NYT: Samsung engineers can't seem to replicate Galaxy Note 7 explosions in the lab

NYT: Samsung engineers can't seem to replicate Galaxy Note 7 explosions in the lab
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is gone, sent away to become a footnote to history. For Samsung, the company is left wondering what went wrong to a device that appeared to be on the verge of being the most feature rich Android based phablet in history. The scary part of the whole tale is that Samsung really has no idea what caused the phones to explode.

When the first batch of Galaxy Note 7 units started catching on fire, the company apologized and blamed defective batteries for the explosions. So it arranged to exchange the original units for new Galaxy Note 7 handsets with a "safer" battery. But when reports started surfacing last week that the replacement units were exploding at a faster rate than the recalled units, Samsung had no choice but to pull the plug on the device.

Samsung apparently ended production of a phone that it had high hopes for, without being able to replicate the explosions in the lab. Investors and Samsung saw the Note 7 as a phone that could challenge the Apple iPhone. Now, Strategy Analytics says that Samsung could lose $10 billion because of the Galaxy Note 7. And investors have chopped $17 billion off of the company's market cap.

In the U.S., Samsung received 92 complaints of batteries overheating on the Galaxy Note 7. There were 26 reports of burns and 55 contained some sort of property damage. Park Chul-wan, former director of the Center for Advanced Batteries at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute, spoke with some Samsung engineers who told him that the explosions could not be replicated in the lab. Mr. Park concludes that Samsung was too quick to blame the batteries; "I think there was nothing wrong with them or that they were not the main problem."


source: NYTimes

Related phones

Galaxy Note 7
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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91 Comments

1. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

Anyone want to bet it's a specific brand of USB-C chargers ? I have had one make my 950XL get super hot. It also messes with my cars electronics if I leave the phone in charging when I start the car or after I have turned it off. Quit using it due to that. That would explain why only a few of them have had it happen and Samsung cant replicate.

7. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

I hear ya, but there were meltdowns with both the original chargers and third party ones. So it seems it may be something else, or a combo of something. May have more to do with Sammy not using the Quick Charge 3.0 standard. Didn't Sammy use a different charging tech for the Note 7. I remember there being a bit of a fuss about that, before the N7 was even released. People were wondering why they didn't use QC 3.0, which was the standard for that setup. Or something like that ;)

12. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

I should add that there were meltdowns with it not charging. In pockets, at restaurants etc. So not necessarily charger or charging standard related.

68. spin9

Posts: 310; Member since: May 31, 2014

"Samsung seems to have packed it with so much innovation it became uncontrollable." Is that an argument? What is it, the HAL?

89. Neoberry99

Posts: 68; Member since: Jun 30, 2015

Lol. That was too funny

91. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

It could indeed be this, snapdragon processor has built in own quick charging feature, if this is gone around in one way or another, or disabled this could cause issues. But this would mean that it would only be an issue on snapdragon versions? Eynox would be fine?

15. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

I don't think it was the chargers I think it was OVER 9000!!!!!

39. nokia12

Posts: 610; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

maybe a machine like note 7 did experience Fear !!!

49. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That's my guess to, something to do with USB-C

61. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The guy who had his safe Note 7 catch fire on the plane claimed he had only used wireless charging since he received his replacement device because he was afraid of charging it through the cable. Assuming the guy wasn't lying, I don't think the charging method or brand of charge had anything to do with the Note 7 catching fire or exploding.

71. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

But then how would you explain the units that supposedly burst into flames or started smoking when they were turned off or when they were in someone's pocket not being charged?

79. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I use the one that came with my HTC 10. It charges crazy fast and stays ice cold.

90. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I would not be surprised one bit, especially with the number is not larger then that, add that it seems to be near exclusively in US, which means it is the snapdragon versions of the phone, I would not be surprised if it turns out to be a problem with the quickcharge 3.0 that it has, where Eynox has its own version.

4. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

My theory: either design flaw or component (i.e CPU, modem, GPS etc.) arrangement gone wrong. Farewell Note 7, best phone we've barely had.

42. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

May be design flaw, can't be CPU, modem, gps. might be charging circuit or battery density.

5. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

If this turns out to be caused on non-standard chargers I going to laugh so hard. The problem is Samsung/Apple specific users (not all of them!) do tend to not be tech savvy at all, so buying a cheap USB Type C charger wouldn't even phase them.

10. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

There were meltdowns with both the original chargers and 3rd party ones. There were also meltdowns when the phone wasn't even charging. In a pocket etc. There were a few of those remember.

26. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Whose to say a dodgy charger can't cause damage which isn't immediate, the question they should be asking is have you ever used a 3rd party charger and not were you using one before or at the time of the "meltdown" But it's all speculation, hopefully Samsung will get to bottom of it soon enough.

6. acruzlu unregistered

I am waiting for a firm word from the CPSC, and hopefully Samsung before returning mine, the less than 1% chance of a defect does not deter me from holding onto mine until then.

69. gregrichards

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 26, 2016

You are mad to put your own safety and that of your family at risk over a phone. I get that you like it but please appreciate the severity of the situation and get an exchange or an S7 Edge it's not worth injuring yourself.

74. acruzlu unregistered

I am aware of the situation, but the less than 1% chance is so trivial. Appreciate the concern though. Just not wanting to settle for a downgrade.

8. Harambe unregistered

It's pretty obvious if you have done Stats 101 in your school days. Approximately, one out of every 100k note phones caught fire. You need to test at least 500k-1m phones in lab to get any statistically significant replication of the real scenario when the odds are that low.

30. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

But it's too high for a consumer everyday use product.

66. Harambe unregistered

Agree on that. I was just pointing out the reason why they are unable to test it out in labs and why it's so difficult to determine the cause of the problem. Samsung is just unlucky here. There's nothing they could have done that would have affected the outcome.

45. CodingEthos

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 12, 2016

Theoretically, you should only need to test the first batch of 100K phones. Statistically, it's impossible for it not to fail within the first batch if in fact 1/100k were defective. However, you're right. In any case, Samsung should have plenty of Note 7s to blow up now.

65. Harambe unregistered

You probably never studied statistics or probabilistic distributions. There is a decent chance that none of the 100k are defective. There is a probability that 1 out of 100k are defective. That's called the expected value. It's the average number you are going to find. It's entirely possible that 5 out of 100k are defective, and it's also entirely possible that none is. It's a normal distribution with expected value of 1/100k. There is a 50% chance it's above expected value and 50% chance it's below expected value.

9. whatev

Posts: 2202; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

This is very bad, they could replicate the same design flaws on future models having the same behavior, they should find the source of the problem

11. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Samsung may make mistakes, but NYT twisted the fact, Samsung just said the device is complex, Samsung never blame battery. NYT = establish media, articles full of political correctness Never trust NYT

14. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Umm no. Samsung blamed the battery originally. 100%

31. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

It explode on the battery of course battery will be the 1st things to investigate.

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