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Girl injured by 'exploding' phone charger on Bangor bus how?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by ericmark, 1 Jul 2014.

  1. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The BBC account says very little but the new deckers do have WiFi and both 230v and USB charge outlets on the bus I have noticed so it could have been in use.

    As to wave form of 230v outlet or power available both from 230v and 5v USB I have no idea.

    In my own car I use an inverter and phone charger plugged into that just never got around to buying a car charger.

    A related story How dangerous are phone chargers? claims Charity Electrical Safety First recently commissioned tests looking at the safety of chargers bought from online trading and auction sites.

    It found that half had been wired using "sub-standard components" and none met with the safety requirements of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations Act 1994.

    I wonder how many of the official chargers meet regulations? I have a official Nokia charger with an extend-able earth pin which I am sure does not comply and also official 230 to USB Iphone charger again where the area covered by the plug base does not comply but this does not make them dangerous.

    The report "He said he saw a white flash and a flame about 50cm (19in) high, which caused the girl to drop the charger to the floor." makes one think it was not plugged in.

    The Wales Online reports "The 14-year-old girl had just plugged a newly bought battery-powered charger into her touch-screen mobile phone when it exploded, sending a two-foot ball of white flame into the air." So maybe it was not plugged in and this is yet another NiMh battery explosion just like Dell computers and Boeing aircraft.

    Maybe we should return to using NiCad batteries? But I had thought the battery problem what when they were re-charged not when being discharged? Any thoughts please.
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    so we don't know what the cause is, nor how accurate are the witness statements.

    So it might be a bit early to speculate.
     
  4. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    It might have been a phone charger that is powered by a battery in the charger and not by being plugged into a power source. In which case the internal battery in the charger could have self ignited.
     
  5. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    "...a white flash and a flame about 50cm (19in) high..." sounds far more like a battery (in phone or charger) exploding than 'an exploding charger (parts other than any battery)', doesn't it? ... although I suppose that could result from the charger putting an excessive voltage across the battery.

    There seems to be a serious paucity of even the most basic of facts, so everything has to be speculation.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  6. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    IMO the least speculative thing to do would be to discount all the eye-witness reports of just which item exploded/caught fire/gave off smoke, and how large or real any "fireball" was.
     
  7. kbdiy

    kbdiy

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    Agreed. Most reports these days seem subject to massive exaggeration (see what I did there - 'massive' exaggeration). The reports of this incident even manage to claim differing size flames - 2 feet high according to the Welsh report but down to a mere 19" on the BBC :confused:
     
  8. ekmdgrf

    ekmdgrf

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    The batteries well-known for self-incendiary incidents are Li-Ion batteries. NiMh are fairly stable. I've heard some claims that the big problem with Li-Ions is that the they way they are designed is fundamentally flawed. The slight problem, of course, with every increasing battery capacity is that it's lot more energy to release in one go...
     
  9. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Yes - you failed to write "literally massive exaggeration".

    :mrgreen:
     
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  11. kbdiy

    kbdiy

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    Well I don't like to over-exaggerate :D
     
  12. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    That makes you fairly unique.
     
  13. flameport

    flameport

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    Probably a device such as this random example: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171365740822
    Some of these are sold with lithium cells, others are sold empty and you buy cells separately.

    Such devices can be safe, but problems can occur if used with the wrong type of cells.
    Some lithium cells have protection circuitry built into the cell itself, so can be used with power banks or similar which do not have any protection.
    Other cells have no protection so must be used with devices containing suitable protection circuits.
    The protection disconnects the cell if the voltage is too low or too high.

    Without the protection circuitry, a short or excessive current drain on the cell(s) could easily cause overheating and fire.
    Faulty cells are also possible, as are fake ones which may claim to be something they are not.
     
  14. winston1

    winston1

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    What ever the cause lets just be thankful it was on a bus not a 'plane.
     
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Still - onwards and upwards, eh? Let's embrace this sort of thing as a necessary and therefore desirable consequence of free trade and competition and customer choice.

    I mean, what's a few injuries, or even deaths, when compared to the benefits of unconstrained commerce?
     
  16. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    For some reason, I can't keep pots and kettles out of my mind - I take it from your recent comment that you somehow know know that whatever caused this incident was some sort of 'dodgy' device? In passing, would you happen to know (we don't like speculation) that the batteries which have caused problems in aircraft etc. were bought through ebay or amazon?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  17. mfarrow

    mfarrow

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    I've been looking at USB charging recently, as I have a 'charger' in the wifes car which is failing to co-operate (doesn't charge my phone, but the phone says it's charging :confused: )

    A USB device should not consume anything over 100mA (the standard output for USB 1.0 standard) until it has successfully negotiated with the host. When that's happened it can draw a lot more, up to the negotiated value (2A if the data pins are joined together as in wall-wart chargers).

    There is therefore no reason for a 'sound' device to overload a charger. These instances to me seem very much charger/host related.
     
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