The Biggest Engineering Failure Of The Year

The Samsung phone debacle. From corporate level, this has been a disaster. Samsung has lost significant portions of it’s market value and smart phone market share.  Yet no one would normally assume that a battery would be the issue.

SAMSUNG has been hit by terrifying tales of customers’ phones exploding in their hands.

There have been numerous reports of the Samsung Galaxy S7 handsets exploding, but why – and how can the devices be returned?

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain - 21 Feb 2016

Rex Features
Samsung have not recalled the Galaxy S7 despite reports of it overheating

Samsung has already been forced to recall the Note 7 handset due to them exploding. The fault has been put down to a problem with the batteries, which caused the phone to overheat and in some cases burst into flames and leak dangerous chemicals.

American Daniel Ramirez was badly burned when his S7 Edge exploded in his pocket – prompting him to sue Samsung for £11,000.


Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 still safe to use? Find out how to return your faulty device

Samsung recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone EXPLODES in six-year-old boy’s hands

Samsung’s jumbo-sized Galaxy 7 phones are EXPLODING as they charge up

But the South Korean tech giant has say there aren’t any confirmed issues with the S7, and there are no plans to recall the handset as there have only been a handful of incidents.

It is possible the explosion cases could have been caused by malfunctioning batteries – an issue which can be caused by using cheap charging cables.

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain - 22 Feb 2016

Rex Features
Tech firms recommend always using an official charger

Replacing your charger cable with an unofficial alternative can cause damage to your phone’s battery – as often, the electricity supply they provide is unstable.

It’s a problem you won’t be able to notice until it’s too late and your phone has overheated – so phone manufacturers recommend only using the charger that came in the box, or a reputable replacement.

Why are Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phones exploding?

Batteries, especially as you go up the energy curve, which you have to do for the expected life in today’s devices pack a lot of  chemical energy. As Thunderf00t puts it, enough energy to blow your head clean off multiple times.

Of course the chemical reactions in lithium ion batteries typically are much slower than the nitrocellulose powder in Mr. Callahan’s pistol.  They can be fairly violent under the right conditions and it’s not as if battery fires are unknown.

The problems start when you don’t make every effort to take the user into account when you do your testing.  Especially when you are dealing with millions of users and the potential for fires and injuries.  If there are off market battery chargers  that might cause issues you better damn well test with them and see what happens.  Or anything else that might cause liability issues.

The Note 7 battery issues are a serious failure, especially since it was more than likely, avoidable. A change like this can’t be done casually even if all the specs say that the two batteries are identical.  Both of the batteries may have met spec, but when things got a little outside spec, fwoosh, burned phones

Even the best get battery fire issues.

Samsung Isn’t the Only One with Lithium Ion Battery Problems. Just Ask NASA

Still, this was more than likely avoidable with testing.  Somebody probably thought that money could be saved by not testing because the batteries were supposed to be identical in performance.  The real world catches you every time.  Assume means ASS U ME.  Yet another engineer’s creed.



One comment

  1. JeffWeimer · November 23, 2016

    I recommend everyone with an S7 generation phone disable the fast cable charging switch (under settings/battery). That should mitigate battery overheating issues.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s