Exploding battery fiasco: Tips on how to prevent your battery from catching fire

A battery typically from what we’ve seen can catch fire or explode due to one of two things: either a manufacturing defect or a customer’s poor treatment of the device.

Written by Tanmay Patange | Updated: May 29, 2018 11:46:26 am

Smartphone batteries have started exploding once again. Recently, Xiaomi’s popular budget Redmi Note 4 smartphone allegedly exploded while in the owner’s pocket in Andhra Pradesh. Although Xiaomi confirmed the incident and said, it is investigating the matter, what caused the explosion remains a mystery. A battery typically from what we’ve seen can catch fire or explode due to one of two things: either a manufacturing defect (as in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7) or a customer’s poor treatment of the device. If it’s a manufacturing defect, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it from blowing up, but there are some ways you can ensure your usage of the device isn’t contributing to its fiery death.

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Here are few general tips to ensure your safety and prevent such incidents from happening to yourself.

1) Choose the right charger
More often than not, we are habitual to using any charger we find to charge or power our devices. It shouldn’t be the case because all chargers carry different voltage and amperage levels, and plugging in the wrong charger may overload the charging circuit, resulting in a compromised battery. So, it is strongly recommended to use the default charger that companies provide within the box. If you do need to buy a replacement charger, we recommend buying one with the same or similar voltage and current output as the original. Additionally, do not cheap out on cables.

2) Don’t keep your phone under pillow
It is usually advised by smartphone manufacturers that the device shouldn’t be covered by bedding or other thick materials such as pillows. Since devices do tend to heat up while charging typically, the additional thick covers could cause an excessive buildup of heat, leading to battery damage. While charging, store your phone in a cool, dry place, just like your medicines.

3) Avoid charging phones near water
Avoid charging your mobile near water as it also involves a great risk of physical injury. Earlier this year, a 32-year old man died of severe burns on his chest, arm and hand in Ealing, West London because he was charging his iPhone while in the bathtub, with the phone on his chest. We cannot stress enough on keeping water away from electricity, and even though many smartphones are now water/dust resistant, this in no way means that they can be charged safely while in wet conditions. Avoid charging your phone around wetness at all costs.

4) Don’t drop your mobile too often
If you keep on dropping your mobile too often, it may result in a break in the battery separator positioned between the anode and cathode. It would result in a thermal runaway, meaning, your battery’s temperature will rise to dangerous levels, resulting in a fire.

The safety of your battery-operated electronic devices and yourself is of paramount importance, and while the manufacturers do take a lot of care to ensure their devices meet the safety standards, our safety is eventually in our own hands. Once the device is in a user’s hands, the device could become susceptible to multiple points of failure, and we hope these tips will help you prevent some of the most common and important ones from happening to you.

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