Tag Archives: Replacement

How Samsung Found & Fixed Their Exploding Battery Problem

How Samsung Found & Fixed Their Exploding Battery Problem

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 arrived to great acclaim on 19 August 2016. It was literally the best phablet ever, with its IP68 rating and its improved S Pen and Knox capabilities. However, its massive early success was soon overshadowed by reports of some Note7 phablets catching fire – the infamous exploding battery problem.

In October, Samsung initiated a global replacement program, but even some of the replacement devices continued to catch fire. That’s when they decided to recall and permanently end the sale of the Galaxy Note7. Since then, they have been working hard on finding out what happened, and how to prevent a recurrence.

After an exhaustive investigation, Samsung can now reveal what caused both the original and the replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets to catch fire, and what they are doing to prevent that from ever happening again. Check it out!

 

The Investigation

After the global replacement program was initiated, Samsung assembled 700 engineers to find out why some of them would spontaneously catch fire. Together with the replacement Note7 phablets from the global recall, their engineers tested more than 200,000 of those returned devices, and over 30,000 batteries.

Samsung also roped in three industrial safety and quality control organisations – UL, Exponent and TÜV Rheinland – to examine the Galaxy Note7 phablets, and provide Samsung with their own findings.

Finally, Samsung went back and examined every aspect of their production processes in their factories in China, Vietnam and south Korea  – from hardware and software development to the assembly and testing of the Galaxy Note7, as well as logistics.

 

Double Trouble

The reason why both the original and the replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets exhibited similar spontaneous combustion issues was because two different batteries were catching fire under different circumstances.

Battery A

The first situation involved battery A which had an overly small casing. The cramped condition led to the negative electrodes being “deflected in the upper right corner of the battery“, and coming into contact with each other.

Battery B

The second situation involved battery B where welding burrs on the positive electrode penetrated the insulation tape and separator, and came into direct contact with the negative electrode. This essentially resulted in a short circuit.

 

Making Sure It Won’t Happen Again

To ensure that Samsung users will never have to worry about the exploding battery problem ever again, Samsung developed a rigorous 8-point battery safety check protocol for all future Samsung devices :

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  • Enhanced battery durability tests – includes overcharging tests, nail puncture tests and extreme temperature stress tests.
  • Visual inspection tests of every battery under standardised guidelines and objective criteria.
  • X-ray scans of every battery to look for any abnormalities.
  • Every battery will undergo a large scale charging and discharging test.
  • TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compound) Test –  to make sure there isn’t the slightest possibility of leakage
  • Disassembly Test – the batteries are disassembled to assess their quality, including the battery tab welding and insulation tape conditions.
  • Accelerated Usage Test – the batteries will undergo extensive tests to simulate accelerated consumer usage scenarios
  • △OCV (Delta Open Circuit Voltage) Test – Samsung will check for any change in voltage throughout the manufacturing process, from component level to the assembled device.
How Samsung Found & Fixed Their Exploding Battery Problem

Samsung may have been hit hard by the exploding battery problem in the Galaxy Note7, but there may be a silver lining after all. It brought up the critical and often overlooked issue of the safety of lithium-ion batteries that are, by nature, volatile. The new battery safety check protocol Samsung put in place should become an industry-standard. Other smartphone manufacturers would do well to adopt Samsung’s battery safety check protocol, or a similar one.

 

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The Galaxy Note7 Replacement Program Explained Rev. 5.2

It’s official. Samsung has officially announced a global replacement of all Samsung Galaxy Note7 phablets. Check out their press release on the issue :

Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.

To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.

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. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.

With Apple set to announce the iPhone 7 just 5 days later, the timing of the Galaxy Note7 recall was tragic. However, it is very heartening to see Samsung take this problem so seriously.

Problems like this will happen to any product. What matters is how the brand addresses the issue, and how quickly they do it. In this case, we think Samsung did the right thing by ceasing the sale of the Galaxy Note7 and now recalling those already sold.

Originally posted @ 2016-09-02

Updated @ 2016-09-04 : Added a new section on when the replacement Note7 phablets are expected. Also added a new tip.

Updated @ 2016-09-11 : Updated the article with new information on the replacement dates and contact numbers, as well as what you can do while waiting for your replacement Note7. Also added a new section on how to identify the new Note7 devices.

Updated @ 2016-09-21 : Added new information on identifying a new Galaxy Note7 using the label, and the green battery icon. Renamed the article to more accurately reflect the changes.

Updated @ 2016-10-10 : Added new information on the suspension of production, and Samsung’s official statement.

Updated @ 2016-10-11 : Added new information on the suspension of the replacement program.

Updated @ 2016-10-12 : Added new information on the cancellation of the Galaxy Note7 and the Note7 replacement program.

 

Cancellation Of Note7 Production, Sale & Replacement Updated!

After reports of several replacement Note7 phablets caught fire, Samsung has permanently cancelled the production, sale and replacement of the Galaxy Note7 phablet.

Samsung have asked carriers and retailers to cancel the sale of the Galaxy Note7, as well as the existing replacement program. Some carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, had earlier announced the suspension of sale and replacement of the Galaxy Note7.

Current users are urged to turn off their original and replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets, and contact the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in their respective countries, for further details :

United States – 1-800-SAMSUNG (if purchased from Samsung.com)
United Kingdom – 0330 726 1000
Australia – 1300 362 603
Malaysia – 1800-88-7799

 

When Will The Replacement Note7 Arrive?

Update : The Note7 replacement program has been cancelled!

Samsung has already announced that the Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on September 19-21 for some countries. Customers in those countries should contact the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in their respective countries :

United States – 1-800-SAMSUNG (if purchased from Samsung.com)
United Kingdom – 0330 726 1000
Australia – 1300 362 603

Here in Malaysia, Samsung Malaysia just announced that the Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on the 29th of September. To enroll in the Galaxy Note7 recall programme, please contact the Samsung Malaysia Careline at 1800-88-7799 for further assistance.

Pre-ordered Galaxy Note7 phablets that have not been delivered will be replaced with new Galaxy Note7 phablets using batteries from a different supplier. This would also mean that if you have been waiting for your pre-ordered Galaxy Note7 to arrive, you will need to wait an additional 2 weeks.

 

Identification Of New Note7 Phablets

The new Samsung Galaxy Note7 phablets will come with clear identifiers on the box – a small black square on the white barcode label along with a white sticker with a blue letter ‘S’.

You can also verify the IMEI number on an online database that will be established soon, or through the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in your country. The IMEI number of the replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets will be different from those affected by the battery recall.

Finally, Samsung added a green battery icon to help you verify that your new Galaxy Note7 has the new battery. The new green battery icon will be visible on :

  • the status bar,
  • the Always On Display screen, and
  • the Power Off prompt screen (accessed by pressing the Power button for a long time)

 

While Waiting For Your Note7 Replacement?

Right now, all you can do is hang in there until your replacement Galaxy Note7 arrives. Samsung naturally advises you to turn off the Galaxy Note7 while waiting for the replacement.

In some countries, you will be given a courtesy device to use while waiting for your replacement Galaxy Note7. Call the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in your country to find out if that’s possible.

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If you have to continue using the Galaxy Note7 though, you don’t need to be unduly worried. Samsung estimates that the faulty battery affects “less than 0.1%” of the Galaxy Note7 already in the market. Here are some safe steps you can take until you receive your replacement Galaxy Note7 :

  • Use only the original charger and Type C USB cable provided with your Galaxy Note7.
  • If possible, use a computer USB port to recharge the Galaxy Note7. The lower power output should reduce the risk of the battery exploding or catching fire.
  • Do NOT use the Galaxy Note7 while it is recharging. Place it away from flammable items.
  • If possible, place the Galaxy Note7 on a fire-resistant or fire-proof surface, before recharging it.

 

Galaxy Note7 Replacement In Malaysia

Samsung Malaysia is amazingly speedy at following up on the worldwide announcement on the Galaxy Note7 replacement program. They have already issued the official replacement notice, even though not a single Galaxy Note7 sold in Malaysia has been reported to be affected by this issue.

Samsung Malaysia just announced that their Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on the 29th of September. To enroll in the Galaxy Note7 replacement programme, please contact the Samsung Malaysia Careline at 1800-88-7799 for further assistance.

Samsung Malaysia expects to resume sale of the improved Galaxy Note7 models in October 2016.

 

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