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Behind the battery faults blamed for Samsung’s Note7 debacle

Behind the battery faults blamed for Samsung’s Note7 debacle

In-depth investigation reveals what caused the flagship device's explosive demise

(Samsung Electronics)

(Samsung Electronics)

Samsung has revealed that irregularities in the manufacturing of not one, but two of the batteries it sourced for the troubled Galaxy Note7 flagship smartphone were behind the device’s explosive and short-lived foray into the global market.

“Based on a detailed analysis of the affected batteries, both Battery A from the first recall and Battery B from the second recall, we identified separate factors that originated in and were specific to the two different batteries,” the company said.

“Our findings concluded that the Note7 device failures were due to two factors that originated in and were specific to the two different batteries. In the first instance, there was an electrode deflection in the upper-right corner of the battery.

“In the second occurrence, an abnormal weld spot led to an internal short circuit,” it said.

The findings come after a four-month investigation by Samsung, as well as concurrent investigations by three other industry organisations into the company’s issues with the Note7, which saw some of the devices spontaneously explode or catch fire.

“Our investigation, as well as the investigations completed by three independent industry organisations, concluded that the batteries were found to be the cause of the Note7 incidents,” the company said.

“Nonetheless, we provided the target for the battery specifications for the innovative Note7, and we are taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of battery design and manufacturing process prior to the launch of the Note7,” it said.

The findings were revealed on January 23 by Samsung Electronics president of mobile communications business, DJ Koh. He was joined by three third-party organisations, UL, Exponent, and TUV Rheinland, all of which also investigated the battery faults.

The investigation examined every aspect of the Galaxy Note7, according to Samsung, including hardware and software, and related processes, such as assembly, quality assurance testing, and logistics.

“Through a large-scale testing facility where approximately 700 Samsung researchers and engineers replicated the incidents by testing more than 200,000 fully-assembled devices and more than 30,000 batteries, Samsung finally concluded the cause of the issues,” the company said.

“We have taken several corrective actions to ensure this never happens again, including the implementation of a multi-layer safety measures protocol at the product planning stage, and an 8-Point Battery Safety Check.

“We look forward to moving ahead with a renewed commitment to safety. The lessons of the past several months are now deeply reflected in our processes and in our culture,” it said.

Samsung’s investigation findings come just days after reports emerged that “irregularly sized” batteries were primarily to blame for the Note7 debacle.

The Galaxy Note7 issues saw the company recall millions of units worldwide, permanently discontinuing production of the device, and issue a software update aimed at bricking the phone, rendering the remaining Note7 units unusable.


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