So the horror story finally ended when Samsung decided to discontinue and recall all its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone for good! Pitched in to be a competitor for the new iPhone 7, as it usually it, calling the phone a horrendous disappointment would be an understatement. From getting banned on flights, to causing fires even after the replacement; Note 7 was just not made to be. But the question comes, why did this happen in the first place? How did a company of Samsung’s stature and repute let this happen? We have a couple of theories on this:
New manufacturing issues
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which helped Samsung with the US recall, tried to articulate the reasons behind the exploding batteries. They said on September 15th that batteries used made by Samsung SDI were inherently faulty. After an investigation, the batteries were found to be too large for the space allotted in the phone, which led to crimping in the corner and eventually short circuiting, overheating and in extreme cases causing a fire.
The images below show SDI battery packs with isolation plates placed too close to the edge.
But after Samsung replaced the Samsung SDI batteries after the recall, it used China’s Amperex Technology. But since it wasn’t destined to be a success, Bloomberg reports that even these new had a manufacturing problem, albeit different ones from the earlier battery.
Everyone wants their phones to be working extra time while taking minimum time to recharge. And in a bid to make Galaxy Note 7 charge at super speeds, Samsung tried to make some tweaks to the processor to speed up charging. This backfired and led to overheating of the phone.
The basic theory is that if you try to charge the battery too quickly, it makes it more volatile. And when this happens, even a tiniest of sparks can make it go boom.
That beautiful design
Squeezing all those super powerful and ultra fast features into the ever so slim bodies had to backfire some day. While the phrase “slimmer is better” has been the norm when it comes to smartphones, it might be this very thing that may have exerted extra pressure on battery packs, causing the short circuit leading to the explosions.
The ever so condensed designs leave little or no space for proper heat ventilation and dissipation. Add the ever so demanding tasks such as 3D games, live streaming, multitasking, 4K video recording, etc. and you have got yourself a ticking time bomb in case anything goes wrong.
Water resistance feature is also known to potentially complicate matters. Water resistivity is measured by different Ingress Protection ratings (IP), which determines the endurance of a phone after being submerged. The more the IP rating, more they’re sensitive to pressure making their high-density batteries more prone to explosion.
Have you got any other theories on the reasons behind the curious case of exploding Note 7s? Comment below!