The Exploding Note 7: Samsung Finally Explains What Went Wrong

In an industry where innovation is practically mandatory with new designs, operating systems and applications being churned out frequently, the exploding note 7 must have been a nightmare for Samsung and fans of Samsung.

The exploding Note 7 which was initially touted as a dream phone, the best from Samsung, soon proved to be an unparalleled disaster. September last year saw Samsung issuing an initial recall of 2.5 million devices after several phones experienced overheating issues.

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At the time, the recall of the exploding Note 7 had been an embarrassment that seemed to have a simple solution; the company had, apparently, got batteries from two sources and one of those sources (the one made by Samsung’s own component division) was deemed faulty. Note 7 owners simply had to turn in the phones from the one faulty source and get a new phone powered by a safe battery as a replacement.

The safe battery was also supposed to be rather easy to identify; the battery meter for the safer battery was green instead of white. Unfortunately, however, the replacement phones started overheating and catching fire. So in October, Samsung was forced to expand its recall and quit producing the Note 7 altogether.

Exploding Note 7

What followed was months of silence from the company which has finally been broken as Samsung disclosed its lengthy findings as to what caused the exploding Note 7 fiasco.

Their explanation was based off their own investigation and independent scientific analysis of the issues by three consulting bodies. Accordingly, Samsung revealed that the overheating was caused by separate problems in batteries sourced from two different suppliers.

The company said that for the batteries sourced from Samsung SDI, there was not enough room between the heat-sealed protective pouch around the battery and its internals. The phone had been so slim that stress was placed on the upper right corner of each battery. So electrodes inside each battery could crimp and come into contact, leading to thermal runaway and short circuiting.

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For the other battery source, Amperex Technology Limited, some cells were missing insulation tape, and some batteries had sharp protrusions inside the cell that led to damage to the separator between the anode and cathode. They also revealed that the batteries had thin separators in general, which increased the risks of separator damage and short circuiting.

Exploding Note 7

Samsung offered this explanation at a press event in South Korea Sunday and also announced that it has overhauled its safety testing process as a result of the investigations. Samsung mobile communications chief D.J. Koh said at the completion of the event that;

“We are taking responsibility for our failure to identify the issues arising out of the battery design and manufacturing process prior to the launch of the Note 7.”

As the world awaits Samsung’s next flagship phone, it is probably good to hear that the company has identified their mistakes and is not planning to repeat them.