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Is a third-party battery to blame for this Nexus S explosion?

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Is a third-party battery to blame for this Nexus S explosion?
Kirsten Zastrow was awakened to the sound of snap-crackle-pop and the smell of something burning a couple hours after she plugged her Google Nexus S in for a charge when she went to bed. 

What she saw as she got up was a piece of her phone, on fire, just a couple inches from where her head used to be. She put the fire out and started to figure out what happened.

Her phone was in pieces, scattered all over the place from the explosion (hence the “pop” sound) and the bit that was on fire next to her head was the phone’s battery. We read about exploding phones quite often, and invariably we can point to some type of user error or downright abuse of the device.

In Zastrow’s case, her phone is about two years old and she recently replaced the OEM battery with a third party power cell, in this case, manufactured by a company called Anker. That right there would raise a red flag with some. However, there are a lot of reputable products out there and a brief search about Anker’s battery quality does not reveal anything shady going on.

Then again, Anker, like many manufacturers, has their products built in China. Considering that variable, it is entirely possible that that this one part may have had a quality control issue. Isidor Buchmann, CEO of Cadex Electronics, who makes battery testing gear, said that even the Chinese are afraid to buy batteries made in China, “With third-party batteries, the likelihood of a battery failing would be much greater. I was just in China last month, talking to their military, and there was concern even there to buy cells that are made in China by a third party. It's a quality issue.”

Anker, for its part, is working with Zastrow to see if its battery was indeed the cause of the explosion. How minute could the quality variance have been? Very small, “If something crept in that's metallic, a short could occur between the two plates. It may be so small that it's unnoticeable, but eventually a little bit of warmth, heat or vibration could make it worse. It's almost like leakage in a water dam. It works itself open and then the dam breaks,” according to Buchmann.

So we are not waving you off from using third-party batteries. In fact, many of us here have used more than a few and do not have any horror stories to share. Do you have any interesting third-party battery stories?

source: Mashable


11 Comments
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posted on 30 Mar 2013, 22:29 4

1. yyuu1000 (Posts: 152; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)


yes my brother still has his nexus s and still running strong

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 22:49 20

2. Planterz (Posts: 898; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Undoubteldy it was a flaw in the battery. Any type of lithium battery can be dangerous. Be it a primary (non-rechargeable) that you use in a flashlight or camera, or a lithium ion or lithium polymer rechargeable. A rechargeable lithium battery will (or should) have built-in circuitry to prevent overcharging and over-discharging. Remember all those Sony and Gateway laptops that were catching fire a few years back? That was the problem. Bad circuitry. Overcharging is obviously a danger. Too much juice and the battery will overheat, can catch fire, and possibly explode. Over-discharging is also a problem. Without the cutoff circuitry all rechargeable lithium batteries should have, they can go into what's called "runaway discharge", which can make them overheat, catch fire, and possibly explode.

The lithium gasses that come from such failures are also extremely toxic and dangerous.

People need to realize that if they have a lithium battery in a device (and if they have a cell phone or laptop, they do), that there are certain risks involved. Most of the time (I'd say 99.99%, but I don't have any actual stats), they're safe. But most of this stuff is made in China, and if you buy a no-name, cheap battery off of eBay, then you really can't trust it to be 100% safe. Be it a battery or a seperate charger.

And even if you buy OEM or retail packaged batteries, remember that these are potentially dangerous items, regardless (remember Sony and Gateway - or was it Dell...I forget). Any lithium battery is a potential roman candle or pipe bomb, with toxic gasses released either way. Saving a few bucks ain't worth the risk, and even if you buy brand name, don't trust it right off the bat.

There's a reason the USPS doesn't want to ship litihum batteries...

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 22:51 1

3. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Well said+1

Snap crackle pop Kellogs Rice Crispes

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 01:38

6. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)


Is the phone still usable?

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 00:55 1

4. LDC207X (Posts: 22; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


I just got an anker battery a few weeks ago! But I can say it hasn't popped yet or even get that hot really. I'm kinda scared of my now lol

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 03:34 1

8. lallolu (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Sep 2012)


Anker batteries are the only oem I trust on my phones. Have used an Anker battery on my HTC sensation since i bought it more than 1.5 years ago.

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 01:43 8

7. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1359; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


"This message will Self - Destruct in 10 seconds "

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 08:52

10. Sangeet (Posts: 232; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


No it won't!!!

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 10:25

11. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Yes it will!

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 06:49

9. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Third party + Made in China. DUH...
It means risk of QC issues increased by three folds...

posted on 01 Apr 2013, 09:23

12. mafiaprinc3 (Posts: 325; Member since: 07 May 2012)


most electronic products in the world are made in china,jst disassemble any device whether it be cell phones,tvs,microwaves, etc.
believe it or not

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