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FAA May Ban Galaxy Note 7 On Flights Due To Exploding Batteries (gizmodo.com) 63

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung has recalled roughly 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after it was discovered that at least 35 of the devices had spontaneously burst into flames due to faulty batteries. As a result, the FAA is deciding whether or not to ban the devices on planes. "The FAA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are working on guidance related to this issue," an FAA spokesperson told Gizmodo over email. "If the device is recalled by the manufacturer, airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage." Gizmodo reports: "If this sounds confusing, that's because it is. Samsung has already "recalled" the Galaxy Note 7, but the South Korean company hasn't actually recalled it the right way. The proper way to institute a recall is to get the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission involved from the beginning. Samsung didn't do that. And now, federal agencies like the FAA are left scrambling and days behind, trying to figure out what to do."
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FAA May Ban Galaxy Note 7 On Flights Due To Exploding Batteries

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  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @04:57PM (#52843705)

    As I understand it, the recall effot on the Note 7 has been for the cell service providers to tell their customers to return their phones to the store they bought them from, and then exchange it for a new Note 7 without the problem battery in it. How do they plan on telling ones that have undergone the recall (and thus are safe) from those that haven't, even months later when the recall is "over"?

    • the magical powers of a Bureaucrat in Action to Justify His Existence(TM) converts the phones and batteries to the desired state. Remember that FAA bureaucrat that replaced predecessor after 2012 elections but forgot to reinstate a ban, and the affected cell phones on all U.S. flights immediately burst into flames?

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      As I understand it, the recall effot on the Note 7 has been for the cell service providers to tell their customers to return their phones to the store they bought them from, and then exchange it for a new Note 7 without the problem battery in it. How do they plan on telling ones that have undergone the recall (and thus are safe) from those that haven't, even months later when the recall is "over"?

      The same way other recalls do it -- serial numbers that indicate which phones have the bad battery.

      • I've never had my computer, tablet, and phone serial numbers checked as I cleared security in an airport. Have you?

        Sure, serial numbers can solve the problem, but there is no practical way to deploy this ban into the field. If the FAA actually bans pre-recalled Note 7 devices, it means the the whole product line is stillborn: nobody will touch it.

        The re-released tablets will need to be called Note 8 or whatever. It will be just like Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge: re-branding just to get the stink off the na

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      As I understand it, the recall effot on the Note 7 has been for the cell service providers to tell their customers to return their phones to the store they bought them from, and then exchange it for a new Note 7 without the problem battery in it. How do they plan on telling ones that have undergone the recall (and thus are safe) from those that haven't, even months later when the recall is "over"?

      The problem was when Samsung first announced the recall, they didn't do it through the official recall channels

    • As I understand it, the recall effot on the Note 7 has been for the cell service providers to tell their customers to return their phones to the store they bought them from, and then exchange it for a new Note 7 without the problem battery in it. How do they plan on telling ones that have undergone the recall (and thus are safe) from those that haven't, even months later when the recall is "over"?

      Do you believe that the Note 7 is a cellular device that isn't programmed to "phone home"?

      I think we've revealed the answer to your question.

  • The FAA needs to ban that same Lithium-Cobalt chemistry batteries from being housed in the Boeing787 air-frame too.

    • You know just because they have the same stuff in them does not mean the design is obviously faulty like this device. I would consider any fire on a jet to be a very serious situation and its not worth the risk so somebody can check facebook.
      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        You know just because they have the same stuff in them does not mean the design is obviously faulty like this device. I would consider any fire on a jet to be a very serious situation and its not worth the risk so somebody can check facebook.

        So you're proposing banning all phones from all planes (in both checked bags and carry-on)?

      • I would consider any fire on a jet to be a very serious situation

        You don't bring your flamethrower with you when you travel!?

        IT'S LIKE YOU WANT THE TERRORISTS TO WIN!

      • by jeremyp ( 130771 )

        No what means the device is obviously faulty is catching fire [wikipedia.org].

    • Matter of fact they have done just that until Boeing redesigned the battery containment.

  • Now I don't mind if you have your gizmos but if it has a significant chance of overheating and causing a fire where they are incredibly deadly (because were else are you going to go to get away in a jet). I have to say im siding with the FAA on that one.
  • Has a battery exploded yet?

    • by jezwel ( 2451108 )
      They've caught fire spontaneously, I believe when charging. QANTAS in Australia has announced that Samsung devices must not be charged on the plane, but they are allowed on board.
    • No, but "burst into flame for a few seconds" doesn't get as many clicks as "tablets exploding", does it? :D
      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        No, but "burst into flame for a few seconds" doesn't get as many clicks as "tablets exploding", does it? :D

        I'd click on either headline.

  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @05:24PM (#52843869)

    I hope Samsung takes one HELL of a financial beating over this, because most of the cost will be well-deserved punishment for taking away removable batteries. Had the N7 allowed batteries to be swapped, they could have given anyone who agreed to surrender their defective battery two or three free replacements (total cost to Samsung: about $5-10 at eBay Chinese battery prices) and used customers as a vast, unpaid labor force to do the battery swaps. Instead, Samsung is going to have to eat the cost of a recall (including shipping) AND pay employees to swap the batteries & re-package the phones.

    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      Those chinese ebay batteries have never worked for me. Tried replacing my GFs Nexus 5 battery; 3 fucking turds, including one off of amazon. :/

      • 3 replacement batteries all being bad is rather unlikely. Are you sure there isn't something wrong with the phone?

        I have replaced the battery in two Nexus 5s with batteries that I ordered from s US seller on Ebay and both of them work perfectly.

    • AND pay employees to swap the batteries & re-package the phones

      About $2-3 at Chinese prices.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @05:47PM (#52843967)

    1) 35 incidents over 2.5 million devices (thus far). So what are the odds of something happening ever to any one person, much less on a plane (how many have the phones that are NOT recalled, then see #3 below)?

    2) How are they supposed to know which GN7's have been swapped with new models or not? (Hint: They can't.) So they will ban anything that looks like a GN7 forever?

    3) Can't find proof, but I bet most of the incidents were during high-power charging. How many are going to be charged while on a plane, much less in high-power mode?

    4) How many OTHER devices have similar problems, just not well publicized?

    • Maybe lower air pressure in the cabin increases the risk of explosion...
    • 2) How are they supposed to know which GN7's have been swapped with new models or not? (Hint: They can't.)

      2A) How are you supposed to trust that the GN7 is a cellular device that will never "phone home"? (Hint: you can't.)

      Batteries and/or the GN7 itself are uniquely identifiable and serialized, so I'd say it would be easier than you assume for them to know.

    • by thsths ( 31372 )

      Use maths.

      So far, after about one week, the risk is about 1:100 000.

      BuT: Samsung says only 0.1% of phones are affected, so 35 in 2500 affected phones. That is more than 1:100. Does that risk continue? If so, after a year the chance that your phone has exploded is higher than the chance that it still works.

      Basically those deffect cells have to be consider as time bombs, and if that is the case, the recall is not nearly urgent enough.

      The Hover Board is the only other device with a similar high likelihood of g

    • Many planes now have 110VAC power ports at each seat, unlike the airports they land at. So there is a significant chance of a phone being charged while in flight.

  • There is no way they can Ban them and actually implement this since they would have to train employees on how to detect a GN7 vs any other phone. The TSA can't even keep bad things from getting through security, let alone airline employees knowing anything.

    Hell they can't even keep people from making calls during take off and landing.

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Forget 'bad things' ... They can't keep mock bombs and guns off the planes. (or probably real ones but people oddly don't seem as excited to bring bombs and guns on planes as they want us to think)

      But they're quite good at keeping non-airport-purchased bottled water off planes!

      I wonder what security each pallet of water bottles for sale in the airport terminal goes through. Best guess? Effectively zero.

      So yeah...they're either goign to start banning many phones arbitrarily and truly pissing people off...

  • by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @06:28PM (#52844205) Homepage

    It took the FAA most of a decade to finally get a ruling regarding all cellphones, and now you want Mongo the Microencephalic TSA Screener to make advanced technical decisions regarding consumer electronics?

    Oh, this is going to be rich...

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @06:40PM (#52844271) Journal

    If my Surface can be mistaken for an iPad, I don't see why my Note 7 can't be an iPhone.

  • I personally find cell phone batteries in general dangerous. I remember a number of years ago when apple was going through something similar with Cell batteries catching fire. If I remember correctly there was an Iphone that did catch fire on the plane and burned a seat. All you need to do is simply damage almost any kind of cell battery and it can go up in smoke.
  • Samsung has always been trying to beat apple's launch date to grab customers... but this time it blows up in their face because the recall is not timely enough and Apple has ordered an increase of their production to compensate for the delay on Samsung's side.

    The ban only makes sense... I don't care if the phone has been replaced or not because passengers can simply lie and get on the plane, then blow the damn thing out of the sky. If you ask me... banning Note7 versus safety of few hundred passengers...
    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Or...you know...the company did QA which was paid by the company who made the batteries which was paid by the supplier who sourced the batteries which was paid by....etc.

      I highly doubt *Samsung* decided to ignore battery quality issues in order to meet their shipment deadlines.

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2016 @09:57PM (#52845237)

    Then I can afford two instead of one much sooner. To me it isn't negative press but rather positive. The company actually takes accountability for it's products without prodding. And for the idiots that look at this as negative and would rather to an iPhone: good riddance. It will hopefully make the phones cheaper sooner which means more people will buy them. It's an amazing product.

    I like removable batteries but those have hard thick outer cases which means less battery capacity. Integrated batteries are soft and flexible and thinly shielded. I like the new backpacks for the note which serve the purpose of a swapable battery. They are battery in a snap case which wirelessly charges the phone. This means you can have multiple backpacks and it's even easier than swapping batteries. Low on battery? Switch from your usual case to the backpack. Couldn't be easier.

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