Samsung go boom!

Lithium batteries have fiery downside

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Mike McQueen, Multimedia Manager

It seems that everyday there is another story of a Samsung Note 7 catching fire.  Recently, Samsung recalled 2.5 million of their flagship phone the Note 7’s.  This recall was prompted by reports of the phones catching on fire. More accurately, they were heating up to the point that they were causing fires, but that’s not any better than combusting themselves. On top of this there has been a report of a replacement phone suffering from seemingly the same problem. Originally, Samsung reported they knew the culprit, which were batteries that came from a particular factory, and thus the replacement phones would solve the problem.  With this latest report it is important to not simply abandon Samsung and go with another manufacturer thinking this is unique to Samsung.  A cursory internet search will find ample anecdotal stories of nearly every mobile phone suffering from the exact same problem. Further investigation exposes lithium ion batteries as the reason this is going to continue. Nearly all mobile devices are currently powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Try not to scream, but one is probably in your pocket right now or sitting on the table in front of you. Obviously, everyone needs to take every rechargeable device they own and place them in a blast box so the government will come around and dispose of them. Not really. With all innovations, there can be risks. There is rigorous testing of the majority of the equipment you will encounter, but even then there is a possibility of catastrophic failure.  This is no different than an automobile recall. Samsung is to be applauded for owning up to the problem and working towards a solution. As a consumer, it is good to look for a UL-tested stamp of approval on these types of devices and if a device ever seems to be running hot, take it off it’s power source and, if needed, power the device off. As of Nov. 1, Samsung has completely pulled the Note 7 and discontinued the line, leaving the iPhone uncontested this holiday season.

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