back to article Headphone batteries flame out mid-flight, ignite new Li-Ion fears

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 …

  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Hurray for wireless earpods!

    Or maybe not. Maybe I'll stick with headphones that take alkaline AAs.

  2. Pompous Git Silver badge

    But a 14KW Power Wall...

    ... in your living room is perfectly safe.

    Yes, alkaline AAs are a great idea

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

      Well, just thank God that Elon Musk isn't in the headphone business.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

        A power wall doesn't have the same weight constraints as portable gadgets, so more safety features can be incorporated in it. It is certainly in Musk's business interests to ensure no power walls cause a fire.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

          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.

          1. Snowman

            Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

            Since the history of batteries is pretty much putting some of the most caustic substances in a small container probably not, even the ones that do not spontaneously catch fire usually could leak materials that should not be touched.

          2. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

            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.

            1. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

              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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

          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. All of these just a much for Musk's powerwall buisness as a headphone manfacturer.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

            > 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.

            1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

              Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

              @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.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

            > 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.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

      Should be sited like a propane tank -- away from the house and in an area that's not got flammable material around it.

      If you need one to show off indoors then I daresay Mr. Musk will sell you a dummy.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

        If you need one to show off indoors then I daresay Mr. Musk will sell you a dummy.
        And if he won't, I'm sure some enterprising person will manufacture cheap fakes in his backyard shed for a shitload less money than the real thing :-)

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: But a 14KW Power Wall...

          I'm sure some enterprising person will manufacture cheap fakes in his backyard shed for a shitload less money than the real thing

          95% of the benefits of the real thing, 5% of the cost.

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Poor girl, burns to her face and her eyes got pixelated !!!

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      and her eyes got pixelated !!!
      That was from the terrible singing she was listening to...

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        "That was from the terrible singing she was listening to..."

        She looks a bit singed. : -)

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      I imagine it's quite a traumatic experience, having your face burnt off. Especially, given society's expectations, for a woman.

      Publishing a photo for the sake of a few taudry Ad revenue clicks and so that commentards can make jokes seems a bit tasteless.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Actually, the photo reassured me that she didn't receive any permanent injuries. She was singed, as per the article.

        I can't blame you for not studying the photo more closely if you're the squeamish type, though.

        1. macjules Silver badge
          Coat

          She was definitely singed at.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: photo

        Publishing a photo for the sake of a few taudry Ad revenue clicks and so that commentards can make jokes seems a bit tasteless.

        Given that...

        (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

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: RE: photo

          Well said, AC. I hate it when people take offence on others' behalf.

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        "face burnt off"

        Where does it say that?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "burns to her face and her eyes got pixelated"

      If *that's* what causes pixelation, I can only suggest that your average Japanese porn star needs to invest in more lube to cut down on friction burns where it obviously hurts...

    4. Snar

      Looks like she also grew an instantaneous beard as well, poor girl :(

  4. Sanctimonious Prick
    Flame

    Scary. Really.

    Had she left them powered on and stowed them above or below, this could have been much worse.

    --->> appropriate<?>:)

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Scary. Really.

      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.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Flame

    Rude awakening at 30,000ft

    Now if only you could still take bottles of water aboard....

    1. ChrisC

      Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

      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.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

        > airside shops selling water...

        for a price making HP printer ink look cheap, yes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

          Dubai Airport shops sell 500 ml for a dirham. About a third of what you would pay on the street here in Toronto. As a bonus, today it would be ice.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

        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...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

          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.

          _._

    2. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

      The staff used buckets of water - probably more than 100ml. Although I wonder why they didn't carry fire extinguishers on board?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Rude awakening at 30,000ft

        SOP for a L-Ion battery fire actually IS to douse it with plenty of cold water. Since the fire is the result of a thermal runaway, you want to stop the runaway reaction. Since the lithium in an L-Ion battery is in compound form, it won't react to the water.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm putting a bet....

    ..on it being nothing to do with the batteries, but cheap arse nasty wiring.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I'm putting a bet....

      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.

      1. ChrisC

        Re: I'm putting a bet....

        One wonders if the residents of places like La Paz also suffer higher than average rates of battery fires, given their similarly lofty altitude...

        1. JaitcH
          WTF?

          Re: I'm putting a bet....

          Aircraft interiors are maintained to the equivalent of 8.000 feet ASL. My home in VietNam is at 4,500 feet ASL.

          Likely air pressure had little to do with 'ears on fire'.

        2. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: I'm putting a bet....

          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.

    2. Steve Evans

      Re: I'm putting a bet....

      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!).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm putting a bet....

        Only reason I say wiring (or circuit components)

        "because there was still sparking and “small amounts of fire”"

        I may be wrong, but I wouldn't expect sparking from a battery issue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm putting a bet....

          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.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: I'm putting a bet....

            "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."

            Sorry can you rephrase that?

            Are you saying "Don't do what was done on the plane"?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm putting a bet....

              Do what was done on the plane, stamp on it, damage the cell more, cause more shorts in the cell, cause sparking and smoke.

              Crappy autocorrect and word prediction for swypey type keyboard.

  7. Thought About IT

    Selfish reason

    Hope they weren't made by Bose!

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Selfish reason

      It's described as a "China - Australia" flight, so maybe an Alibaba-special "bargain" bought in the duty free before departure?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Selfish reason

        "It's described as a "China - Australia" flight, so maybe an Alibaba-special "bargain" bought in the duty free before departure?"

        So, a literal case of 'buy cheap, get burned', then?

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Selfish reason

      Hope they weren't made by Bose

      or Sony, I am fond of mine and for the cost I would be very very unhappy (quite apart from the involuntary face modifications)

  8. The_H

    There are three places...

    ... where I don't want to wear Li-ion batteries.

    Eyes, ears, and... well, I think you get the idea.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: There are three places...

      Referring to Monday's article about smart teledildonics ...

  9. M7S
    Flame

    Possibly listening to

    The crazy world of Arthur Brown,

    Kings of Leon,

    Fire Inc (too obvious?)

    Over to you....

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Possibly listening to

      Billy Joel

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Possibly listening to

        How have you missed off The Prodigy?

        1. Law

          Re: Possibly listening to

          "I'm the bits you hated, eye all pixelated - yeaaah"

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Possibly listening to

            Not forgetting Brian Eno.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Possibly listening to

              Sweet Regina's gone to China

              Maybe she'll do spot of spying

              With micro-cameras hidden in her hair

              - Burning Airlines Give You So Much More

    2. Adrian Jones

      Re: Possibly listening to

      Clare Teal - Everybody's messing with fire?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Possibly listening to

      Alicia Keys.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Possibly listening to

        How about The Boss?

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Possibly listening to

          or The Doors....

    4. Snar

      Re: Possibly listening to

      Possible playlist at the time -

      Nirvana - Lithium

      Michael Burks - I Smell Smoke

      50 Cent - Heat

      Alberta - Ears on Fire

      Andy Ard - Hair on Fire

      Oshlapov - Pour Water

      ItaloBrothers - Stamp on the Ground

      Shinedown - State of my Head

  10. Matthew Brasier

    Water

    They poured a bucket of water on what was suspected to be a lithium fire?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Water

      Would fizz, slightly.

      Thats it.

      Lithium ION batteries dont explode when you dunk them in water, they fizz.

      Dropping a chunk of pure lithium is a different kettle of heavy metal.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Water

        Dropping a chunk of pure lithium is a different kettle of heavy metal.

        ITYM "different kettle of light metal" -- Lithium is the least dense of all metallic elements -- but you are correct that lithium ion batteries aren't made out of actual metallic lithium.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Water

      "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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Water

      I guess they could of waited until they land to get the appropriate fire fighting equipment.

      1. FlossyThePig
        Headmaster

        Re: Water

        Go the back of the class and write 100 times:

        I don't know the difference between "could've", "could have" and "could of".

        Whack-O!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Water

        They could HAVE waited.

        Mate, there are trained apes who have grapsed the difference between "of" and "have".

        You, not so much.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Water

      I'd hazard a guess that stamping on the battery didn't help.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Water

        I assume it would rupture the cell further, however being woken up in that way you can't blame her.

      2. BernardL

        Re: Water

        After the fire was out, I'd stamp on the damn thing too. Very theraputic.

        If there's any cold water left over, apply it to the burn. And then stamp on the headphones again.

  11. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Recall?

    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 ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recall?

      Because you don't recall every car, because a Ford Focus has a fuel pump issue.

      1. Grunchy

        Re: Recall?

        You definitely do recall every Ford Focus because one Ford Focus had a fuel pump issue.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Recall?

      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.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Recall?

        "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?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Recall?

          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.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Recall?

      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recall?

      It's only in the news because it's extraordinary. If it happened all the time we wouldn't hear about it.

    5. PNGuinn Silver badge

      Re: Recall? @Andy The Hat

      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.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Recall? @Andy The Hat

        Problem is getting replacement batteries at a decent price
        It'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.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Recall? @Andy The Hat

        @PNGuinn

        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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news.

    Fake news.

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I'm just waiting for the first teledildonics-related injury sustained by a user. On a plane.

    On a related note, my spell checker knew the word teledildonics.

    1. Sleep deprived

      Plain dildonics would be bad enough

      Or is the "tele" for another passenger to remotely trigger the explosion of joy?

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: Plain dildonics would be bad enough

        I just wanted to have a chance to use the word 'teledildonics'. I so rarely do.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a flame out.

    The author appears to have heard the phrase "Flame out" and thought that because it had the word "flame" in it, it would fit in the title.

    Unfortunately it has the opposite meaning to what occured here.

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Flame

    Goodness, gracious

    Great Balls Cans of Fire

  16. Scam3r

    You may have a point...

    "That's why it happens more on planes than elsewhere."

    in addition you can't always tell what battery technology is put in a device. So how do you stop this from happening again?

    1. Drew 11

      Re: You may have a point...

      X-ray detection of Li-Ion batteries?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: You may have a point...

        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.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The passenger / victim

    Given how much everyone is talking about her, do you think she's got the feeling like her ears are burning?

  18. simonpearse

    is it normal practice to keep a bucket on a plane?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      @simonpearse

      is it normal practice to keep a bucket on a plane?

      They may have a Champagne Bucket or two

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I believe it has been lately as that seems to be the method used for battery fires.

    3. Sully

      "Is It normal practice to keep a bucket on a plane?"

      Why yes, You can thank Sully Sullenberger for the recommendation that all aircraft have enough buckets to create a chain of buckets to bail an aircraft out in the event of a water landing in the Hudson...

  19. DougS Silver badge

    Don't bother looking for a recall

    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!

  20. JLV Silver badge

    After reading this

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: After reading this

      LiOn fires are largely contained within zoos and wildlife reserves.

      Li-ion fires are a whole different kettle of fish.

  21. Grunchy

    I thought they had lithium ion tech that was so safe you could chop it up with scissors and it still doesn't erupt in stinky flames.

    How come we still allow pure lithium inside batteries? Shouldn't be allowed.

    1. John Geek
      Facepalm

      there's no elemental/metal lithium in these batteries. from Wikipedia, "...electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries consist of lithium salts, such as LiPF6, LiBF4 or LiClO4 in an organic solvent, such as ethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate, and diethyl carbonate."

  22. John Geek

    now I'm having second thoughts about my Motorola Buds brand bluetooth 'collar' thing. :-/

  23. martinusher Silver badge

    Older sometimes makes more sense

    My clunky old noise cancelling earphones have an external battery pack containing a AAA battery. Its not the most convenient, its not state of the art but I've yet to hear of an AAA battery exploding.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Older sometimes makes more sense

      I've yet to hear of an AAA battery exploding.
      Me either, but that's likely because I'm listening to Massive Attack at full volume when they do ;-)

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Older sometimes makes more sense

      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

  24. candyman76

    More details would be helpful

    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.

  25. Czrly

    Who made the 'phones?

    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.)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019