Watch out! Your generic phone charger may explode

A few years back Samsung forfeited several miles to Apple in the smartphone race, after several of their models went full Charlie McGee on unexpecting customers. There was the woman in Detroit whose car was engulfed in flames after her Samsung Galaxy exploded.  Then there was that woman in Morroco who was trying to no avail to take a selfie just before her Galaxy Edge 7 spontaneously burst into flames.  And then just this year, professional basketball player, Khouraichi Thiam, became badly burned after his LG combusted at will in his hand.

Given how attached we are to our tiny squares of wisdom, the potential for them to self-immolate pardons panic but the truth of the matter is that even with the reported cases of iPhones exploding taken into consideration, the aggregate of the more dramatic incidents suggest them to be fairly isolated, most experts naming the likelihood of them occurring to any given person as “remotely unlikely”

Also, you might read the word explosion and think of the incendiary hell-storm that John McClane might walk away from in slow motion, when in a cellular context, explode, most often means “short-circuit.” The phone will overheat, the battery will melt, and the model will die with a gasp of sparks and smoke; dangerous, but unlikely fatal.

Circumferential partial-thickness burn caused by mobile telephone charger: A case report

“Many children and adolescents have access to portable electronic devices. Although not always the case, these devices are often charged at nighttime, especially while being used in bed. There are increasing media reports of electric current injury from the portable electronic devices’ charging cables, particularly with equipment that is available for lower cost from generic manufacturers.”

This comes from a new report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.  The analysis was set in motion by an unnamed 19-year-old woman that received second-degree burns, as a result, of an exploding phone charger. At the time of the incident, the charger,  which was lying beneath her pillow, wasn’t actually charging her device, when it emitted electric currents to the necklace she was wearing. In addition to the increased risk associated with leaving a charger plugged into an outlet while it isn’t charging a device, the study’s authors posit that cheaper generic cables, often cause malfunction because they are faux-compatible with their intended device.

“There are different types of cables,” Eddie Prestopine, manager of CPR Cell Phone Repair, told Daily News.  “Apple has a tiny chip that corresponds with the phone if it doesn’t have the chip it could bring too much power to the phone and overheat it.”

The disparity in price between generic and high-end brand chargers is quite steep, but you’re paying for a product that has been tested and approved by the manufacturer.  The study arrived in the wake of emerging reports mentioning “exploding chargers.” Just last week a Los Angeles resident woke up in the middle of the night with burns on her arms and sheets after her iPhone charger malfunctioned.

“It could have burnt the house down, my dogs were in the bed with me, that’s really one of my biggest fears,” Madilynne Ferguson told KTBS.