Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Suffers from Exploding Battery Problem
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For the past few years, Samsung has been very successful in establishing a strong mobile brand. Their Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models have been making waves in the consumer market, even toppling over its closest rival, Apple, in the first quarter sales of 2016.
However, the tables have turned when reports came out on batteries that have exploded in some Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices. This report came out at the same time the Apple iPhone 7 was released, causing a shake up in the tech business. Samsung’s sales had slumped slightly due to the recall of the said devices. Samsung was keen on replacing them with “safe” versions but some consumers were thinking of switching to Apple instead.
The case of exploding batteries
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According to some tech websites, the occurrence of exploding batteries in gadgets, especially in high-end mobile devices was very rare. Although there were only 35 confirmed reports of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery defects out of an estimated 2.5 million worldwide, tech experts noted that it was still a high ratio, especially for a tech giant like Samsung.
Exploding batteries happen for several reasons according to some scientists at University College London (UCL). One of the first reasons is that tech companies have pushed the capacity of the lithium-ion battery to its limits in the past few years. The technology was said to have reached 90 percent of its fullest capacity which can be dangerous as it stores a lot of energy in a thin and small case.
Another typical reasons is the use of substandard third party batteries. Even though there are strict regulations when it comes to electronic device production, some batteries made of poor quality make it into the black market. These are often cheaper in comparison to original batteries but the carry the risk of exploding especially when overcharged.
Other reasons include accidentally overcharging batteries leading to device damage; freezing batteries to preserve to prolong its charging cycle; and charging in hot environments that further increase the battery’s temperature when charging. These and some other unusual factors lead to battery explosions that pose as a safety hazard to any user.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as the latest casualty in this issue, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the US, as well as other aviation regulating bodies around the world, have issued warnings in banning said devices aboard aircrafts. Samsung has issued an immediate notice on the recall of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s in order to mitigate the situation.
Exploding batteries however, have been an issue with other companies as well. A common problem according to some experts is the failure of a microchip in a mobile phone that is supposed to monitor charging activity and temperature. A faulty microchip unable to detect a fully charged phone will allow the device to continue charging leading to an overcharge which overheats the phone.
The explosion that occurs is a result of a thermal runaway. This means the parts of the battery start to melt once it reaches a temperature threshold of 100 degrees Celsius and beyond. This becomes dangerous that is why precautions need to be taken into consideration.
Tips to prevent battery explosions
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Although battery explosions happen in some unfortunate occasions, it can be prevented with some safety precautions. First, it is important to always monitor your phone when charging. Leaving it charging overnight is one very common habit amongst tech users and this leads to permanent battery damage and yes, even explosions.
Another key reminder is for users not to buy substandard batteries made by unknown third party manufacturers. Just because they’re cheaper than branded batteries doesn’t mean they’re better. Finally, those online videos that advise tech users to freeze their batteries to improve charging performance is not good advise as it may damage the battery further or even cause irregularities leading to a battery explosion.