Samsung Galaxy Note 7 problems far from over; a 'safe' replaced device explodes on a US flight

Samsung is just not able to live down the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Replacement devices have only just started reaching customer’s hands and it looks like they’ve already started blowing up.

Samsung is just not able to live down the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Replacement devices have only just started reaching customer’s hands and it looks like they’ve already started blowing up.

Brain Green got his Note 7 replaced on 21 September at an AT&T store. The phone’s box had the black square that marks a replacement, safe, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device and Green also claims that his device showed the green battery icon that is also meant to be an indicator of a safe device.

At the request of flight attendants, Green turned off the device and put it in his pocket when it began to smoke. Green dropped the phone to the floor of the aircraft and flight attendants immediately evacuated the plane.

Brian Green burnt Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Tech2 720

Green's burnt Galaxy Note 7

The Verge and Reuters independently confirmed the story. The Verge also got their hands on images which confirm the presence of the black mark on the packaging. They also verified the phone’s IMEI number with Samsung’s eligibility tracker to confirm that the device was among the ‘safe’ Note 7s.

Samsung’s official response is, “Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note 7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sent an email to TechnoBuffalo, where they stated that they were expediting the investigation and that they are in touch with the FAA and Samsung. CPSC chairman Elliott F. Kaye also requested that Galaxy Note 7 owners power down their devices and take advantage of the “remedies offered by Samsung,” which includes getting a full refund.

Image: Hui Renjie

Image: Hui Renjie

As far as we’re aware, this is at least the fifth ‘safe’ Note 7 device that’s caught fire. Four of those devices burnt up in China and Samsung rubbished two of those claims saying that “external heat sources” were involved. The most recent incident in China involved a phone blowing up and damaging a MacBook Pro. The owner of that device refused to hand it over to Samsung, alleging that they would “hush it up.”

What’s a ‘safe’ Note 7?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s batteries are provided by at least two different manufacturers, one in Korea and the other in China. The primary battery supplier for Samsung was Samsung SDI, an affiliate company. The Chinese manufacturer is ATL.

All devices sold in China use ATL batteries and those sold elsewhere used SDI batteries. When reports of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s exploding popped up, forcing Samsung to issue a recall, it came to light that only those phones with SDI batteries were affected. Further investigation revealed a manufacturing defect in SDI batteries. This defect would cause the battery to short in certain conditions, resulting in a violent, explosive reaction.

Samsung SDI has since been barred from supplying smartphone batteries for the company.

Samsung issued a recall of all Note 7 phones with SDI batteries and issued replacements with ATL batteries.  Samsung also stated that the packaging of all replacement units would be marked with a black box and that the battery status indicators on replacement phones would be green, as opposed to white on the regular Note 7 devices.

As mentioned earlier, the packaging for Green’s phone came with a black mark, his phone had a green battery status indicator and its IMEI number suggests that it’s ‘safe.’

Users can also check their Note 7’s IMEI code at this site to verify that they have a ‘safe’ phone. So far, at least 36 phones with SDI batteries have caught fire and/or injured people and caused property damage.

This latest case could be the harbinger of doom for the Note brand as well as a serious blow to Samsung’s reputation. As one intrepid internet user points out, he’d rather stand in line at an Apple Store than at a hospital.

This news comes on the heels of a Samsung announcement that states that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will go on sale in India on 28 October, two days before Diwali.

If even the replacement phones are affected by battery issues and you’re still thinking of ordering a Note 7, you might not need to bother with fireworks this Diwali.

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