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Xbox 360 Power Supply Blamed for Arkansas House Fire

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-burning-in-hell-is-just-too-late dept.

XBox (Games) 89

Beryllium writes "In Arkansas, an XBox 360's power supply (or power cord, the story is a bit ambiguous) apparently caused a fire with over $10,000 in damages. The fire chief says that it was probably due to the power supply unit being crammed into a space that had poor air circulation. The previously-documented heat issues with 360s led me to buy 'Andy', an affordable IKEA wireframe stand for my gaming system — with drawers! Since I've also got the power supply inside one of the unit's drawers, it should have more than adequate airflow to dissipate heat. I wonder what other airflow-improving ideas Slashdotters have come up with for their consoles?"

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frist psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23128878)

hahah all your andy r belong 2 me

Are you sure...? (2, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128886)

In Arkansas, an XBox 360's power supply (or power cord, the story is a bit ambiguous) apparently caused a fire with over $10,000 in damages. The fire chief says that it was probably due to the power supply unit being crammed into a space that had poor air circulation.

Doesn't that mean the fire was caused by an idiot who didn't realize that a power brick weighing 5 pounds with a fan on it kinda needs to have airflow? Not only that but it was probably a old-school one that wasn't registered and didn't get the replacement cables.

The previously-documented heat issues with 360s led me to buy 'Andy', an affordable IKEA wireframe stand for my gaming system -- with drawers! Since I've also got the power supply inside one of the unit's drawers, it should have more than adequate airflow to dissipate heat.

There's a lot of "should" in that... I'm sure the people who owned the home that had fire damage had a lot of "should" insurance too.

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128926)

Doesn't that mean the fire was caused by an idiot who didn't realize that a power brick weighing 5 pounds with a fan on it kinda needs to have airflow? Not only that but it was probably a old-school one that wasn't registered and didn't get the replacement cables.
How dare you!!!! You need to blame MS for this!!!!! Quick! What an opportunity!

OK, I'll Blame M$. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130466)

No one else's gaming console is burning houses down. You would not want to say Xbox users are especially stupid, would you?

Re:OK, I'll Blame M$. (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131896)

One user. Which kinda undercuts your point. But you wouldn't want me to say you're especially stupid, would you?

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128934)

It has a fan in the brick? Hrm, I hadn't noticed. It seems passively-cooled, to me.

Re:Are you sure...? (3, Informative)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129028)

From the XBox 360 Manual [fcc.gov]

Failure to properly set up, use, and care for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system can increase the risk of serious injury or death, or damage to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system

Do not block any ventilation openings on the console or power supply. Do not place the console or power supply on a bed, sofa, or other soft surface that may block ventilation openings. Do not place the console or power supply in a confined space, such as a bookcase, rack, or stereo cabinet, unless the space is well ventilated.

From the Amazon description of power cables [amazon.com]

Features: Internal cooling fan

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129044)

Sweet! Even more moving parts. :)

(What a silly design ... but the games are oh-so-fun)

Re:Are you sure...? (3, Informative)

enosys (705759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130596)

There should be protective devices inside which prevent a fire even in those conditions. For example simple transformer based wall warts have an overtemperature protector inside the transformer windings. I thought such protection was necessary to get UL certification.

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23138464)

Doesn't that mean the fire was caused by an idiot who didn't realize that a power brick weighing 5 pounds with a fan on it kinda needs to have airflow? Not only that but it was probably a old-school one that wasn't registered and didn't get the replacement cables.

I have tons of bricks and wall warts here. Not a single one of them is the least bit of a hazard if stuffed into a corner with no airflow. The MS brick strongly violates people's expectations in a way that can burn the house down. Most devices that can potentially overheat that badly have thermal protection to shut them down long before they catch fire.

They should have provided better ventilation, but the brick should be safer in the first place.

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23138536)

The MS brick strongly violates people's expectations in a way that can burn the house down.

Especially since it's been out for nearly three years, sold over 18 million units worldwide, and this is the absolute first case of any damage what-so-ever being reported... and this one is reported as not being Microsoft's fault.

That's it, take it off the market. People aren't smart enough to read the manual, heed the warnings, obey common logic, or be allowed to handle shiny things!

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23138986)

Actually, it's not the first fire attributed somehow to an Xbox. There was a recall because of a different but related fire haard.

All I said they should (and could) have done better. Considering that beyond the multiple fires and burn injuries, there have been a great many unit failures attributed to poor thermal design, I feel reasonably justified in suggesting they should REALLY pay more attention to heat issues.

Huh? (2, Informative)

What Would NPH Do (1274934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128898)

The fire chief says that it was probably due to the power supply unit being crammed into a space that had poor air circulation.
Did the submitter even read their own summary before writing their title? It clearly is said that the problem was due to the person putting the PSU into a space with poor air circulation which is clearly against the instructions given by Microsoft with respect to the PSU.

Re:Huh? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128908)

Exactly. The comments for the linked story are split between "Microsoft is endangering lives" and what you just said. No Child Left Behind my ass =)

Re:Huh? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128920)

But it didn't say it required liquid nitrogen cooling when crammed into a closed space. So, in good tradition, sue the manufacturer for failing to state the obvious.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23131982)

And burning down the building is the right reaction to failing to heed non-obvious instructions buried in a book somewhere?

A piece of home electronics should not convert your dwelling into a smoldering pile of rubble just because you kept it in a drawer. It should fail gracefully. Part of the process of getting certified by the Underwriters Laboratories, for example, is getting placed under extreme circumstances such as long-term short circuits and such and making sure that the device being certified does not catch fire just because it was abused.

There are so many ways that this could have been prevented, but I suppose Microsoft would rather save five cents on a fuse or thermistor than save their customers from a costly and dangerous fire.

Re:Huh? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128938)

while you are 100% right the fact is PSU's shouldn't need their own cooling fans. I can see the device needing airflow but the PSU should be passive enough to not require a fan.

How many other media devices out there require a PSU with a cooling fan? anything can someone name me more than 1? it is a stupid design flaw as smart people know that the area behind the tv always has little airflow. People don't want to see that mess of cables.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

What Would NPH Do (1274934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128960)

while you are 100% right the fact is PSU's shouldn't need their own cooling fans. I can see the device needing airflow but the PSU should be passive enough to not require a fan.
While that is all well and good, the fact of the matter is that implicit instructions come from Microsoft to not have the PSU in a place with poor air circulation. It's not their fault that some idiot in Arkansas disregarded those instructions.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

What Would NPH Do (1274934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128980)

Explicit instructions, I mean.

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128984)

I don't know about yours, but my XBox manual doesn't have any nudity or swearing.

Re:Huh? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23132228)

I don't know about yours, but my XBox manual doesn't have any nudity or swearing.
The instructions should come in a sam jackson voice. "The PSU needs ventilation. Ventilation, motherfucker, do you get it?"

Re:Huh? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129010)

There's a difference between disregarding something you've read, and not reading it at all. How many people read their manual before hooking up the console to the TV?

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129068)

And honestly, how many people read contracts before signing them? Come on, I mean all of the contract. Alright, still some dissenters, how about this... how many understand all the terms? There we go. That's what I thought.

And how many of us have been burned by a cup of coffee when it didn't say "Served Hot"? And how many of you have had a firework blow up in your hand and take a finger off? That's right. All of us. Obviously this is a manufacturer problem in all of these cases. The salesperson should be required to tell us every warning.

Re:Huh? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129094)

No, but burying it in the manual isn't the right place to put this. A big yellow sticker with black writing directly on the power supply would probably be a much better idea. Especially considering most other power bricks that come with home electronics don't tend to need quite as much heating.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129124)

... so you advocate placing some flammable (and airflow-blocking) material on the unit suspected of causing this fire, in the hopes it would prevent future fires? :)

Re:Huh? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129170)

IT... DIDN'T... CAUSE... FIRE!!! It's not even suspected or alleged by anyone with a brain. They didn't follow the rules, they didn't read on their investment, they just wanted shiney pixels without all that pesky searchin, and they live in Arkansas.

Re:Huh? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129194)

The fire department captain said that it did cause the fire, albeit not spontaneously. It caused the fire through a lack of common sense; putting a sticker on something won't ever fix that. All it will do is add fuel to the fire.

(Literally, in this case)

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129268)

That's like saying I lit a match, dropped it on some newspapers, it caused damage to my house, but the newspapers caused the fire, then complaining that the match had an instruction booklet that said not to drop it on newspapers.

Re:Huh? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129316)

Are you BadAnalogyGuy posting under a different nickname? Seriously.

Re:Huh? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129336)

You can't be this dense. Go get shot and blame the gun. I give up.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129404)

No, it's just that your analogy was pretty stupid.

A better one would be.

That's like saying I lit a match, dropped it on some newspapers, it caused damage to my house, and that the newspaper publisher is at fault because their papers caught fire. (Which conviently don't have a warning label...hmmm)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129478)

...no... the newspaper publisher would be Microsoft, I assume. Microsoft didn't cause a fire, the Arkansonian did, and that's what TFA said, and the poster is not smart enough to realize it. And the newspaper DID have a warning label.

You're a fucking idiot.

Re:Huh? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129824)

The fire department captain said that it did cause the fire, albeit not spontaneously. It caused the fire through a lack of common sense; putting a sticker on something won't ever fix that. All it will do is add fuel to the fire.

(Literally, in this case)
I'd agree with the lack of common sense, but not entirely on the part of the owner.

It is, IMO, reasonable to assume that a games console and its PSU will be just put down around the back of the TV where there is poor air circulation. It is also reasonable to assume that no matter how clear the warning in the manual to "locate the PSU somewhere with good air circulation", someone will ignore it.

Therefore, it makes sense to design the unit such that in the event of failure, it won't do anything dangerous like catch fire.

(I'm assuming here that it wasn't a Friday afternoon at the factory when this unit was made - which is a rash assumption)

Re:Huh? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134476)

I have to agree with this. The power supply unit should have enough failsafes in there to at a minimum not cause a fire.

Put it this way: if Microsoft had some fine print in on the bottom of page 39 that said "Warning: Pressing the eject button twice within 5 seconds will cause the DVD to eject from the front tray at supersonic velocities.", do you think they'd be in the clear when the family of someone decapitated by a flying DVD sues? There are some things that manufactures just shouldn't do regardless of what the print in the manual. A power brick that catches fire in a poorly ventilated area (which is where I'd bet at LEAST 10% of these things end up) is just something they should design or ship.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129298)

oh yes, that case that is the power supply doesn't already block the flow of air, good job.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129126)

It's like page 3. Do you need Cliffs Notes for the guide? You dropped $400 or so on it, you expect to get years of use out of it... don't you think you'd peruse the manual, or just the fact that it is one of the biggest power bricks in existence and has a fan on it isn't enough of a hint?

Re:Huh? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129322)

It's like page 3. Do you need Cliffs Notes for the guide? You dropped $400 or so on it, you expect to get years of use out of it... don't you think you'd peruse the manual, or just the fact that it is one of the biggest power bricks in existence and has a fan on it isn't enough of a hint?

You make the assumption that the purchaser is literate. A possibly incorrect assumption [wikipedia.org] :

This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information

More labels won't help. Invoking "common sense" won't help. Shit happens.

Re:Huh? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129536)

This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information
Those numbers seem awfully low to me....

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23132160)

Huh? What does 'intergrate' mean??

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129340)

what has microsoft made that's lasted years? the orignial xbox was a freaking house that just meant they didn't know how to make small devices

Re:Huh? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129416)

XP, Office 2003, DOS, Intellimouse (and various other wonderful peripherals), Wireless router, Notepad, that thing you mentioned (not to mention the indestructable controllers associated with it)... ...did you need more?

Re:Huh? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23138696)

I'm guessing very few do. Personally, I read them and often the sales rep looks at me like I just sprouted antlers. Sometimes I find huge glaring defects. Some of them appear to have been written by someone who is barely literate. I'm guessing nobody ever read those before.

Practically no sales rep knows what to do if I strike a paragraph and ask him to initial his acceptance of the strike (usually they just do it after a moment's hesitation).

At the same time, people develop reasonable expectations about things, and tend to skip the warnings in the manual because they're typically obvious to anyone with enough mental capacity to read in the first place.

It's been said here many times, when you warn about everything obvious, nobody will notice when you warn about something non-obvious.

Re:Huh? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129014)

How many other media devices out there require a PSU with a cooling fan?
Home theater PCs, for one.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129708)

Considering the existence of passively-cooled PC PSUs, this does not necessarily follow.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131876)

"How many other media devices out there require a PSU with a cooling fan? anything can someone name me more than 1?"

My Tivo does AND my Media Center PC does.

Come to think of it, so does every home computer I have ever owned!!! It's just that the Power Supply is IN the computer. The XBox designers decided to move it out of the unit.

Bill

Re:Huh? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133812)

funny the Media Center PC runs windows. yet another MSFT based concept running hot.

The Tivo I find odd but believe you.

There is no fan in my Mac Mini's PSU , and it can do everything your media center can do(with a separate tuner) I would even bet that it takes up less space too.

Re:Huh? (1)

Peil (549875) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135336)

FFS, are you seriously blaming a software company for the excess heat generated by a chipset and associated components in a PC?

Microsoft's only involvement is the sofware running on it and a shiny sticker to say it's certfied/up to the marketing spec

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23128958)

Pish posh. Nobody reads those instruction books. It's like the rules that say that you shouldn't run your car in a closed garage. I've done it for 15 minutes every day before I go to work and it has never hurt me.

Re:Huh? (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23141952)

Are you sure?

Why not just crack the garage door a little?

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129394)

The problem is that manuals have so many bullshit precautions that nobody bothers to read them. (What? You mean I shouldn't drop my Xbox on a baby? Now what am I supposed to do with it?)

Re:Huh? (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129512)

But, in turn, we have those warnings because of dumb fuckers like the Arkansas... Arkansasian... Arkansonian... Arkansasonites... because of those dumb fuckers.

My solution (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128912)

My solution is to not get an xBox 360. I got a Wii, which stays pretty cool. Actually, it doesn't if you enable the always on internet connection, because the chip is still on, and the fan turns off. What I actually do, is leave WiiConnect on, so that the news and weather channels still work, but when I turn it off, I hold down the power button for 5 seconds so that it actually turns off.

Re:My solution (1)

What Would NPH Do (1274934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23128948)

My solution is to not get an xBox 360. I got a Wii, which stays pretty cool.
My Xbox stays cool as well. But then again I'm not someone who crams it or the PSU into a confined space where you have poor air circulation. I guess I'm just weird that way. And what's the next story going to be? "Charcoal Girll Blamed for Arkansas House Fire"? In this case the idiot will have been using a charcoal grill inside their house and then set it on fire. Subsequently the story will get posted here and rather than blaming the idiot who was grilling indoors (contrary to what any grill maker will tell you to do) the grill itself, and the grill maker by implication, will be blamed instead.

Re:My solution (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129148)

Be reasonable. Lots of people start fires with cigarettes inside houses, so its not news. When its a 360 power supply, it is - given that it seems to be the first time it's caused (or its owner) a fire.

Lots of things get hot, but maybe not hot enough to start a fire. Thats where the interest level comes from - now we know. If you work hard enough, you can start a house fire with a 360 power supply. Nobody needs to be reminded that using a bbq indoors might cause a fire, its patently obvious.

Re:My solution (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23128954)

What I actually do, is leave WiiConnect on, so that the news and weather channels still work, but when I turn it off, I hold down the power button for 5 seconds so that it actually turns off.
Sweet! Wish I had modpoints.

Re:My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23128982)

And just how is Halo 3 running on that Wii? It's not? Getting a Wii is no solution to having a 360. They are different products for different niches.

Re:My solution (0)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129076)

I have a 360, but I find punching myself in the face is a suitable replacement for Halo 3.

Re:My solution (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129110)

You might also want to try playing Descent 3 on your computer using only the keyboard. It's equally frustrating to playing a FPS with a gamepad.

Re:My solution (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131284)

I used to think that as well, but after many hours playing Ghost Recon on a friend's 360 and now having just completed Rainbow Six Vegas 2 on my spanking new PS3, I'm really not finding it so bad. Aiming is fine, though I'm not quite back to where I was with a mouse. Everything else is much better with a controller than a keyboard, movement in particular. You can't really use a mouse on the sofa either.

Now, the muppets who play driving games without a wheel I can't understand at all. It's quite tragic watching them wiggle their way around the track.

Re:My solution (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23132704)

Depends how twitchy the game is. For high-speed fast-kill games (the Quake family and CounterStrike for example) a mouse will utterly destroy a joystick every time. The joystick limits you to a certain "max turning speed" even when the joystick is slammed all the way to the stops. A mouse provides no such limitation, subject to the scan speed of the sensor which is not realistically a limitation.

The mouse also allows you to utilize a sort of "muscle memory", since a given position on the pad will always more-or-less correspond to a certain view direction in the game. So you can instantly turn to that direction without thinking about what direction you're currently facing, or whatever. It provides many levels of direct feedback, which is unconscious but there, and it's important for gaming, in my opinion.

For the record, no matter how much I try, I can't imagine ever coming close to how good I am on a mouse. Which is fine, if that's all the game allows. Goldeneye on N64 was tremendous fun, and everyone was on the same playing field controller-wise. But if you tried to use a gamepad while playing against someone using a mouse? I can't imagine it ever working. You'd get your ass handed to you, I think.

Re:My solution (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23133998)

That's the problem with using a game controller for FPS. It's so not as good as the mouse that I just find it frustrating. Even if everyone else is on a level playing field, it's still really frustrating. It's so terrible to not be able to turn around in less than 3 seconds. That could almost be acceptable, if you had high accuracy aiming, but I find that the 1.5 cm range of movement between all out and not moving to be too small to be able to aim well quickly when there's someone else shooting at you. Anybody who thinks game controllers are well suited to FPS hasn't gotten to the point where they are efficient with a mouse.

Re:My solution (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166798)

Fine for tactical games - but consider that players of Quake3 rocket arena frequently resort to rocketjump-to-360 rail gun shots only matches purely for fun. Flat out impossible on a controller. I fell in love with Call of Duty 4 via the 360 demo, but I probably would not have bought it were it not available on PC. Fast paced FPSes just can't be exploited properly on consoles. Those who champion Halo, etc .. look, its not a terrible game, but its just not what a true FPS is supposed to be in my book. It's all about conservation of your aim (ie, being in the right spot before you need to be) rather than pure reflex and aiming.

Re:My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129128)

Yes. The Xbox is shipping Halo 3 for idiots just like you!

Re:My solution (2, Informative)

Sangui (1128165) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129220)

You should update your Wii's firmware to at least 3.1
They fixed the whole "fans turn off in standby" thing.

Re:My solution (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131512)

It is updated. But since it never tells you what changed when you get an update, I was completely unaware of this. Maybe they fixed whatever it was in the WiiConnect 24 code that causes my wireless router to need rebooting if WiiConnect is left on for more than 5-6 hours. Although I'm sure that's more of a problem with my router than with the Wii.

Lately, nothing... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129130)

Owing to, well, owing more than I can afford, my most recent console is a nice purple Gamecube (unless you count my Yobo FC Dual [yobogroup.com] ). However, years ago after my Sega Genesis power supply burned out, I came up with a simple solution for it. I put a cheap plastic fan on the floor, aimed it at the power supply (which was well ventilated) and made sure to turn on my surge protector when I was playing. Did it help? Who knows? It is the same basic principal as the fans in a computer case though. After a while I gave it up and just bought a spare power supply.

Of course, that doesn't help with the house fire problem...

Did you read this comment on the site? (1)

Inglix the Mad (576601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129190)

What aren't you guys understanding? When vented properly the power brick doesn't heat up to the point where it catches fire. This guy had his brick in a tightly compact spot. The expelled heat was collecting in the area, and naturally, a small area will heat up much quicker than a larger one. It's not like this guy had his brick out in the open and it caused a fire. No, he had it in a very tight spot which raised the overall temperature of the area enough to cause a fire. Get this through your heads: The power brick in itself is not a life-threatening device. Improper care of said brick, much like every other electronic item on the market, can cause serious risk of damage or injury. This guy didn't take care of it properly and therefore, he greatly increased the risk.

What a dolt. My PC, Laptop, Blu-Ray player, DVD player, et al, all do better than that. If they overheat, they shut off. It might wreck the power supply, but it's last gasp is shutting off. Anyone know if it's part of UL that items do that?

Re:Did you read this comment on the site? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131314)

It's not that straightforward, the 360 (like laptops and many other electronic devices) has an external power supply. The 360 itself does infact shut off if it overheats but as with just about every power supply ever created, the power supply itself doesn't.

There is no reason this couldn't have happened with a Laptop, the power adapter for a speaker system, a router or anything similar. You're right in that devices with integrated power supplies are often more capable in terms of shutting down if heat becomes an issue but you're wrong in suggesting the guy whose comment you quote is an idiot, he's quite right in what he says. You suggested your laptop would shutdown if it overheated and that's correct, but you can be pretty damn sure the power supply wont - put your laptop power supply in a confined space whilst using your laptop in a clearer space long enough and you'll encounter exactly the same issue.

Personally whenever I build a new PC I'm concerned about leaving it on overnight as I'm not sure how safe it is - I use it lots for long periods whilst I'm around before trusting it on an overnight run unattended, dealing with heat generating electricity requires some common sense and caution, if you don't treat potentially dangerous devices with the respect they deserve then you should expect something like this to go wrong.

I suppose there's an argument that perhaps it's time external power supplies had some ounce of intelligence added to them to ensure they shut off because people are too stupid as demonstrated here to treat such devices with care however this is an industry wide problem and again it's rather unfair to target the 360 for this when as mentioned already, everything from speaker systems, to routers, to laptops, to some printers suffer exactly the same issue.

I'm not sure personally that I want to see the price of electronics go up to ensure further safe guards against idiocy. This brings a question of what extreme do you take it to - should all electronics be water-proof to protect against people stupid enough to rest cups of liquid on top their TVs before knocking them over said electronic device for example? I'd rather not suffer in having to pay more because some people are stupid quite honestly.

Re:Did you read this comment on the site? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23138864)

There is no reason this couldn't have happened with a Laptop, the power adapter for a speaker system, a router or anything similar.

Actually, yes there is a reason. They don't generate enough heat to cause a fire even without any airflow.

I agree that we can't afford to make everything proof against everything, but a simple dirt cheap meltable link would prevent power supplies from causing a fire.

My space heater has 2 thermal switches in series in addition to the thermostat just in case. This even though it's blatantly obvious a space heater should have free airflow. Why should a power supply be more likely to cause a fire than an electric space heater?

Unlikely (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129238)

Birch-type PSUs have to have overheating protection. Without that the diesign would be crimonally neglient. It is far more likely that this was one of the incompetently done power connections, were MS showed its typical lack of understanding for engineering questions.

What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23129266)

Who wrote the summary, some Ikea shill? I can think of no other reason someone would actually be proud enough to advertise their ownership of some "affordable wireframe stand", which also happens to be really fugly.

what really happened here? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129682)

Little Rock, Ark., media are reporting this week that a local gamer now has a singed house following a fire blamed on the power supply cord to his Xbox. Firefighters investigating the blaze say the cord was found pinched between the wall and the Xbox power brick, which tends to get very hot during extended game play. Xbox 360 blamed for house fire [stltoday.com]

Too often on Slashdot, it can be difficult - if not impossible to trace a link to a primary source, and this link is really no better.

But the impression I have is of a fire waiting to happen. The power supply as a whole could be at its normal operating temperature. That doesn't meant that heat couldn't build up dangerously in some tight corner behind it.

The risk isn't unique to the XBox or the power brick. Poor ventilation is probably the roots cause of hundreds - if not thousands - of fires ignited by ordinary home appliances.

Re:what really happened here? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130202)

what's the fun in that? And everyone knows that Microsoft's ability to warm things up and catch things of fire or blow them up is legendary.

http://www.waxingamerica.com/2008/01/atts-u-verse-in.html [waxingamerica.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/16/atandt-u-verse-batteries-going-supernova/ [engadget.com]
http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/triple-play/att-uverse-batteries-exploding.asp [tmcnet.com]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/23/xbox_blaze/ [theregister.co.uk]

and others including this latest. And what fun is it to post in a computer tech rag about a toaster burning down a home? When Microsoft does it, there's something about it which makes you wonder why they are in the tech industry at all. They are not very good at security, lose money on everything but monopoly leveraged products and their hardware and software does a nice job at adding to global warming( whatever that is ). IMO.

LoB

Idea (1)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129756)

Perhaps there should be a temperature sensor which would turn the system off if the temperature got too high. Fires aside, it would prevent hardware problems as well.

Re:Idea (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130946)

Perhaps there should be a temperature sensor which would turn the system off if the temperature got too high.

Where do you put the sensor? What is it reading? The ambient temperature of the power brick as a whole - or that pinched little pocket between the brick, the cord, and the wall, which is the real danger?

Re:Idea (1)

canavan (14778) | more than 6 years ago | (#23135398)

Where do you put the sensor? What is it reading?
The hottest components of the power supply of course. Why measure anything on the outside if that must be cooler than the power supply unless it is getting heated by something else (which should have shut down itsself before getting dangerously hot).

My thoughts (1)

4g1vn (840279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129904)

The 360 has a fairly large install base. It's inevitable that something like this would happen. The PS does require adequate airflow and generates a considerable amount of heat. I would venture to say that it was in a cabinet or laying on the carpet.

Re:My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23132016)

The 360 has a fairly large install base. It's inevitable that something like this would happen.
There are more successful products, even in the same category as the Xbox 360, that have never / will never burn down a house, even when subjected to similar misuse.

Big fans (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23129998)

Ha ha. This story just reminded me that my brother, a volunteer firefighter, had a 360 in the firestation. Fire wasn't their main concern with the 360's heat problem-- obviously, it was something they could handle, and the building was made completely out of concrete-- but due the fact that the console was typically running 24 hours a day. The thing crashed all the time. Because the way the shifts worked out, someone always had the ability to sit down in front of it, so this quickly got on their nerves. Anyway, they solved their problem by building a cage with two 12" fans attached. Plenty of airflow!

$100,000 not $10,000 in damage (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130112)

FTFA: "According to Little Rock, Arkansas fire department captain Jason Weaver, a 360's power cord was to blame for a blaze that injured no one (thankfully) but caused some $100,000 in property damage."

So what first looked like the blaze might have been contained to one room, at $100,000 means it probably took out most of the house.

LoB

Maybe... (1)

awyeah (70462) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130296)

... having their house burn down will encourage them to stop playing so many video games and get outside more :)

How did this PSU get UL approval again? (2, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23130592)

Isn't the whole reason that various government entities in the US have effectively granted a monopoly to a private corporation (Underwriters Laboratories) to help ensure the safety of consumer products powered by electricity? Or is UL now as corporation-friendly as the Better (for) Businesses Bureau?
What happened to the sorts of tests where devices were deliberately abused to make sure they failed in a way that didn't involve burning down the owner's home?
Failing that, why is MS not building the heat equivalent of a circuit breaker into these PSUs? The possibility of corrupting the hard drive or whatever due to a non-graceful shutdown has to be less than the bad publicity caused by burning down customers' houses.

Re:How did this PSU get UL approval again? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131054)

Failing that, why is MS not building the heat equivalent of a circuit breaker into these PSUs?

again, I am not sure how that helps.

you can read the ambient temperature of the power supply easily enough. but that doesn't mean there won't be dangerous hot spots if you shove the PSU into the back of a poorly ventilated storage unit.

set it on shag carpeting or some other easily ignited surface.

Re:How did this PSU get UL approval again? (2, Insightful)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23131762)

You've said that three times now, and you've been wrong three times. It is not possible for the air around the power supply to get hotter than the power supply itself unless something else is heating it (in which case it wouldn't be the PSU's fault) or it's being compressed, like in an air compressor, which it is not. If it ever DID get as hot as the only source of heat, the PSU, then the PSU would not be able to heat it anymore, because heat does not flow from cold to hot. So stop spreading nonsense.

Re:How did this PSU get UL approval again? (1)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23132138)

P.S. Sorry if my tone was rude.

Industrial Wire Shelving! (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#23134196)

If you have a lot of electronic components, it is hard to find a stand or cabinet to fit, most of them have lousy airflow, and many are flammable. The wireframe stand recommended by the OP looks nice, but I am a big fan of industrial wire shelving, which you can assemble to exactly the size, shelf spacing, etc. that you need. A light-duty consumer grade version is available in most hardware stores. It's probably OK (I haven't tried it), but the industrial version is heavier grade, available in more sizes and finishes, not appreciably more expensive, and available from many vendors over the internet. It will support a great deal of weight, and of course the airflow is great. It is easy to organize wiring with cable ties. It knocks together in minutes (invest in a rubber mallet). Your Taste May Vary, but I find it attractive (in an unobtrusive high-tech way).

The brand that I have is Nextel.

Designing a system safely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23134978)

Maybe I think too much from the designers of the Xbox but when I or someone in our company designs a product you always design for a fail safe situation.

Regardless of what causes the failure is completely irrelevant, the worse case should always be the power supply should die, blow a fuse, pop a breaker, or something to fail safely, that is just common design practice. It is a whole lot better to have an RMA than a suing party (or worse).
Generally electronics, or electronic enclosures, won't catch fire unless power is still being supplied. If you add any sort of protection it should prevent this from happening. The only time electronics should catch fire is when it was mis-assembled, mis-wired, or an external source was applied.

The argument maybe went off topic with how dumb users are to what it should be, how dumb Xbox designers are.

Fin-age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23135478)

What about a finned metal case..

Like...the PSU case, instead of using plastic (which is a thermal insulator)...why not go with an aluminum case, with some fin-age.

The PSU shell might get hot, but the components inside won't fail and catch fire.

My XBOX 360 Cooling System (1)

triso (67491) | more than 6 years ago | (#23137512)

"Since I've also got the power supply inside one of the unit's drawers, it should have more than adequate airflow to dissipate heat. I wonder what other airflow-improving ideas Slashdotters have come up with for their consoles?"

I've submersed mine in an old aquarium filled with 15 l of EVOO. Since this is a nonconducting liquid which can diffuse all heat, I feel quite safe with this setup. Not to mention the soothing effect of home-cooked Belgian fries after an intense Halo session. Mmmmm!

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