Report: Samsung puts blame on battery size, suppliers for Galaxy Note7 fires

Report: Samsung puts blame on battery size, suppliers for Galaxy Note7 fires

Samsung is due to finally announce the results of its investigation into the exploding Galaxy Note7s, but a report by The Wall Street Journal has some information about what the company has discovered. According to the publication’s sources, Samsung has concluded that “irregularly sized” batteries are primarily to blame for the debacle, which resulted in a massive global recall.

The report says that the faulty batteries were made by affiliate Samsung SDI and Hong Kong-based Amperex Technology Ltd., the only two firms to supply Note7 batteries. Both manufacturers produced flawed batteries, the company reportedly found, with the first round of fires caused by Samsung SDI batteries. “The issue with the batteries from Samsung SDI was an irregularly sized battery that didn’t fit properly in the phone, according to the people, who said that the incongruence caused the overheating.”

note 7 jeep explosion Fox 13

The aftermath of a Jeep that was completely engulfed in flames from what was likely a Note 7 catching fire.

However, while Samsung originally believed the issue was confined to batteries produced by Samsung SDI, the move to quickly replace phones after the first round of fires caused issues with the other supplier as well, according to the WSJ: “In the Galaxy Note 7 phones carrying batteries made by ATL, the flaw centers on a manufacturing issue resulting from the quick ramp-up in production of replacement phones, these people said.”

Previous independent investigations surrounding the Note7 concluded that the Note7s extreme thinness contributed to the battery issues, compressing the battery to the point where the “critical polymer separator layers that keep the battery safe” were compromised. Samsung will presumably address these claims when it releases its findings at a press conference in South Korea Monday at 10 a.m. (Sunday at 8 p.m. EST).

In October, Samsung decided to officially cease production of Galaxy Note7 phones and issued a global recall to limit any further damage from the handsets. After a round of carrier updates designed to stop the devices from charging, Samsung announced that some 96 percent of all phones have been safely returned. Furthermore, the FAA lifted its requirement for airlines to announce the ban to passengers before takeoff, though the device is still prohibited on flights.

Now that Samsung knows the cause of the overheating, it will also reportedly address its plans to ensure it doesn’t happen again. According to the Journal, Samsung “has created an eight-step process that includes more testing, inspections and manufacturing-quality assurances, among other measures.” The first phone to utilize the new method will presumably be the Galaxy S8, which is likely due to arrive in the spring.

The impact on you at home: Whether you were part of the Note7 recall or not, your phone contains a battery, and it’s scary to think how dangerous it can be. Samsung’s findings here are obviously important for its customers’ peace of mind, but they’re equally important to the industry as a whole. This issue may have been limited to Note7 handsets, but manufacturers deliver hundreds of millions of batteries a year for phones large and small, and anything that Samsung learned here will also help reduce possible issues with other handsets in the future.

IDG Insider

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