After the dust has started to settle from Samsung’s fiasco with the Note 7, new theories are starting to emerge. Less than a month after its release, the Note 7 went from one of the most praised smartphones of 2016 to an international punchline. The first 35 reported incidents of exploding batteries forced Samsung to recall this catastrophic release. This led to over 1 million of the 2.5 million Note 7’s that were produced to be returned. Since Apple has just released the iPhone 7, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. While the official explanation has yet to be released, experts claim to have discovered the root of the problem. Allegedly the mysterious volatility is caused by short circuiting lithium batteries. These findings make the Note 7 the hoverboard of 2016.
Experts Reveal the Cause of the Note 7’s Exploding Batteries
“The defect was revealed when several contributing factors happened simultaneously, which included sub-optimized assembly process that created variations of tension and exposed electrodes due to insufficient insulation tape,” a Samsung representative told CNET.
The kunundrum of the Note 7’s exploding batteries is a complex problem with a surprisingly simple explanation. It’s actually the exact same problem that happened with the exploding hover boards last year. Both devices use lithium ion battery packs for a compact power solution. While lithium ion batteries are great for providing powerful batteries, the liquid flowing through them is extremely flammable. If the negative & positive side of the battery accidentally blend you have a recipe for disaster. These polar opposites are only separated by a thin sheet of plastic. When the battery short circuits, the divider gets punctured & the liquid heats up quickly enough to explode.
Even though this is the most notorious case of exploding batteries, this isn’t the first time smartphones have gone up in flames. Lithium ion batteries are used in all smartphones, so just about every company has experienced similar problems. In 2004 a huge wave of exploding cell phone batteries prompted CNET to sound the alarm. In 2009, Nokia was forced to recall 46 million phone batteries that were randomly bursting into flames. Even unlucky iPhone users received nasty burns when their phones exploded in in 2015 & 2016.
The Note 7’s exploding batteries are exceptional because they are happening at an alarming rate. There are normally around a dozen reports of exploding smartphones a year, the Note 7 alone has caused 90 reports in 1 month. At the time of this writing over 90 Note 7’s have caught fire. According to Samsung there were 17 incidents in Korea, 1 in Taiwan, 2 in Australia & 70 in the United States. Ironically the last number was later withdrawn by the Canadian government.
Even though many people are surprised that Samsung made this blunder, it was actually easy to do. Allegedly a simple manufacturing error put these phones at risk. By placing too much pressure on the plates within the battery cells, the negative & positive poles were forced into contact. This created a ticking time bomb in certain phones. While many estimate only 0.01% of Note 7’s to feature this error, it’s still enough to watch out for. People have died in other exploding smartphone incidents, so you can never be too careful.
As the investigations continue, Samsung faces an arduous road to recovery. They did the right thing by recalling the phones immediately, & by addressing the problem they probably saved lives. Unfortunately they still need approval from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission before they can proceed. Their investigation could take months, but experts predict that this problem will get wrapped up quickly. The burning question is if the public will be able to trust the Note 7’s again.