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Japan Demands Probe of iPod Nano Flameouts 339

Posted by kdawson
from the hot-pockets dept.
iminplaya sends in an item from TechNewsWorld that begins, "Several incidents of iPod Nanos bursting into flames have created consumer jitters in gadget-happy Japan. Apple is downplaying the problem, pointing out that no major injuries or damage have been reported. The problem is due to defective batteries, the company said, and only a tiny percentage of the devices have caught on fire." Japan has seen 14 such incidents so far, two in recent days. iminplaya adds, "I like that. Only a 'tiny percentage'... Is anybody beginning to understand why I would prefer that these devices not be allowed on airplanes?"
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Japan Demands Probe of iPod Nano Flameouts

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  • by XnavxeMiyyep (782119) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:44PM (#24668393)
    I'm sorry your honor, I only punched fourteen people in the face after taking their money. That's such a tiny percentage of the population.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

      I'm sorry your honor, I only punched fourteen people in the face after taking their money. That's such a tiny percentage of the people I took money from.

      There, fixed it for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      I'm sorry your honor, I only punched fourteen people in the face after taking their money. That's such a tiny percentage of the population.

      Yeah, that percentage is even smaller considering the fact that most people don't even glue their nanos to their face. Now if they could just get their R&D Department to find a way to make their nano ear buds spontaneously burst into flames, now that would certainly be something.

    • by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:34AM (#24669123) Journal
      Only a tiny percentage of planes burst into flames, too.
    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @01:26AM (#24669427)

      A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Entirely false. Vehicles are always recalled if there is a recurring problem. It's not just lawsuits, it's reputation at stake.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Scudsucker (17617)

          Like when Ford and Firestone sat on the problem of tires blowing out on Explorers while people were being paralyzed or dying, and even after the lawsuits started coming in?

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:45PM (#24668397) Homepage Journal

    Only a tiny percentage of people have ever burst into flames. We shouldn't let them on airplanes either.

  • by lindseyp (988332) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:45PM (#24668403)
    Because you have a poor grasp of the concept of probability?
    • by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:53PM (#24668469)

      At 0.001% of Nanos affected, it's probably more likely that your plane's engine bursts into flame than a Nano brought onto the flight.

      • by x2A (858210)

        What % of people who fly on planes intent on hijacking them to fly them into buildings? Can't be that high, but airports/etc still try stopping would be hijackers from being able to board planes tho. If something's not essential, even if the chances are low of things going wrong, the risk (potential mass loss of life) usually dictates that the chance is just not worth taking. However, I did figure this was only a risk while the device was charging, in which case they'd be safe on planes, but that's just a g

        • by x2A (858210)

          (excuse me answering my own question - I read some more of the article hehe)

          "I am curious as to the mechanism by which they spontaneously combust"

          Article says "Their batteries were short-circuiting and bursting into flame when microscopic metal particles came into contact with other parts"... so there we have it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by pcolaman (1208838)

            (excuse me answering my own question - I read some more of the article hehe)

            "I am curious as to the mechanism by which they spontaneously combust"

            Article says "Their batteries were short-circuiting and bursting into flame when microscopic metal particles came into contact with other parts"... so there we have it.

            That's what they want you to think. The reality of the matter is that the reality distortion field, colliding with the common sense field, caused a tachyon burst that, coupled with remodulation, opened up a micro wormhole that resulted in the explosion. Oh wait, this isn't the writers meeting for the proposed new Star Trek series? Sorry, moving along.

            • by x2A (858210)

              "the reality distortion field, colliding with the common sense field, caused a tachyon burst that, coupled with remodulation, opened up a micro wormhole that resulted in the explosion"

              Err, no, it does all of that during normal operation, never causes explosions though.

              Oh except the common sense field bit, there's obviously no such thing as that, if there was, common sense would increase when you put more people together... or is there just one field, and people put a drain on it, so that explains why the mo

        • by vux984 (928602)

          What % of people who fly on planes intent on hijacking them to fly them into buildings? Can't be that high, but airports/etc still try stopping would be hijackers from being able to board planes tho.

          More because many many more people are reactionary idiots than critical thinkers.

          If something's not essential, even if the chances are low of things going wrong, the risk (potential mass loss of life) usually dictates that the chance is just not worth taking.

          People are essentially irrational. They fear unlikely

        • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @01:01AM (#24669273) Journal

          If something's not essential, even if the chances are low of things going wrong, the risk (potential mass loss of life) usually dictates that the chance is just not worth taking.

          Depends how low.

          I would actually file this under the pseudo-Ben-Franklin-quote: "Those who would trade essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither."

          Ok, it's overkill -- iPods on planes is not essential liberty. But my point is, absolutely everything is a risk, and trying to cover every risk misses the point. For example:

          Now what airplanes could do with is lil USB ports to plug memory sticks in with lil headphone jacks so you can copy a bunch of mp3s to listen to during the flight if there really is demand for it.

          So now we'll find that there's both faulty and terrorist-created memory stick which burst into flames -- or which launch a virus which somehow makes its way into the navigation system, flying you into a building.

          If you're paranoid enough, everything's a risk. Since everything's a risk, the only way you know which risks you should care about is by calculating them -- what's an acceptable loss, which is the greater of two risks (and thus deserves more attention), and so on.

          By the way: You can't say "acceptable loss is 0", because then the math won't work. What you can do is start at, say, 99% probability of safety, and keep adding nines until you're happy -- realizing that each nine is going to cost you a fuckton of money and convenience, while providing no visible benefit -- after all, people don't notice when things work, they notice when they break.

          Again: If it's more likely that your plane's engine bursts into flame, knowing how much rigor they put into making sure that doesn't ever happen, I think you're pretty safe from your nano. If those odds scare you, you probably shouldn't be flying in the first place -- or going outside.

          Also, considering that there have been no major injuries or damage... How much of a risk is this, even if it did go off? How big of an "explosion"?

        • by mgblst (80109)

          This probably has more to do with the money generated from flights, more than the safety of passengers. There is a huge industry built up on getting people flying as much as possible, and if people don't feel safe doing this, then this industry loses out big time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sj0 (472011)

          Opposition to terrorism is mostly for show. Most of this post-9/11 crap is.

          Gee, the department of homeland security, eh? Tell me, would their job be DEFENDING people in our country? Maybe we should have a department of defense instead?

          Oh wait! We've got one of those, but all it's interested in is bombing the middle east!

      • At 0.001% of Nanos affected, it's probably more likely that your plane's engine bursts into flame than a Nano brought onto the flight.

        Unless you're talking about Apple's new "iPlane" product...

      • At 0.001% of Nanos affected, it's probably more likely that your plane's engine bursts into flame than a Nano brought onto the flight.

        The odds of TWO affected Nanos drop well below even that. Decrease the odds, bring your own affected iPod Nano!!

      • by BOFHelsinki (709551) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @04:45AM (#24670467)
        True, but still, if there's a Nano that bursts into flames you'd hope there's a Zune nearby to squirt at it.
    • by Vectronic (1221470) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:22PM (#24668683)

      It would only be a nano-fire anyways...

      Besides, of the nearly 0% (0.001% according to BlueG3) of Nanos, of the far less percentage on airplanes at any given moment...

      Say one catches fire, what the hell are the odds of anything but "Shit, Not My Nano!" and a puff of smoke happening? Anyone holding/directly attached to one would notice really quick, and its not exactly a bonfire, dropping it would probably put it out, any in luggage, would probably just smolder a bit, but do nothing but wreck a shirt or two... hell, even in optimal conditions, I don't think anything of significance would happen, unless you happen to transport your nano wrapped in a bag of gasoline or something, and even then isn't the luggage compartments at atmosphere (ie: not pressurized like the cabin?)...etc...

      How many planes caught fire and crashed when smoking was still legal on planes? (still is on some airlines)... probably zero, and thats an open flame and/or ember... im sure a few seats, or maybe a curtain has caught fire from that... ive never heard of a crash or anyone dying from it though [Citation Please?] If it exists.

      • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:56PM (#24668899) Homepage

        How many planes caught fire and crashed when smoking was still legal on planes?

        I can mention at least one: Varig flight 820. [wikipedia.org]

        • Thanks, although its only a "possible" (albeit very plausible) cause.

          I'm a bit suprised there isnt more stories, "Man gets frustrated, burns seat infront of him" etc, or "Bond wannabe catches his martini on fire"... "Man hijacks airliner with lit cigarette, pilot has seizure recalling childhood torture, 87 killed"

        • by mdielmann (514750)

          I went through Wikipedia and there were only 2 references (in the in-flight fires category) to aircraft crashes due to smoking. In fact, from what I read in there, it's much more likely for a cargo fire to get out of control and cause the plane to crash.
          There were two other notable in-flight fires: the one set by the flight personnel who didn't want to be on that flight, and the Chinese guy who set the passenger area on fire with some gasoline he brought on. The second one is full of WTF material in just

      • by x2A (858210)

        "dropping it would probably put it out" ... "How many planes caught fire and crashed when smoking was still legal"

        I dunno, it's from the batteries getting very hot, so it's not caused by something being ignited, it's a hot high energy chemical fire, so it's not like dropping a lit cigarette which you can stamp out, is more like dropping a bunch of sparklers that would just burn through the rubber on the bottom of your shoes. And it could be in ya pocket, so option for just letting go and dropping it mightn'

        • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:52AM (#24669217) Homepage

          But considering how easy a risk it is to mitigate, it does seem silly not to.

          No no no no no.

          You could get a paper cut tomorrow from a newspaper in a subway station, and it could get infected, and you could die of gangrene! Easy to fix: ban newspapers in subway stations!

          What about that keyboard you're using? Did you know there are springs in keyboards? Did you know that a spring could pop out and go directly into your eye? We'd better ban springs in keyboards, it's easy enough to make horrible springless ones.

          The proper way to tell what should be fixed is not how easy it is to mitigate. It's how expensive it is to mitigate versus the value of doing so. And note that neither of those are measured in dollars - they're measured in a much more abstract concept, "worth".

          Weigh the chance and danger of an iPod bursting into flame on a plane (extremely low, and extremely low, multiplied together) versus the compounded irritation of every traveler in America being unable to bring the most popular music player on the planet with them on a plane (extremely high, times a huge number.) Sure, it would be easy to fix . . . but it's just not worth it.

        • by Asic Eng (193332)
          If you really want to mitigate the risks of air travel, then don't fly. I'm serious. Consider why you fly: isn't that mostly for convenience or for entertainment? Yet the risk of the activity is not zero, as with most activities which we engage in for entertainment. You could slip and break your neck while dancing, get bitten by a snake while hiking, get run over by a car while walking to a restaurant round the corner. We don't give up on fun activities just because there is some minute risk, there is no re
      • by DeadChobi (740395) <<DeadChobi> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:20AM (#24669037)
        I'd imagine that a nano battery explosion would be pretty similar to this video [youtube.com], but on a much smaller scale. So a lot of smoke, and possibly even a violent explosion or two. It might even be enough to catch any number of plastic parts in the iPod on fire.

        It's certainly going to be a lot more violent than an ember from a cigarrette.

    • I like that. Only a 'tiny percentage'... Is anybody beginning to understand why I would prefer that these devices not be allowed on airplanes?

      Which ones? Paper airplanes? Tiny airplanes? Nano airplanes?

      If we have an airplane that can easily catch fire because of a tiny little battery that's on fire inside a tiny little nano player, then perhaps we need to start rethinking our entire aeronautic industry. If a nano can take a plane down, then may be next time it will be a mosquito. And if god forbid we're lu

  • by unfasten (1335957) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:46PM (#24668417)

    Apple is downplaying the problem, pointing out that no major injuries or damage have been reported.

    Considering Apple's stance on mouse buttons they'd probably consider losing your right hand a "minor" injury.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:47PM (#24668429) Homepage Journal

    Japan has seen 14 such incidents so far, two in recent days. iminplaya adds, "I like that. Only a 'tiny percentage'... Is anybody beginning to understand why I would prefer that these devices not be allowed on airplanes?"

    Yes, now I understand that you can be easily frightened into irrationally giving up reasonably safe conveniences just so long as someone says "airplane" near you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by x2A (858210)

      You don't have to be frightened to agree. If it's batteries from the first gen nanos sold between sept 05 and dec 06, then any nanos using the same batteries also have a chance of going up as they've come from the same place, many/most likely to have been made using same materials in same quantities, same equipment, and gone through the same QA. Maybe yours hasn't yet due to different usage patterns, maybe they were just a lot unluckier. Seems silly to push ya luck just to listen to some tunes for a few hou

      • But a nano has a substantially smaller battery than say, a laptop, several of which have been known to burst into flames as well. Sure, you can say that a laptop is a necessity for the traveler, but it really isn't if you have a problem with putting others at risk. I don't think a nano is unreasonable.

        Either you ban all li-ion batteries, or you ban none, or you use a reasonable metric, like lithium equivalence to determine what is permissible. I feel that all li-ion batteries have a small risk of bur
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by x2A (858210)

          "or you use a reasonable metric"

          Such as a list of high risk models to be excluded, you could request battery disconnection and provide a usb port that can power it instead for example.

          "I feel that all li-ion batteries have a small risk of bursting into flames"

          Yeah, but where there is known to be a higher chance of defects in certain batches, it seems silly to ignore that knowledge. I'm sure solutions could be found to leave people on both side of the argument happy with a little bit of thought.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:50PM (#24668449)

    Between their replacement of true color displays with crappy TN models which push their own calibration tools off the charts, their terrible all around macbook quality (mine's 1.5 years old and literally falling to pieces, including the graphics unit), and now these exploding batteries (again!, even dUll didn't pull the same mistake twice!), I say the days of apple as a quality brand are over.

    Anyone have suggestions on where to buy quality hardware i can load osx86 on?

    • by sl3xd (111641) * on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:01PM (#24668545) Journal

      You're aware that Apple's "Pro" line is the one that's rated for unusually high quality, right? Not the consumer grade iMac or MacBooks...

      • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:31PM (#24668753)

        You're aware that Apple's "Pro" line is the one that's rated for unusually high quality, right? Not the consumer grade iMac or MacBooks...

        I'm also aware my friend is now on his third macbook pro in 2 years, and he has to ice-pack it all the time because it overheats.

        He's been a user since system 6, and we're both unimpressed.

        • by x2A (858210) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:33AM (#24669117)

          I have to say I was pretty shocked looking at my friends macbook pro as it was getting incredibly hot, with only a tiny amount of ventilation at the back and a single solid piece of metal covering the bottom. Her system fan was getting very noisy with no easy way to clean it. I could've taken off the whole of the bottom casing, and would've if it was my laptop (leaving aside that if it was mine, it wouldn't be a mac), but it was still under warrenty and she was concerned that doing so could complicate that - better just to take it to an apple shop and let them deal with it. Incidentally this added to the whole pc-vs-mac debate, as whenever a pc of hers has had any kind of trouble, she has been able to sort it herself, but I won't get too much into that as I know many people on here are quite passionate about the whole macs-vs-pcs. So leaving all that aside, all I'm saying is it could at least have some vents on the underside :-p

    • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:32PM (#24668759) Journal

      Anyone have suggestions on where to buy quality hardware i can load osx86 on?

      I'd recommend Apple because (despite your cherry-picked examples) they make high quality, reliable hardware which meets the performance and durability needs of most of their customers.
       

      Between their replacement of true color displays with crappy TN models which push their own calibration tools off the charts, their terrible all around macbook quality (mine's 1.5 years old and literally falling to pieces, including the graphics unit), and now these exploding batteries (again!, even dUll didn't pull the same mistake twice!), I say the days of apple as a quality brand are over.

      1. All consumer laptops currently on the market use TN displays. All of 'em. There were a couple Thinkpads that shipped with IPS displays a while back, but they were pulled due to supply problems (low yield.) Some of the first-run MacBooks had faulty displays (which really did suck quite badly.) That problem was fixed c. the switch to Core 2 chips, and Apple even replaced some of the affected screens on their own dime.
      2. First-rev MacBooks sucked in a lot of ways, no doubt about it. But that was _two years_ ago. Build quality now is quite good (if it weren't you can bet people would stop buying them.) There is a manufacturing defect that's caused some of them to develop stress cracks. Apple's responded to this by replacing the affected parts for free.
      3. It is incredibly unlikely that your graphics chip is falling apart. It's soldered to the logic board.
      4. I don't recall reading anything about exploding iPod nano batteries before. By 2007, there were over 100 million iPods sold. Assuming that only 5% of those were nanos, that that we're looking at a 15 / 5 million rate for this sort of failure. Maybe I'm a fanboy, but 15 exploding Li-ion batters out of 5 million doesn't really sound like the "end of a brand."

      Apple gets a hell of a lot of flack courtesy of their fanatical following of fanboys and fanatical following of trolls. The former crows everytime Apple does anything. The latter throw their hands in the air and cry that the sky is falling whenever any issue is reported, no matter how small.

      Frankly, the rest of the internet wishes you'd both shut the hell up.

      I've had Dell laptops separate at their hinges. I've had Sony displays with horrible color balance and atrocious response times. I had an IBM workstation that went through three power supplies in a year. Over the nearly two decades that I've been using computers, I have seen hardware from pretty much every manufacturer fail. Somehow, despite that, I don't feel the need to seek out a BBS, newsgroup, or website and bemoan that a few isolated incidents spell the end of "_____ as a quality brand."

      • It is incredibly unlikely that your graphics chip is falling apart. It's soldered to the logic board.

        since 3 weeks ago, my macbook has continuously thought there was a second monitor (the tv adapter) attached to the mini-dvi.

        I powered it down, removed the battery, and let it sit for several days waiting for any and all latent electricity to discharge, restarted it, it's still that way.

        The thing sits behind a surge protector and an ac adapater with a fuse which would blow in the event of a power surge..
        Actually plugging in the device results in diagonal black bars separated by blue static. A fine stand-alon

        • Should have bought Applecare. It's well worth the money.
          • not when you're 5 figures in the hole and about to leave school into the most horrid job market since wed, oct 30th, 1929

        • by x2A (858210)

          "and let it sit for several days waiting for any and all latent electricity to discharge"

          On most systems you can speed this process up to a few seconds. Disconnect anything that could be giving the system charge (power, batteries, cables to powered devices - yes small current from a powered monitor can effect this, speaking from personal experience). Then, with everything unplugged, try turning the system on a few times. Hold the power button in. The system will usually try to switch itself on, drawing any

      • Some of the first-run MacBooks had faulty displays ... and Apple even replaced some of the affected screens on their own dime.

        You'll forgive me if I don't fall over myself at the magnanimity of following consumer protection laws "some" of the time.

    • by kklein (900361)

      My 1.5 year MacBook still looks brand new, and I take it to work with me every day. It's my main work machine, in fact, and it's been all over the world with me, and is headed off to a conference in Germany the day after tomorrow...

      So um... YMMV?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by merreborn (853723)

      terrible all around macbook quality (mine's 1.5 years old and literally falling to pieces, including the graphics unit)

      Funny, I beat the *shit* out of my laptops, and my MacBook is no worse for wear after 18 months. The last two HPs I owned, however, only lasted 12 months each. I'd love to see what you would have done with them...

      How does a "graphics unit" "litterally fall to pieces" anyway?

  • by martinw89 (1229324) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:53PM (#24668471)
    OK, I know anecdotal evidence is easy to slip in to online conversations. But seriously, 14 devices over a 3 year percentage. From the article, that translates to 0.001 percent of all first generation Nanos (the ones afflicted with this problem). I think any reasonable person will definitely agree that's a tiny percentage. No reason to rip on Apple for saying it's a tiny percentage when it is; they have other problems that can legitimately be criticized.
    • by x2A (858210)

      "From the article, that translates to 0.001 percent of all first generation Nanos"

      Not quite... to be completely accurate, it's 14 out of all the first generation Nanos in Japan. Article says "There have been similar incidents in the United States" and I'd guess other countries if it's happening.

  • Airplane fire (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:01PM (#24668543)

    Yeah, the 'won't somebody think of the airplanes!' comment at the end isn't particularly rational. These are not big devices and the only way they will cause more than an inconvenience is if every one on the plane bursts into flame at the same time.

    That said, a large chemical fire like you could get from those big battery packs those desktop replacement laptops use would be a special kind of nightmare for any pilot. If they do ever ban lithium batteries and other related things on airplanes it will be very inconvenient but not necessarily stupid.

  • iminplaya adds, "I like that. Only a 'tiny percentage'... Is anybody beginning to understand why I would prefer that these devices not be allowed on airplanes?"

    Yeah, sure - and when powerbooks were going off like poprocks and Dells were self incinerating like no tomorrow, did we ban them fro maircraft? No. Why? Wiser heads prevailed. If we went with "iminplaya"'s idea, the next thing you know - "Hey gramps - no batteries on board." "But they power my pacemaker!!!" Obviously, since unterfuhrer Cheney has a

  • I really hate in when people overreact, regardless of why they're doing it. I have no idea what kind of sales numbers have been been recorded for the iPod Nano (I'm assuming this only refers to the most recent version of the device and not any of the earlier incarnations, but TFA is somewhat vague about matters.) in Japan so I can only guess. However, let's run some numbers for the sake of looking at things rationally.

    Only 140 iPod Nano devices have been sold in Japan. That would make a 10% failure rate, wh

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:21PM (#24668677)
    let's face it, Lithium-ion cells are unstable, intolerant of overcharging, and energy-dense enough to be a real problem when they fail. Combine that with poor quality-control and badly designed charge controllers, and you have a pocket-sized thermite bomb.
    • Lithium-ion cells are unstable, intolerant of overcharging...

      While I agree, I believe things are more problematic with non-standard format battery shapes than with ones shaped like "regular" batteries. I think it has to do with uneven heat distribution during charging within the irregular shapes.

    • I think we need better chemistry .. Lithium-ion cells are unstable, intolerant of overcharging, and energy-dense enough to be a real problem when they fail.

      NiMH is extremely stable, quite tolerant of overcharging (not ridiculous so like NiCD, but infinitely better than LiION), etc., while still ALMOST as energy-dense and ALMOST as quick-charging/discharging. They aren't, however, nearly as lightweight as LiION.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)

      Lithium-ion cells are unstable, intolerant of overcharging, and energy-dense enough to be a real problem when they fail.

      LiFePO4 is a possible answer. They're a little more expensive than Li-ion, and have slightly lower energy density, but they don't evolve gasses during charging, which makes them somewhat safer.

  • by occamboy (583175) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:22PM (#24668685)
    LiPo batteries (used in iPods and lots of other devices) are little roman candles when the go off: video here [youtube.com].

    Some LiPos are pretty sketchy - we've had a few in prototypes "pillow" (fill with gas), but no explosions yet. Definitely a no-no in medical devices, particularly implantables!
    • by ckthorp (1255134)
      Yah, but the battery in a Nano is a far cry from the 3S pack in the linked video. I'd wager that a Nano battery has way less than 10% of the capacity of the linked battery. I've set off some 230 mAh 1S packs and they barely had enough oomph to pop their bag. The Nano can charge in roughly an hour off a USB port, so it has to be roughly 500 mAh capacity. Not exactly a tricked out 4S4P RC plane battery pack, eh? LiPos are actually used in many medical devices, just not implantable devices. They are very
      • by compro01 (777531)

        They are very safe if you stick with quality cells and make sure to monitor case temperature, discharge rate, discharge voltage, charge rate, charge voltage, and discharge levels very carefully (EG to better than 1%).

        And how many of those considerations do you figure are observed with these devices?

        • by ckthorp (1255134)
          Actually, the Apple tends to be fairly conservative with their designs. There is almost assuredly a bog-standard over discharge (voltage and current) IC attached to the pack. That covers the over discharge scenarios. A standard LiPo buck charger IC these days is accurate to better than 1% and properly supplies the required constant-current transitioning to constant voltage profile that a LiPo requires. That covers the over charge scenarios. Apple tends to use standard grade or better components (skippin
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      Some LiPos are pretty sketchy - we've had a few in prototypes "pillow" (fill with gas), but no explosions yet. Definitely a no-no in medical devices, particularly implantables!

      Some LiPo batteries have a special pillow deflating mechanism called LiPoSuction.

  • How big could the fires really be?
  • Good for Japan! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:54PM (#24668891) Homepage
    Japan demands...something or other.

    And the batteries in these iPods? "Made In Japan". Glad to see they take their own QA so seriously.
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      So the Japanese Ministry of Economy has been manufacturing batteries? Or are they running the QA of Japenese battery manufacturers? Who but Apple should be held responsible if Apple is shipping defective products which cause harm to consumers?
  • If you try to play something on a nano that doesn't pass DRM checks ... a circuit opens and the battery is told to explode.

    "Stop illegally downloading music .. this message will self-destruct"

  • Lithium Batteries (Score:3, Informative)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Wednesday August 20, 2008 @12:29AM (#24669091)

    It sounds like poor-quality lithium batteries or possibly a defective charging circuit are to blame here.

    Lithium batteries have a very high energy density due to the use of highly reactive lithium in metallic and/or ion forms. Overcharging or too-rapid discharge can easily overheat them and result in a fire or even an explosion in extreme cases.

    If the quality control is not excellent, they can be incredibly dangerous.

  • The source has usually been the lithium battery powering the device.

    I am not sure if the Dell and Apple laptops had lithium batteries but it does appear that the industry is going to have to look at the flammability of batteries in laptops and MP3 players. Either better batteries or asbestos skivvies. Wait, trying to remember--there is something wrong with asbestos, too??

  • I just want an ipod that won't burst into flames and kill me.

    I'm craving a banana...

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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