'Safe' Galaxy Note 7 Phone Batteries Still Explode
New reports have emerged that replacements phones from Samsung have the same faulty battery.
Samsung has reportedly suspended production of the company's Galaxy Note 7 smartphone because the devices -- plagued by battery problems that were causing some phones to catch fire -- are still at risk of exploding.
Last month, Samsung issued a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 after several incidents in which the phone's lithium-ion battery caught fire. But now, reports have emerged that new devices sent out to replace the faulty phones face the same explosive problems.
There are seven reports thus far of "safe" Galaxy Note 7s exploding,reported Ars Technica. One of the first reported incidents of a replacement phone catching fire was aboard a Southwest Airlines plane that was parked on the tarmac. The plane was evacuated, and no injuries were reported, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told The Verge.
Last week, a man in Kentucky went to the emergency room "vomiting black" after he woke up to find that his replacement phone had caught fire and his bedroom was filled with smoke. The owner of that Galaxy Note 7, Michael Klering, told a local CBS station that the phone "was just sitting there," not plugged in.
"The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe," Klering told WKYT.
In Minnesota on Oct. 7, a replacement phone melted in a 13-year-old girl's hand, an ABC affiliate reported.
Though Samsung has not addressed what specifically is causing the phones to catch fire, a faulty lithium-ion battery can meet with fiery ends, Lloyd Gordon, the chief electrical safety officer at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, told Live Science last year.
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A faulty battery, for instance, can be overcharged. While well-made batteries stop charging automatically once full, a faulty battery's lithium ions can collect in one spot and be deposited as metallic lithium within the battery if left plugged in for too long, Gordon said.
If this happens, the heat from the overcharging can cause oxygen bubbles, which are highly reactive with metallic lithium. If they combine, the reaction can lead to an explosion. Defective batteries can also be over-discharged, Gordon said. If the lithium-ion battery does not shut off when the power is too low, it can cause the phone to catch fire, he added.
A Samsung spokesperson addressed the explosive replacement phones in a statement to The Verge:
"We are working diligently with authorities and third-party experts and will share findings when we have completed the investigation. Even though there are a limited number of reports, we want to reassure customers that we are taking every report seriously. If we determine a product safety issue exists, Samsung will take immediate steps approved by the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] to resolve the situation."
As a result of these battery malfunctions, Samsung has reportedly stopped production of the Galaxy Note 7. According to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, an official at a supplier for Samsung said Monday (Oct. 10) that production has temporarily been suspended. The anonymous source told the news outlet that Samsung is cooperating with consumer safety regulators from South Korea, the United States and China.
Samsung hasn't officially confirmed that it's halting production of the smartphone, but it did provide the following statement to Tom's Guide: "We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters."
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