Hurray for wireless earpods!
Or maybe not. Maybe I'll stick with headphones that take alkaline AAs.
Travellers who favour noise-cancelling headphones should watch vendor announcements for battery recalls, because a pair has caught fire on a China-to-Australia flight. A woman suffered burns to her hands and face when her headphones' batteries exploded. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has raised the alarm on lithium …
A power wall doesn't have the same weight constraints as portable gadgets, so more safety features can be incorporated in it.
Given that even NASA's lithium batteries explode, I'd be very surprised by any "magic sauce" claimed by a commercial battery maker working down to a cost. I was at a trade working group a few months back, and the head chemist of a major battery company expressed the view that any high power density storage system is at high risk of unpleasant failure modes. It is also worth bearing in mind that the fault or failure doesn't have to be intrinsic to the battery - if you have a house or car fire, a battery storage device may go up through no fault of its own.
And personally, it isn't the fire from batteries that worry me, it is the combustion fumes, containing all manner of unpleasantness. If you want a Powerwall or any battery storage system, I'd recommend having it somewhere outside the house.
it isn't the fire from batteries that worry me, it is the combustion fumes, containing all manner of unpleasantness. If you want a Powerwall or any battery storage system, I'd recommend having it somewhere outside the house.Dunno why you were downvoted on that one ledswinger. Excellent advice. Presumably a Powerwall installed in a safe place wouldn't be so effective in signalling how virtuous you are.
Dunno why you were downvoted on that one ledswinger.
No worries, Sir. I've added that to the preceding 5,981 downvotes I have, and I'm looking forward to breaking the 6k barrier soon. But since my cumulative upvotes are pushing 27k, I think the balance is reasonably favourable.
> Given that even NASA's lithium batteries explode, I'd be very surprised by any "magic sauce" claimed by a commercial battery maker working down to a cost
Again, NASA, like Boeing and Samsung, have to consider weight. If you don't have that constraint you can make your Li-ion battery less power dense and with no danger of the cells being overly compressed (which is what did for Samsung's Note). It's not a 'magic sauce' as you put it, it's just that you have more space to treat the Li-ion cells the way they want to be treated.
@Dave 126 - NASA and Boeing are concerned about weight as extra weight in spacecraft and planes means more fuel must be burned adding to the operation costs. Thus, they might get to zealous in reducing the battery weight. Samsung's fiasco has to do more with aesthetics. Very thin smartphones and tablets are in and this puts a constraint on the available space for a battery pack. Less space than was ideal for the battery pack. Phones and tablets are normally carried in a pocket, backpack, purse, etc. and they do not weigh that much even the heaviest ones. So weight is not the real issue as a couple of extra grams is meaningless in almost all situations. But everyone wants the thinnest possible device for their top end devices.
> Higher risk of catastophic failure of Li-ion batteries is not driven by weight saving, but by the number of recharge cycles, speed of recharging and cost saving
The Samsung Note issue was caused by trying to squeeze a battery into a space too small. If you don't have to carry a battery around (mobile phones, Boeing APU,electric car etc) then you can ease off on the volume constraints, and hey, even fit fire retardant barriers between individual cells or have a cooling system - whatever. Having space and weight to spare allows for a lot of engineering solutions.
Publishing a photo for the sake of a few taudry Ad revenue clicks and so that commentards can make jokes seems a bit tasteless.
(a) the photo is directly relevant to the article,
(b) was sourced from an official organisation (the ATSB),
(c) is being used on other outlets which aren't ad-driven (e.g. BBC website), and
(d) the number of downvotes you've accumulated in a fairly short space of time....
I think it's safe to say you're being a bit oversensitive and, dare I say it, being unneccesarily offended on somebody else's behalf
Possibly, or it could have been the fact that she lent her head onto them in such a manner that caused the battery compartment to be deformed a bit, causing the battery to short internally. In this case it wouldn't matter if they were turned on or not.
100% speculation of course.
Since when have we been unable to take bottles of water onto an aircraft? I appreciate you were trying to make a funny out of the whole "no (*) liquids through security" thing, but it'd be a rare international airport that didn't either have airside shops selling water, or airside facilities for getting drinking water (water fountains, dedicated drinking water taps etc.) from which you could refill an empty bottle taken through security.
(*) certain exemptions aside, please read the small print for details before travelling, E&OE etc.
but it'd be a rare international airport that didn't either have airside shops selling water
Like Dubai International?
Bought 2 hideously expensive small bottles to take on a flight to Melbourne last year, in transit from the UK. Got stopped and told I couldn't take them onboard. ISTR that they also stopped others from taking various bottles of liquid on board too.
Not my favourite airport after they'd threatened to confiscate a rather expensive radio beforehand claiming it was a 'walkie talkie'. (Actually it was a HF/VHF/UHF licensed transceiver, but they were quite forceful in their 'no walkie talkie' rhetoric)
I ended up ripping the internal battery pack out and tossing it at them. They seemed relatively happy that it wouldn't work then, and let me through.. seemingly oblivious that in the second 'security tray' was a 96Wh lifepro4 battery and cables that I was going to use with the radio on holiday anyway.. HoHum...
The joys of travelling with an FT-817....I've not had any problems within the EU or US (In fact I hand-carried an FT-897 I purchased in the US back to the UK)
I flew to Taiwan a couple of weeks ago and deliberately took a cheapo DMR radio to play with GB7HR prior to flying because I was a bit worried about overzealous security and didn't want to lose a Moto handie. It's stupid.
I'd point at the batteries.
The manufacturers aim for less weight (and size, and cost) by not putting a proper case around the cell. In low pressure environments (like an aircraft cabin pressurised to around 12000ft) the internals exert more force on the shell of the cell and it then ruptures, exposing the lithium bits to air with this outcome.
That's why it happens more on planes than elsewhere.
One wonders if the residents of places like La Paz also suffer higher than average rates of battery fires, given their similarly lofty altitude...
The rapid change in altitude is likely a factor in the battery's ignition, so unless the residents of La Paz are in the habit of helicoptering or teleporting from sea level, probably not a worry.
If the batteries were quality, they would have had protection circuits built in. If the wiring was cheap it would have just melted like fuse-wire (a protection in itself). From the photo I'd say that battery went up properly.
I can't help noticing she was flying from China... If she bought herself a present of some new headphones over there, who knows what she was wearing (she certainly wouldn't!).
A battery would do that. Take a LiPo battery, what this would have been to get the size down, start to bend it, it will start to spark, small puffs of smoke will start happening, if it was charged enough it would then cause a chain reaction causing the rest of the cell to start going up.
Do what was don't on the plane, stamp on it, damage the cell more, cause more shorts in the cell, cause soaking and smoke.
"They poured a bucket of water on what was suspected to be a lithium fire?"
No - they put a known *lithium-ion* battery fire into a bucket of water.
Which is exactly the right thing to do. Lots of lovely heat absorbing water all around the get the temperature down and stop the reaction.
Not the film ...
If cars or tumble driers or fridges had fires as often as lithium batteries there'd be a massive recall ... How come there have been so many issues, recalls of a few whole products but so few attempts to solve the *actual* problem, the Li-ion cell itself being unstable unless it's environment is very tightly controlled? Even under relatively unstable external environments of temperature, pressure or impact a "normal" device would cope but common Li-ion cells are just too unstable for the tasks they are expected to perform - delivering current in warm, humid devices whilst being sat on by a 20st bloke from Basingstoke ...
We had a laptop go up in a classroom full of kids, it's damn scary ...
There were some issues with Sony-made batteries in laptops of various brands around 2007, IIRC, but very few cases of flaming laptops since.
The fires we hear of today are mostly eCigarettes, especially the ones people have 'modded' themselves, or of a particular Samsung phone (the final analysis says there were two different faults, one being the supplied batteries being a smidge too big).
Done properly, there isn't an issue with Li-ion batteries per se. So yeah, be wary of cheap tat.
"Be wary of cheap tat."
... or Boeing ... or Samsung ... or Apple ... or ...
Isn't the problem that it's not 'the Ford Focus' that's the potential issue, it's the fuel that most people are using. There are alternative, safer variants of Li-ion which could be used but they are either a bit more expensive, heavier, lower capacity or support fewer recharge cycles. Surely it's in peoples' interest to cut battery life by 20%, which TBH is generally a convenience factor, to make things safer?
The Samsung issue was caused in part by the supplier making batteries slightly too big, fitted to a chassis with no give. (By contrast, I've just replaced a swollen battery from my Nexus 5, but the plastic Nexus 5 case-back would pop off if the battery swelled extremely.)
How many million iPhones have been sold, against how many verified iPhone fires?
It is possible to make Li-ion batteries safe. The issue is implementation.
Depends on the age of the machine. Our ancient (20 years at least) washer-dryer caught fire a couple of months ago during the wash cycle, so no dryer heat involved. The extra weight of wet clothes and water made wiggling it out from under the counter a Herculean task. I unscrewed the top from the back and lifted up the top and foot long flames erupted from it. I dunked it in the sink and turned the tap on then put it outside and dumped a load of convenient slushy snow on it.
When smoke began to issue my wife turned the machine off at the front but the smoke continued, she called me and I turned off inside the cupboard under the sink and unplugged it. Smoke continued.
Fortunately there was no fire in the body, just a mass of melted junction box, the power wires had shorted, their insulation wearing off with age. Good job we didn't set it on and go out. It would have set the counter top on fire before long. I cut the plug off and took it to the recycling centre and dumped it, top off with the other hulks. It was raining. I also pulled the power wires out of the melted block. Just to inhibit someone from trying to resurrect it. The selector arm had been nicely melted and warped too.
Which is why all my battery power tools power tools still use Nicads, not Lion. I certainly DON'T want Lion in a device which is likely to get a lot of knocks and drops, do you?
OK, I'll also use Nimh, but I've discovered the Nicads last longer, and for most purposes the capacity is adequate.
BTW, memory effect is not a problem for me - topping up partly discharged Nicads has never been a n issue - the cells get completely flattened in use often enough to prevent it.
Problem is getting replacement batteries at a decent price - it's usually cheaper to buy a new tool and 3 batteries with charger for less than a couple of replacement cells. And most power tools these days seem to be Lion.
I'll probably have to investigate re-celling some old batteries.
Problem is getting replacement batteries at a decent priceIt's even harder in Australia for some reason :-(
However, putting the batteries in a ziplock bag in the freezer for 12 hours or so does wonders for NiCd batteries that many discard as no longer fit for purpose.
I've seen plenty of contractors use Li-ion based tools without problem. And if there is one thing you can be certain of it's that the average contractor is NOT careful on his tools and subjects it to PLENTY of knocks and drops.
Li-Ion cells in a hard case are very very rarely a problem. You have to SERIOUSLY mistreat the average 18650 cell before it combusts and even then they are usually rather benign. It's the more energetic cousin Li-Polymer in a soft foil wrapped satchel that is the more dangerous flamey option/problem.
Li-Po most likely, not Li-ion. Very different beast. Li-ion is usually in a hard case that is quite indifferent to altitude changes, Li-Po tends to be packaged in soft foil package that flex under the slightest of pressure change. This soft foil is great for allowing flexibility in producing different size cells quickly, but a headache for designing a robust cell.
They aren't going to recall a product for a one-off event (assuming there haven't been a bunch of others for whatever headphones these are)
If every product using lithium batteries did so, you wouldn't be able to buy anything because they'd all be under constant recall!
I googled up "how to stop LiOn battery fire". There's a lot of research/manufacturing info, but also _some_ end user guidance about what to do. Though I wish they talked more about household containment strategies rather than just halon gear.
And, yes, aware of fairly low likelihood thereof, but LiOn are pretty pervasive nowadays. Pays to have somewhat of a clue just in case.
I've yet to hear of an AAA battery exploding.
I've found them surprisingly resilient - like that time I mistook 4 of them for rechargeables and left them in the charger for a good few hours. They got incredibly warm, and oozed some sort of juice which ate the top surface of my desk, but the whole episode was (thankfully) explosion/fire free
Would be helpful to get some more details on this. Like was mentioned before did she buy them in China? Did she bring them on the trip from home? Don't forget a few people have been killed over the years by poor knock off chargers zapping them to death. It's interesting seeing the difference of the inside of a real Apple charger compared to a knock off. Don't get me wrong though, almost everything I have is made in China but you have to be careful of the really cheap stuff.
Publishing a photograph of the victim is fine, assuming you have their consent, but what I cannot understand is why the brand or manufacturer of the actual headphones isn't mentioned, here. Why protect them? The single news-worthy point in this incident is the brand-name of the headphones and that simply because catastrophic failure - like this is - is NOT tolerable in consumer hardware.
I don't care what Samsung say, I won't buy their phones post 2016 because I value my health way more than my mobile phone. Similarly, there's no way I'll ever buy a product from a headphone manufacturer that has been involved in a fire or a climbing rope from someone who has been involved in a rope-failure due to defects in the rope. (As far as I know, all known rope failures (of rated ropes from certified brands) have been due to damage from rocks, chemicals or improper use - never due to defective manufacturing. There's a reason for this: the manufacturer would be out of business the next day if such a failure occurred. This is just.)
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