Months Later, Samsung Explains Why the Galaxy Note 7 Caught Fire

Article by George Norman (Cybersecurity Editor)

on 23 Jan 2017

After months of comprehensive investigations that involved 700 engineers and data gathered from testing 200,000 phones and 30,000 Note 7 batteries, Samsung held a press conference in Seoul and explained why the Galaxy Note 7 caught fire.

"For the last several months, together with independent industry expert organizations, we conducted thorough investigation to find cause to the Galaxy Note7 incidents," said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. "Today, more than ever, we are committed to earning the trust of our customers through innovation that redefines what is possible in safety, and as a gateway to unlimited possibilities and incredible new experiences."

As we already knew, the problem lies with the device’s battery. Turns out that there were two main problems with the Note 7’s battery.

The main problem with the battery from the first recall (battery A in the infographic and video below) is that the negative electrode was deflected in the upper-right corner of the battery. On top of that, there was an additional contributing factor where the tip of the negative electrode was incorrectly located within the planar area.

The main problem with the battery from the second recall (battery B in the infographic and video below) is that high welding burr on the positive electrode resulted in the penetration of the insulation tape and separator which then caused direct contact between the positive tab and the negative electrode. On top of that, there was an additional contributing factor where some batteries had no insulation tape.

Via Samsung Newsroom

Making sure this won’t happen again

The Galaxy Note 7 catching fire was one very big fail (the biggest tech fail of 2016 in my opinion).

To make sure something like this doesn’t happen again, Samsung has:
  • Developed strict quality assurance protocols across its entire development process in an effort to renew its commitment to safety.
  • Improved the safety standards of its batteries, from hardware design to software protection.
  • Formed a battery advisory group made up of academic and research experts to ensure the company maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation.
  • Developed an extensive 8-point battery check protocol that addresses safety from the component level to the assembly and shipment of devices.

In related news...

The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will finally get upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat. Samsung announced that it began to roll out Nougat for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge on January 17. Within the first half of 2017, Android 7.0 Nougat will be rolled out to additional countries and devices: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and S6 edge Plus, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, Galaxy Tab S2 (LTE unlock), Galaxy A3, and Galaxy A8.

For the past few years, Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy S-series flagships at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. This won’t be the case with the upcoming Galaxy S8. Samsung confirmed that it won’t unveil the Galaxy S8 at MWC 2017. Rumor on the web has it that Samsung will hold a standalone launch event for the Galaxy S8 sometime in April.

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