back to article EE recalls Power Bar phone chargers after explosion burns woman

EE has recalled thousands of Power Bar phone chargers just days after a woman ended up in hospital when one of the devices exploded, causing injury to her hands and damage to the victim's property. The UK's biggest mobile operator said it was aware of a small number of incidents where the power pack had overheated, posing a …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      No the advice is don't try to put out a fire with your bare hands. All sympathy to the injured party but c'mon really?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Martin Summers Silver badge

          No it shouldn't have caught fire in the beginning, that's for granted and also completely nothing to do with my comment. So you can have your bollocks back.

          The charger caught fire and went under her bed. Does her bed have no sheets or quilt to smother the fire in, was there really nothing else to hand to do that with other than injuring herself?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I guess the lesson here is don't heat up oil on a hob in your bedroom.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

      So get GiffGaff you tightwad git and stop moaning, you have choices, try using them

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

      One must question the relevance of the cost of voice calls on a story about faulty portable chargers.

      Is this a new breed of fanboy we're dealing with?

  3. Tezfair

    Nasty

    See above

    1. dotdavid
      Coat

      Re: Nasty

      I thought EE customers would be used to getting burned.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. andy gibson

          Re: Nasty

          Can't speak for anyone else but I don't have any problem with EE (Orange). 3G is always strong (better than some places free wifi) and I pay a tenner every two months to top up my PAYG phone. As soon as I top up a tenner I get 300 free texts and 1Gb of data.

          When that runs out at the end of the month I just run down the accumulated credit, which tends to last another month, when I top up again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But I thought

    that a powerbar was something to eat

  5. Fihart

    Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

    EE's PAYG charges render voice calls unaffordable -- and 12p for texts is scandalous given that they cost so little to the provider that they can't even calculate how little.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

      How much do you pay to keep the phone connected to the masts and number in service i.e. line rental?

      Thought so.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Vince

          Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

          "Do you actually have an EE phone that stays connected to the masts and keeps the number in service?"

          Haha. Good one. Except that wasn't a joke of course. I had the misfortune of moving to EE earlier this year. It lasted 6 weeks, and I forced them to terminate my agreement and allow me to move back to my previous provider (3). Should never have left - went from having signal almost everywhere, and data that just worked (and texts, and calls), to a service that was utterly terrible in every way.

          Services just didn't work (Blackberry Blend) - would connect once in a blue moon once I had EE, streaming my TV from home... no chance, totally unreliable, signal... always CLAIMED to be there, but in reality calls went to voicemail, messages were delayed, and even when it was "working" I'd suddenly get no IP throughput for 2-3 minutes and then every now and then around 30 minutes.

          EE blamed the area I was in (although in that time I went on holiday up north, and had the same issues there as I did at home), my handset (although same handset worked fine on 3, had been reconfigured by EE and reprovisioned to the EE preferences, and in any case I had the same issues with another handset (went there, tried that), my home connection (for the streaming issue - really? My "connects at" 80/20 and gets "78/18" real world throughput service randomly couldn't cope with streaming (but an FTP could get 18 meg if I was lucky so not a route issue), and so on...

          Moved back to 3, same handset, same areas, works fine. During my time on EE, I spent most of it tethering my phone to my other handset which still was with 3 so I could do stuff.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

      12p! I'd better move to Vodafone. Or maybe not, given it's 14p on PAYG with Vodafone!

      In reality, SMS is getting less relevant as people have / are migrating to apps (WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.) so Data is where you want to be spending your money!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Re: Everyone's fingers burnt with Everything Everywhere

          "Do you actually have an EE phone that stays connected to the masts and keeps the number in service?"

          Can you call the number ancd get through to voice mail when you can't get to the phone?

          yes?

          Then you have a working number.

          Bitching about signal?

          Ever thought it may be your phone? Or the case it's in?

          Break out a cheap as chips bog standard phone and see how good a signal you get then, chances are way better then most smartphones.

  6. Rabbit80
    Flame

    Compensation

    According to the terms, a maximum £3000 for a single incident or £6000 for a series of incidents within a 12 month period! Considering the damage suffered to property and the burns/surgery required I'm not too sure its worth the risk!

    See document below - Sections 3.5 - 3.7

    http://ee.co.uk/content/dam/ee-help/Help-PDFs/EE-PAYM-PAYG-EE-Power-Terms-Updates-30062015-v4F.PDF

    1. flearider

      Re: Compensation

      hmm then theres the closed door payment when they give you cash but don't except blame ..

      a good solicitor is always the best option ..

    2. Tapeador

      Re: Compensation

      Nicely spotted! There's so much law on this issue - there had to be as people were literally killing other people accidentally and then saying "oh sorry you agreed I wouldn't be liable". For your delectation:

      s 4 Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977

      4 Unreasonable indemnity clauses.

      (1) A person dealing as consumer cannot by reference to any contract term be made to indemnify another person (whether a party to the contract or not) in respect of liability that may be incurred by the other for negligence or breach of contract, except in so far as the contract term satisfies the requirement of reasonableness.

      .....

      s 5 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999

      Unfair Terms

      5.—(1) A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.

      ...

      I think there are also important rules about incorporation of onerous terms in consumer contracts - so if they're not flagged up prominently they may not get incorporated into the contract. The famous 'red hand rule' - I'm not actually 100% sure it's good law but it's a good idea.

  7. TonyJ Silver badge

    Interestingly

    I have one of these things, though rarely used. It is not from the same batch, but my son complained that when he used it, it was getting extremely hot. Since then it's remained pretty much unused and I suspect will do so until we are certain it's only limited to the one batch.

  8. wyatt

    My wife uses one quite a bit. Not had any issues but as you'd expect when they're charging or discharging they get warm to hot.

  9. flearider

    never ever leave a battery charging on it's own .. common sense ..

    but she'll get a nice pay out from ee prob round £20k or more which will pay off her student loans ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      really? What do you do sit and watch them for several hours?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Dr. Ellen
    Boffin

    With great power comes great hazard.

    The more energy you stuff into an object, the more trouble it can cause if it gets loose. Since batteries are good at rapidly letting loose the energy, that ends up being either a fire or an explosion, depending on the details. The batteries of tomorrow will be even better at holding energy -- let us hope they are better at holding on to it as well.

  11. Martin-73 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Any idea what this actually is?

    The picture seems to suggest a battery bank of some kind with a 5v output, the lady in question is saying it was charging a laptop, which usually use 19-21v, and the article is calling it a charger?

    /me confused

    [icon because I am seeking education]

    1. alun phillips

      Re: Any idea what this actually is?

      It a powerbank charged over USB, so it was plugged into the laptop to charge.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Any idea what this actually is?

        Ah thank you. Probably using an 18650 cell (by the pic). Clarifies a lot :)

        Have a beer

  12. i steal your leccy

    I blame Kevin Bacon for this...

    ...and for most of the trouble in the Middle East.

  13. JakeMS

    Glad...

    Glad I didn't get one of these. Although you can find other non-EE ones on Amazon and such like which do the same thing. Judging by this article, it's probably safer too :-).

    PS: Why did she try to put a fire out with her hand? Damp cloth, glass/bucket of water (depending on size of fire) would of done just fine without burning your hand..

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Glad...

      When you wake up and see a few relatively small flames, trying to pat them out with your hand can be an instinctive reaction done before you have started thinking straight. If the burning object is sticky (like molten plastic or nylon), you get very nasty burns after just a single pat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glad...

        In the old days we soon learned not to try to catch a 25w Henley-Solon soldering iron if it slipped off its hook. The instinct was to grab it round the metal shaft - it didn't look hot.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Glad...

      You don't use water on electrical fires.

      Also, Lithium reacts with water quite enthusiastically.

      Also, most people don't have a tap in their bedroom.

      Finally - do you know how you would react to waking up to a fire?

      Unless you've had special training, you would probably panic to some extent, and it's very unlikely that you'd use the most appropriate firefighting technique.

      She did well enough.

      1. JakeMS

        Re: Glad...

        "Do you know how you'd react waking up to a fire?"

        Yes, I would just use my dry powder fire extinguisher that's on the wall next to the home office door :-). That's what it's there for, in case of electrical fires as electrical equipment is always running in office it would be silly not to have and know how to use one.

        But I know most people don't have such things around the house. But still, it is what I would do and how I'd react.

  14. John Crisp

    I have a small generic power cell for my phone.

    It is noticeable that with the short and piddly thin supplied cable it gets very warm very quickly but with a (longer) thicker cable it doesn't.

    Clearly an issue with Ohms law there somewhere. Who can I sue ? :-)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lithium battery fires are very fast, hot, and hard to put out

    Like a firework, as a youtube browse will show.

    Best thing is to put it on metal away from anything flammable or chuck it out the door/window if you can.

    The fire-guy at work always cautioned about having powder extinguishers at home as the powder is chokingly ghastly if used in a confined space (and if young children release the extinguisher by accident).

    I probably ought to get CO2 extinguisher for home (maybe powder as well)...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lithium Fire

    Up top there's an argument about whether she should have used her hands to put out the fire. While I would hope I'd find something else to use if I woke up and found my bed on fire I don't know what I'd do.

    Anyway, this was a fire caused presumably by lithium batteries. That is not going to be an easy fire to put out and smothering it may or may not work. If the battery has shorted out internally I could ever imagine a situation where covering it up could make things worse e.g. the heat from the short can't escape melting the insides causing an explosion.

    If you assume hot metallic lithium has become exposed to the air then throwing water on it isn't going to be a good idea. It was a long time ago now but I seem to remember when I worked in a lab we were told to throw sodium bicarbonate on the fire. I can just imagine someone rooting through their kitchen cupboard while their house burns down.

    My personal plan for lithium fires included two steps 1) Don't cause a fire 2) If step one has failed run away.

    1. Ed_UK

      Re: Lithium Fire

      Lithium fires are for wusses. Go and read about chlorine trifluoride; that's the stuff that sets SAND on fire. Delightful notes at:

      http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2008/02/26/sand_wont_save_you_this_time.php

      Excerpt:

      <<

      The compound [is] also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile.

      >>

  17. Jason Hindle

    Probably a one-off faulty unit

    Any EE store has a bunch of these all charging up at the same time, in close proximity to each other, in a drawer. We haven't had any major EE store fires in the news.

    Mine's the one with E1-04 on it, and yes it does get pretty warm - I'd be wary of using it in extreme warm weather (not that we're getting much of that).

  18. flearider

    they went for cheap cells .. simples .. instead of going with lg 25amp or sony vtc4's

    that's the problem with 18650's they have to be able to take the charge or drain .. cheap one's cant ..

    my guess is they used ultrafire or trustfire branded cells .. complete rubbish ..

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