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back to article Apple: REIGN OF FIRE coming to Europe courtesy of old iPhone chargers

Apple has recalled an iPhone charger over fears it could burn down fanbois' houses. Although the fruity firm stopped short of warning of imminent conflagrations, it euphemistically said that certain models of the Apple 5W European USB power adapters "may overheat and pose a safety risk" Anyone concerned about their charger …

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Hurrah, the UK is safe...

...as this only applies to the 2-pin Euro-chargers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hurrah, the UK is safe...

.. which are used practically everywhere else..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hurrah, the UK is safe...

Hope it's confined to the Italian mainland.

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Re: Hurrah, the UK is safe...

If only...

Only the other day I had a UK adapter explode (not Apple) when I pulled the USB cable out of it whilst it was still on (I just wanted to connect the phone to the PC to take some files off it).

There was a most impressive flash, and my hand was coated with the powered remains of what was once a plastic encased, silicon based component of some form.

Whilst it wasn't an Apple charger, it did come direct from a UK retailed, was CE marked, and branded by the retailer. All the usual BS marks etc.

If I'd purchased this from a market stall, ebay or Alibaba, I would expect all the markings to be worth less than the ink the Chinese manufacturer applied, but a well known and long standing UK electronics retailer should have the resources to check their source somewhat better than me.

Be careful out there!

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Re: Hurrah, the UK is safe...

I have one of the aforementioned 2 pin Europlug chargers. I bought it in France and take it on my travels abroad as it takes up a lot less room than a 3 pin british model + travel adapter.

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Grow Up

The dangerous adapter came with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models shipped between October 2009 to September 2012 in a number of countries including Blighty and various other European countries.

Where does it say that?, the list does not mention the UK.

Sensationalism again (and fruity envy no doubt)

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Re: Grow Up

I doubt it's envy, why would anyone envy exploding adaptors?

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Anonymous Coward

The link in the article lists the countries affected. The BBC at least got this right a few hours ago when they published the article. Please read your sources before trying to write sensationalist headlines.

Albania

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Egypt

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

India

Indonesia

Israel

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

Vietnam

No mention of the UK or England

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The UK three-pin models that I have are A1299 and A1399.

Phil.

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However...

before anyone passes out with appleplexy over the wanton misrepresentation of facts by El Reg, it's worth bearing in mind all those fanbois and girls currently using their non-UK chargers in the UK by dint on a smaller converter plug.

Don't these sad cases deserve some love, and fair warning?

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Re: However...

Yes that do, but IMPO not in the way the reg did it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: However...

Yes, also because some of us even leave the house and *gasp* travel..

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Pre-emptive strike

I think this is very much a pre-emotive strike by Apple. I live in one of the affected countries and work closely with a number of AASPs and Resellers, and so far I've heard of no failures of the type described by Apple. Normal dead chargers yes, but nothing about overheating and going up in flames.

On the good news front I have heard from a reliable source that Apple is pre shipping replacement chargers to all AASPs so exchanges can take place on the spot and not hinder the customer.

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Re: Pre-emptive strike

Apple are being cautious ..

Apple has determined that, in RARE cases, the Apple 5W European USB power adapter may overheat and pose a safety risk. This adapter came with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models shipped from October 2009 to September 2012 in the countries listed below. It was also sold as a standalone accessory.

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Re: Pre-emptive strike

If most of the news stories about your product inevitably mention the billions and billions of (currency) consumers throw at you, then you've got no choice but to be proactive if there's much of anything beyond the normal risks of things plugged into the wall. Statistically, the chances of anything happening are non-existent, but if something does happen people go lawsuit crazy. Let's face it, not too many juries or judges are going to cut 'the most valuable company in the world' any slack. I wouldn't.

This bit will almost certainly be ignored in the rush to bash Apple; but even though they are taking this action to cover their ass, it's a fairly benevolent gesture on their part. Product liability insurance doesn't cover voluntary recalls. The consumer product safety standards agency for a given market has to order a recall for your liability protections to kick in. If you issue a voluntary recall for your products you eat 100% of the costs associated with the recall. The only hope you've got of cutting the losses is to pin a manufacturing problem on your EMS partner, but that's really, really hard to do if the recalled products aren't currently being produced. You'll never track down a wonky die or wee machine part after post batch maintenance has been completed. All that stuff is scrapped.

I mention the insurance stuff not so much as praise for Apple, but as condemnation of manufacturers product liability insurance practices. Apple happens to be raking in scads of cash, so shareholders won't get too bent up. But if you're not having such a great run if things then voluntary recalls can end your career in executive management. That 30-40% (absolute max) you might recover from your insurance settlement is more than enough for some companies not to do anything until a safety agency demands it, and that's bullshit.

Yes, there are always going to be risks with any consumer product, electronic or otherwise, manufacturing at scale is insanely complicated and mistakes are going to be made. But the system is currently set up so that it's in a manufacturers best interest to ignore potentially dangerous problems and wait on something tragic to happen. I don't know exactly how to solve that problem, but it's one that people need to get sorted.

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Dear Apple,

Please use a FONT and COLOUR for this model number that I CAN ACTUALLY READ without needing a MICROSCOPE.

Thank you.

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Anonymous Coward

It's easy to read using the iPhone photo zoom function :)

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Apple Flambé

I have a couple of Apple chargers, but fear not, I have an iExtinguisher.

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Re: Apple Flambé

It's spelled iXtinguisher and it is a registered trademark. Expect a visit from a fruit (cake) lawyer.

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'Old', are you are having a laugh, he's having a laugh.

September 2012 is less than 2 years ago,

If they trusted them at all, would they have then given a proper 2 year warranty like quality competitors?

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Re: 'Old', are you are having a laugh, he's having a laugh.

You are obviously not up to speed with the minimum requirements for EU members regarding consumer protection, let me direct you to the path of enlightenment...

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/protection_of_consumers/co0003_en.htm

Individual countries mat increase the time limit over 2 years.

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Re: 'Old', are you are having a laugh, he's having a laugh.

Warranties are never an indication of a product's 'quality'. Warranties are marketing exercises, pure and simple. You can put a lifetime warranty on an incredibly shitty piece of shit product if you build it into your pricing. You can put no warranty (where allowed) on an incredibly shitty piece of shit, or no warranty on an absolute best in class product that's insanely expensive. Obviously, each major geographic market is going to have some specific rules, but warranties still aren't an endorsement of a product.

You design your warranty program around the way you structure your supply chain and finances, not according to the 'quality' of a product. After you get the math sorted you get marketing to dress it up and make consumers feel better about a purchase because of its warranty; that's remarkably effective on some people.

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This is what you get...

..When you have 220 volt power and need to do (more) fancy things to get the voltage down to the iPhone's nice 5 volts.

Here in teh nice USA, we have the itty bitty cubes and they work just fine in taking our more placid 120 volts down to 5 volts.

Then again, there a LOTS of counterfeit adapters out there that don't have ANY protection against "bad things" in them at all. Beware!

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Re: This is what you get...

What the fuck man? I'm not even going to touch the AC/DC issue, that's obviously beyond you.

However, since you're obviously not aware of how the electricity works in your own home, I'll let you in on a secret. The line coming to your house is 240VAC. It is broken out in the breaker box with the 240 going to your high draw appliances like clothes dryers, ovens, hot water heaters, whole house fans, etc... The 120VAC is sent to the general use outlets around your house because so many of the people here in the US are really fucking stupid and are virtually guaranteed to stick something in the 240 outlet trying to figure out what it is. That's why they hide them behind heavy appliances.

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Happy

Re: This is what you get...

@Don Jefe - respect man, scathing but so true. Up vote for you.

Must admit I never knew you guys had 240VAC going into the property and then split off the 120VAC. Was always a bit confused by the transformers on the poles used in the states, what voltage comes down the road supply lines? Here the UK 230VAC (new convergence of the 220 - 240 zones) comes from a local neighbourhood transformer and then distributed around the 'hood as is. Normally single phase to each property unless they have heavy needs.

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Re: This is what you get...

The voltage on the 3 (or single) phase supply lines coming down the road varies depending on where you are in the US. It's more or less equivalent to our 11kv systems but generally varies from 4800 up to around (I believe) 37kv in some places. Measured phase to ground. Because that's how the transformers are connected in most places (except calif, for some reason). That also explains why most of the transformers (as seen in a 50KVA 4.8kv one https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/Polemount-singlephase-closeup.jpg/640px-Polemount-singlephase-closeup.jpg ) have only single HV bushings, the HV neutral is common with the LV neutral which is usually the centre terminal of the 3 side bushings. On some transformers (including the one linked above) the HV neutral is done separately (but still commoned to the 'can') so a loose neutral on one side won't dump HV back down the LV 'ground' wire.

Oh PS, any el reg mod types, I have 260 posts but still can't do hyperlinks... am I missing something? :-)

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Re: This is what you get...

The rather random nature of the electricity grid here in the US would be funny, if it wasn't so powerfully annoying. The village I grew up in was built, every aspect of it, by a railroad company. It wasn't until I moved away for college that I discovered not every house had 3-phase mains. I had taken my big mill and lathe with me and was disheartened when I learned it was cheaper to buy new equipment than make mine work. Lessons learned I guess.

You've got to manually put the HTML tags for a link to work in your posts. The href stuff, know what I mean? Hilariously, there are no buttons or automation available here.

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Re: This is what you get...

Yep, did the <a href="example.com> linky </a> stuff... didn't seem to work

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The A1400 gets pretty hot charging an iPad Mini, but this is hardly a surprise given that we have 230VAC going in one end and 5VDC at 1A coming out the other. It has the dual distinctions of being both the smallest USB output charger I own, and also the most powerful (by about 400mA). At the moment it is running a RaspberryPi (and is only just 'warm').

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Anonymous Coward

The A1400 gets pretty hot charging an iPad Mini

AFAIK you're asking too much of the poor thing. It's only designed to cope with an iPhone, not with the 2.1A the iPads need to charge in a sensible time. I suspect the charger will negotiate the power drain down, but it's still not ideal.

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FAIL

Nothing simple with Apple

They have a cheap charger that is defective and they require iSheep to take the accompanying handset along with them.

Most normal companies would simply accept the defective part in exchange for a good one.

Doesn't really mean they are meeting the needs of users, what if there is a defective Apple charger that causes a death and the handset is not available? Time to reach for a lawyer.

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WTF?

Re: Nothing simple with Apple

That's so the fruity ones can identify where in the production chain the faulty chargers were introduced. The charger itself carries no serial number so the only way to work out where the problem chargers came from is to look at the phone's serial number and backtrace the production paperwork from there.

Obvious if you apply a little thought.

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Hell fire

Apple is the corporate antipasta and they will bring the fires of hell unto you. Bring on the rapture when I know I will be safe, wrapped in his noodly appendages.

Ramen.

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On the upside, China can now validly claim their build quality is at least equal to Apple.

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Facepalm

Where do you think Apple's factories are?

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