Note 7 had battery problems
In the October 11th, 2016, Samsung decided to stop the sales of Note 7, because they were simply not safe. The affected devices “could overheat and represent a safety risk”. Samsung was looking for the cause as they start a recall. However, one month after the first recall, they had to start a second, final callback after initially presumed problem solving. Now, obviously, there is clarity: Today, Samsung presented the results of its investigations in a public press conference.
The problem is in the battery
Almost 700 experts have tested more than 200,000 smartphones and more than 30,000 batteries during the monthly cause research, said Samsung. The company takes responsibility for their “failure to recognize and validate the battery design and production process before the launch of Note 7,” said the head of the smartphone division, Koh Dong Jin, in Seoul.
Examination reveals blatant manufacturing errors
In the test report, Samsung summarizes the results, which come from three independent institutions (besides the TÜV Rheinland, Exponent and UL). Surprisingly, depending on the battery manufacturer, the Note 7 brand has quite different faults – some are battery-driven, others are about the production. At the same time, there are some frightening shortcomings. For example, the right upper corner was deformed in the case of examined batteries from the first recalled batch. Since the tip of the negative electrode was placed in the curved area of the battery housing in the battery design, it came here to short circuits. In the second batch (“manufacturer B”, possibly a third manufacturer from China), strongly protruding welds penetrated the insulation band and the separating layer between the positive and the negative electrode, resulting in a direct contact between the two electrodes. The positive discharge of the negative electrode resulted in the melting of the copper. Third fault: The insulation tape was completely missing for a number of batteries! In the charging or battery management itself independent experts could not detect any errors.
Samsung wants to make batteries safer
With several measures, Samsung wants to ensure that the Note7 debacle is not repeated. In the future, each battery will have to undergo the new 8-point battery security check. This includes five established and three new test methods. In addition, new multi-layer safety measures are already taking place during the product planning phase, consisting of three points: new safety standards for the materials used in battery design, battery protection with stabilizing clips around the edge of the battery and improved software for battery control. This monitors, for example, the charging current and the temperature and is to intervene early in case of error messages. As a third measure, Samsung has launched a new battery consultant group with external experts who will advise Samsung on the subject of battery safety and battery innovation. Samsung is hoping to improve the battery safety of the entire industry with its efforts and promises to share its findings with other companies.
Risk of explosion: dozens of well-known cases
What exactly happened? The early history of the Note 7 debacle is as following. In the Early September, the number of reports about the exploded or flared Note 7 units started to rise. Samsung followed the reports and confirmed the problems and said that they “conducted thorough investigations and found problems in the battery”. The director of the mobile phone division, Koh Dong Jin, apologized for the battery fires. Samsung confirmed 35 such claims by the end of September.
Swap Galaxy Note 7 for an iPhone 7 Plus
This should be a one-time process: Samsung offers its customers in the US a very special recall. If the users returned their Galaxy Note 7 phones, they could choose another device. The interesting thing was that Samsung agreed to swap affected Note 7s with the phones from other manufacturers. In other words, anyone who owned could get a brand new iPhone 7 or even iPhone 7 Plus for free, of course, thanks to the Samsung. And not only that, but in addition, Samsung payed extra $30 as a compensation.
Again, the callback of the Galaxy Note 7 was a big issue. It was strictly told that any customer should return their units in exchange for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and the price difference was reimbursed. Alternatively, they could get a full refund. The problem is that the reports indicate there are still some people who owns Note 7, and if you are one of those people, you should return your phone.