.   

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