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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explodes In New York, Burns Six-Year-Old Boy (arstechnica.com) 202

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A six-year-old boy from Brooklyn has reportedly become the latest victim of Samsung's disastrous exploding Galaxy Note 7 batteries. The boy had been using the device at his family home when it "suddenly burst into flames," according to the New York Post. He was rushed to hospital with burns to his body. Samsung issued a recall of 2.5 million of its latest flagship phone on September 2 -- which had only been released the previous month -- after 35 reports that lithium batteries were exploding while they were being charged. The injured boy's grandmother said that the fire caused by the phone was strong enough to "set off alarms in my house." "He is home now," Linda Lewis told press. "He doesn't want to see or go near any phones. He's been crying to his mother." Samsung issued a statement on Saturday, urging owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to "power down your device and return to using your previous phone. We will voluntarily replace your Galaxy Note 7 device with a new one, beginning on September 19th... We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers." The recall has caused Samsung's stock to plunge. On Monday, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. stock suffered from its biggest one-day price decline in its 28-year history as a public company.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explodes In New York, Burns Six-Year-Old Boy

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  • Adult supervision is now required for all smartphones.
    • Re:Smartphones (Score:5, Informative)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @05:37PM (#52874195) Homepage
      its been 10 days since the very public recalls have been announced, i mean..... the adults really should have not been letting him play with it
      • Re:Smartphones (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sabri ( 584428 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @05:54PM (#52874367)

        the adults really should have not been letting him play with it

        Plot twist: perhaps they did it on purpose so they can now sue Samsung and cash in.

        • Re:Smartphones (Score:5, Informative)

          by saloomy ( 2817221 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:15PM (#52874511)
          Even if they didn't know, they should be responsible. The news has been ADAMANT about reporting on this recall, and making a lot of hoopla about it. Samsung issued a recall. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let them not win a lawsuit against Samsung.

          If they sue, Samsung is in trouble cause it admitted a fault and issued a recall. Shouldn't we encourage companies to recall products when there are safety hazards and they are willing to take the financial hit and do the responsible thing? They will never admit fault if it exposes them to liability in court.
          • Re:Smartphones (Score:4, Insightful)

            by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:28PM (#52874605) Homepage Journal

            I think Samsung coming forward and doing an across the board recall with a fairly significant level of media coverage is a good thing.

            But in the end, Samsung produced a defective and dangerous device and people were hurt. Samsung is still on the hook in civil courts because some people didn't get the message about the recall, or didn't understand the message.

            If I were a judge (and I obviously am not), I think a class action case against Samsung should be divided along where people were reasonably expected to have heard the recall announcement. Anyone before that time is one group, and anyone after that time has to file individually or form a different class action lawsuit.

            • If you go about it like that, then you are in effect encouraging companies to remain quiet about defects and cause confusion. Its terrible when a product causes injury, and I would agree that people who were hurt before such a recall have a claim and should be compensated.

              However for a company to come out and openly admit that there are faults in its product, opens it up to all sorts of claims. You don't want the government to have to sue each company into a recall, you want them to do it voluntarily. Of
              • remaining quiet could be criminal negligence. theoretically that can not only include stiff fines, and nearly unlimited civil penalities, but prison time for those involved in covering up.

              • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
                I disagree - the earlier they release the recall announcement, the fewer the number of people would be able to claim damages, so it behooves the company AND the non-greedy, just-want-to-be-safe public that it be publicized earlier. In this particular case, I find it hard that someone who could afford a Galaxy Note 7, and actually lives in the modern world (Brooklyn... so more or less), would be over a week behind the news that the devices should be returned.
            • Samsung is the redistributor of the battery. The suit has to be jointly against Samsung and the battery manufacturer.

              • If the faulty battery was in a lawn mower or model airplane then we probably wouldn't have had young children hurt and people would have not have been likely to be holding the device in their hands while it was charging. The battery manufacturer might not necessarily have much control over what kind of end products use their batteries. Although if it's a special order just to fit inside the confines of a particular phone or tablet, then I agree that the battery manufacturer has significant responsibility fo

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I'd rather die by Samsung burn than have an iphone without a headphone jack

          • The ISP or phone supplier must surely have sent a broadcast message to all their subscribers, warning them of the defective battery design.

            A software change in the phone is going to measure battery temperature, and if it is above a threshold, stop the charging. Thats about it.

        • The market WANTS removable batteries, and an a removable sdcard. The market wants this BADLY.

          Samsung, you spurned the desires of the market, thinking you knew best.

          You did this to accelerate planned obsolescence and force the purchase of replacement phones long before the service life of the electronics had reached a reasonable end. Had these batteries been removable, replacement of the faulty/dangerous parts would have been greatly simplified.

          Samsung, you have not received a tenth of the market punishment

      • 'its [sic] been 10 days since ...'

        Almost as long as /. requires between postings.

    • Adult supervision is now required for all smartphones.

      Considering how many smartphones don't even try to block the ability to access hardcore porn, this should be common fucking sense.

      • by ffkom ( 3519199 )
        If you're actually concerned about your 6 year old watching pornography on a phone, then that phone going off in flames is probably just what you need to scare your child away from porn by telling him it was the flames of hell, to where all sinners go, which were scorching the phone. And if you're less of a zealot, you can still tell him them chicks were just too hot for the phone to handle.
    • Samsung should sell all the recalled phones to ISIS, I'm sure they'd have a use for them.
  • Surely they're aware of the recall. They gave a child in their care a device that is known it catch on fire under normal use.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      My kid loves his lawn darts, you insensitive clod!

    • I had been following the thing a little bit but I thought the fire danger was just while charging, not under normal use...

      If I didn't know, I don't know how some random non-technical family is supposed to know anything about it whatsoever.

      • i guess as a parent id probably say if it can happen when charging....it can happen when its discharging, not letting my kid play with it

        also my kid would have a 200$ tablet not a 900$ smart phone, but then again what do i know, im just a stoner lol
        • This happened in New York City. $900 for a smartphone is nothing there compared to the rent.

          • i mean i see your point but still, a 200 dollar tablet that the kid can break 5 (and a half lol) of them for the same cost
            • I totally agree, but these things aren't marketed towards thriftier people like you and me, and people like you and me certainly wouldn't spend that much money on a tablet/phablet and give it to some kid who's just going to beat it up. I have a friend who's a single mom with a 7-year-old boy, and holy crap does that kid beat stuff up; I wouldn't put anything delicate or expensive anywhere near him. But I have an inkling that these Brooklynites aren't like me, and have money to burn.

      • Some big company is issuing a recall because their gadget can explode. This company is dead serious about it, urging user to keep using their older phone until they receive replacement for the newer-explodey phone.



        A. REPLACE: Hide the thing away in some solid trusted container and bring the shit as fast as you can to the nearest shop for replacement before it explodes.

        B. IGNORE: You give it to your kid to muck around - specially because said

        • by Teckla ( 630646 )

          Someone should *REALLY* call child protection service over this one. If the (grand-)parents are *THAT* stupid, chances are high that the kid is exposed to other risks due to the irresponsibility and stupidity of close family.

          A lot of people don't watch or read the news -- and I don't blame them, as it's 99% hyped up garbage.

          I can easily imagine a lot of affected Note 7 owners -- approximately 2.5 million of them -- weren't exposed to the recall message for some reason.

          Sitting in such harsh judgment is pretty immature.

          • I can easily imagine a lot of affected Note 7 owners -- approximately 2.5 million of them -- weren't exposed to the recall message for some reason.

            We're speaking about smartphones.

            - As per the various laws that were put into action in the name of "protection against terrorism" after 9-11, lots of countries (including the US) require tracking off all users of cell phone services (even pay as you go) to be properly registered. That means, at some point during purchase, this smartphone was associated with a SIM card that has an identity linked to it.
            It's not necessarily the SIM card that finally ended up in the phone (e.g.: the grand parents might have b

    • Surely they're aware of the recall. They gave a child in their care a device that is known it catch on fire under normal use.

      Why would they be proven to be aware? The only way to prove that a person knows, or has a good presumption of knowing that the Samsungs like to go kablooey, is if Samsung does due dilegence and sends each owner a physical thing that explains the problem.

    • by mjr167 ( 2477430 )

      Fisher-Price Glow Seahorses also catch fire [whattoexpect.com]. And were not recalled. My kid actually has one in her crib. According to the baby books and baby stuff manufacturers everything will kill your kid. When we bought our crib the vendor had just come out with a new model with special "green" stains and finishes that would reduce the risk of SIDS. We habitually recall things where 1 in a million uses under some strange circumstances resulted in some guy hurting himself. Instead of writing it off as 'some guy did so

      • I asked for a fire extinguisher once after unplugging a coworker's monitor, because it started hissing loudly and smoking. Our branch chief came over, facepalmed, and lectured the guy about not being allowed to bring his own 35 inch monitor into work.

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @05:38PM (#52874199)
    ... where are the photoshop artists when you need them to create suicide-bomber pictures with belts made of Note 7s?
  • I've used various thermal fuses to stop overheating in designs since the 1970s. Tell me why it should not be done in cellphone battery areas.

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      Samsung have claimed it's a short circuit, not much a thermal fuse can do about that.

      • Re:No Thermal Fuse? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:12PM (#52874493)

        This comes from bad electrolyte or bad quality control in the battery's construction.

        One of the following is happening:

        1) the cathode of the battery is fraying apart too quickly. (LiON batteries have cathodes that shrink and swell under charge and discharge, as they need to have a very high permeability to ionic lithium salts in solution. The actual absorption of the electrolyte during charging splits the cathode apart slowly over time. That's why the batteries wear out. In this case, the cathode is prematurely disintegrating, and the frayed out bits are shorting with the annode.)

        2) the electrolyte inside the pack is of poor quality/improper. Instead of just migrating into the porous cathode during charging, it is breaking down, and depositing metallic lithium dendrites inside the cathode. These can cause short circuits, much like tin whiskers do.

        3) the charge logic is improper, causing either breakdown of the electrolyte, or causing premature cathode disintegration through overcharging.

        in all cases, the fire happens after a dead short with the annode occurs inside the battery.

        Normally, the charge controller uses a thermistor to tell if thr cell is charging properly or not.if it is not charging properly, it disables the cell to prevent electrolyte and cathode breakdown, and the subsequent fire these cause.

        in the endless madness for thinner and thinner batteries, it is possible that thermally assisted detection of bad charging is less effective, because of the high surface area to weight ratio of the thiner battery cells. (they radiate the heat too quickly because they are thin and flat, so the thermistor reading isnt as accurate.)


    • Tell me why it should not be done in cellphone battery areas.

      In theory, cellphone batteries, because they are made of lithium(*) have EVEN MORE protection than that.
      Tons of protection directly built into the battery case itself, and in the charging circuit.

      In practice: someone somewhere along the supply and/or assembly manage to fuck up enough of these protection.

      Thus Samsung joins the hall of shame previously occupied by
      - Sony (and their incendiary laptop batteries back in the early 2000s) who managed to burn countless laptops, even of 3rd party brand to which Sony

    • Have a read up on lithium batteries. No thermal fuse can stop them catching on fire once an internal short circuit has occurred.

    • Fuses sit between the device and the battery. Not so much help when the fault is internal to the battery.

    • LiPo defects can result in an internal short, and catastrophic exothermic results. If your cells don't have defects and operate correctly under normal temperature range, then a thermal fuse is quite helpful in keeping them from running away into a dangerous range.

      lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) are much safer than typical lithium-polymer (LiCoO2 or LiMn2O4), but are lower capacity and thus heavier and bulkier for an equivalent capacity and are typically more expensive.

      • We use Li+ batteries because they're fast-reacting (release energy quickly) and high-energy-density (lots of charge in little space). That's the point of new battery tech: More current draw (ability to power more-demanding things) for more time (ability to power longer).

        That means any future battery tech will lean further toward high power output and high power density. We've got ideas for novel lithium compounds, organic cells, and nano-electrodes that should supply higher voltages, heavier current d

  • He doesn't want to see or go near any phones. He's been crying to his mother.

    Don't worry, kid- for Christmas you're getting an iPhone 7 and an expensive set of wired headphones!

    • Don't worry, kid- for Christmas you're getting an iPhone 7 and an expensive set of wired headphones!

      ... which you then plug into the phone using the included Lightning to 3.5mm adapter. I suppose that's what you meant, right?

  • It's too bad that lousy software and bloatware/crapware don't cause companies' stock prices to plunge. Then maybe they'd do something about those things.

  • It can also be used to boil water in an emergency. This will be a boon to backpackers.

    • by ffkom ( 3519199 )
      Or use as a grenade substitute when ambushed by a wild horde. Or use it to make a fire in your cave shelter in the Himalayas - also scares off the Yeti!
  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:06PM (#52874459)
    To me, "exploding" and "going up in flames" is not the same thing. If I hold a phone in my hands and it goes up in flames, I drop it and might have some burns if I'm unlucky. If I hold a phone in my hands and it explodes, good bye hands.

    Is there any reliable information what actually happens?
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:32PM (#52874631) Homepage Journal

      If I recall, technically an "explosion" is supersonic deflagration, which of course is accompanied by a shock wave. It's the shock wave that's the salient feature of an explosion.

      Practically anything flammable can explode if it is finely mixed with oxygen (or an oxidizer) and it is *contained*. If you pour the black powder from a bullet into a line and touch it off it's go up pfft! But it won't explode because it's not contained. On the flip side flour or powdered coffee creamer can be sifted into a tube and ignited and it will explode, but not with much force.

      A lithium ion cell has plenty of flammable bits inside, a source of O2 (the electrode), and of course it is contained, but it's engineered not to explode. It's engineered not to catch fire too, so you can't rule rule out either possibility since something's gone very wrong.

      It's not either/or too: you can get a small explosion that once it escapes its immediate confines dissipates into an expanding cloud of burning gas -- or even a fireball. It can be quite impressive, and while not packing the shattering power it would if all the fuel was consumed at supersonic speed, it can be quite impressive and destructive.

      • Flour has detonated with extreme force. Enough to demolish a building. Thirteen abstract people died.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Yes, if you scale a weak explosive enough the size of the shockwave gets arbitrarily large. However if you try this in a cardboard concrete form (sonotube) the sonotube will remain intact. You suspend the tube over an ignition source like a candle and sift flour into the top.

    • There is a chemists definition of explosion, and there is a less rigorous colloquial definition. A can of your favorite fizzy drink might be said to explode if the conditions are right, but really it's just gas expanding rapid through a failure in the container. It's particularly violent if you were to say, microwave it, then you'd have potentially super-heated sugar water spraying all over your relatively flimsy human skin, and I promise you every newspaper would report that as an "explosion".

      So while ther

      • Colloquially, something has to go boom to explode. We've separated out the idea of squeezing something externally or puncturing a pressure vessel.
  • by seoras ( 147590 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @06:20PM (#52874539)

    The question, that remains unanswered at the moment, is just how damaged is the Samsung Phone brand?
    Is it on life support now after what just happened to a 6 year old NY-er?
    As a parent I'm not keen on allowing any of my gang (7, 5, 3, & 6 mnths) to touch our smart phones, less so now.
    This is where brand value and customer confidence in brand comes to the fore, when it threatens the safety of those who you protect.
    Xmas time is going to be a tough one for Samsung and, for not paying attention to the quality and safety of supplied parts, they deserve it.
    Which android brand will take their place?

  • I for one hope this is the even that causes Samsung to discontinue their idiotic policy of sealing in phone batteries.

    They could have mailed out replacements with a return envelope so much more easily than depriving people of their devices for a week.

    • What do you mean? Take it into the local T-mobile/Verizon/Target/whatever and swap it off, let the store send your shit phone back.
  • by by (1706743) ( 1706744 ) on Monday September 12, 2016 @07:06PM (#52874875)
    Would it be legal for Samsung to issue an OTA update to essentially brick the device (ideally affecting the charging controller, too)?

    Would this be legal? Not that I'm advocating that sort of behavior, just wondering...as-is, it seems we barely own anything and are just borrowing it from the company...
    • Re:Remotely brick? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by vakuona ( 788200 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @06:50AM (#52877651)

      Maybe not brick it (because people might try to fix it).

      Just put a huge warning message that the device is dead and can not be used anymore. Give the people a code that they can use to claim a refund, and tell them they don't even have to bring it to a store. They can just chuck it away and claim a refund.

      That way, no parent gives it to a young kid, and they scare them enough into getting rid of it.

  • I saw someone on twitter ask Benson Leung to test but he doesn't have a Note 7 USB-C cable.

    USB-C being a real mess of a standard, it'd be great if people followed it to the letter but so far the past 2 or 3 years has been a shambles of risk and potentially fried devices.

  • Rather than carrying a stick pf dynamite in my pocket, next to important organs that I would prefer to keep, I would rather have a little thicker phone that allows for bigger, less energy dense battery. And then optimize software to reduce power demands. An old fashioned alphanumeric pager used to last weeks on a pair of non-explosive AA batteries. When the phone is not in active use, it does not need any more functionality to display notifications and receive phone calls on a secondary e-ink screen. When I

  • I wonder if Samsung is wishing they had listened to users and kept batteries user-removable.

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      I wonder if Samsung is wishing they had listened to users and kept batteries user-removable.

      To answer your question:

      Nope, that's not what they're wishing at all.

  • Please send in your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 immediately. Preferably via Air Mail. Signed ISIS
  • Not a Note 7 (Score:3, Informative)

    by crvtec ( 921881 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2016 @06:40AM (#52877629) Homepage
    Not a Note 7. It was a Galaxy Core: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news... [nbcnewyork.com] Possibly aftermarket battery?
  • I can't believe they ordered some cheap Chinese crap battery that explodes like something you'd get on ebay and stuck it in one of the premiere, top quality phones. They will now forever be associated with cheap Chinese parts. I'm sure that's totally worth all the money they saved on battery production.

Loose bits sink chips.