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Japan Demands Probe of iPod Nano Flameouts

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the hot-pockets dept.

Media (Apple) 339

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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The monkey is greater than The Chimp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668387)

Obama '08

In Soviet Russia (0, Offtopic)

shimmyshimpson (1305497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668391)

iPod catch fire

then PROFIT before Hitler and Nazi germany steal it all when the cpu power doubles.

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

shimmyshimpson (1305497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668887)

Flaming ipods on a plane wouldn't be too healthy though hmmmm?....

Same sort of dodgy batteries as they had in the Apple/Dell laptops a while back ?

Yes, only a tiny percentage (5, Insightful)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Yes, only a tiny percentage (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668439)

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:Yes, only a tiny percentage (5, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668483)

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, tried to make that funnier for you in a way that I've seen lots of people doing lately, but seem to have failed.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668541)

I'm hoping the /. groupthink is too distracted to notice.

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0, Offtopic)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668647)

Well it is good to have hope! And I do like getting distracted... tho I can't say I've ever noticed any signs of 'groupthink' on here... haha okay that last one was a joke. That AC poster below seems real unimpressed, (whispers) but judging by the strength of his response, I'd say he's probably already having a bad day! Or of course just heard someone say "burnung coal" recently and has been waiting for any chance to pull that one out on someone! Is polite enough to say 'please' and 'thanks' so doesn't have the courage of conviction required to just deliver the message; has to try and look polite and clever ("look, I can use sarcasm!"). Either way, I don't think you have to worry, am sure we can all chalk this one up to a lesson :-p

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0, Offtopic)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668665)

I'm confused, are you criticizing groupthink or whoring it out? Or both? Come on, it's not THAT cheap of a whore. Get some respect!

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668559)

Please eat burning coal.

Thanks!

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668951)

BAM! End a sentence with a preposition!

That's such a tiny percentage of the people from whom I took money.

How do you expect a judge to listen to you when you don't speak correctly!? Silly... :)

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669017)

Apropos. Is there a gammatical reference for englist, which is in EBNF or at least a similar proper and complete form? Preferably without the vocabulary normally used to explain grammar.
And more like a language reference.

I *detest* those chaotic (meaning: on structure, no consistency, no logic) pseudo-easy (meanin: too dumbed down to be usable) grammar books that you can get from amazon.

I would even put real money on the table if I could get a high-quality reference like described above.

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669023)

Oh, and please:
"Learning by example(s)" is the exact opposite of what I'm searching.

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (2, Insightful)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669059)

Not allowed to end a sentence with a preposition!? To quote Winston Churchill, that is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put!

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668565)

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.

The thing about mac zealots is, if their purchasing trends are any indication, they'll actually thank you for both punching them and taking their money.

Re:Yes, only a tiny percentage (2, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668853)

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.

Flying by statistic (5, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669123)

Only a tiny percentage of planes burst into flames, too.

spontaneous combustion (5, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668397)

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

Re:spontaneous combustion (4, Insightful)

gerf (532474) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668617)

I won't bring them on planes for fear of the DHS confiscating my stuff for no reason.

Re:spontaneous combustion (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668857)

You fear the DHS confiscating people that you take onto planes for no reason??? :-p

Re:spontaneous combustion (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669173)

...Yeah, pretty much.

Well, I'm not gerf, but I agree with them.

Why banned on airplanes? (4, Insightful)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668403)

Because you have a poor grasp of the concept of probability?

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (4, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668765)

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 guess. If not, I am curious as to the mechanism by which they spontaneously combust (perhaps discharging too quickly?) if anyone has any answers.

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.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668969)

(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:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668789)

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...

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

joeava (1147727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668809)

Don't forget that there are many passengers on a flight and there are many flights in a single day. Simplifying a bit, assume that we have 100 passengers with Nanos, the probability of bursting into flame would be 1-(1-0.001%)^100 ~ 0.1%

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668955)

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.

So there's 1.4 million first-gen nanos in Japan? Hm. Anyway... Narita handled 16,464 flights in March; 0.001% would be an engine fire every six months, just for Narita.

But there's a more important detail: consumer electronics are not supposed to be able to catch fire by their own failure, period. They're supposed to melt and smolder and char due to component failure, but never ignite. So it's not just the failure rate, it's the type of failure. Absolutely there should be an investigation after 14 units.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (3, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669009)

"handled 16,464 flights in March; 0.001% would be an engine fire every six months, just for Narita"

No, it should be 0.001% of their planes not flights, unless you also multiply the ipods by the amount of times (or amount of time) they're used in the same way that you're multplying the number of planes by the amount of times (or amount of time) they take off and land. Remember, you have to do the same on both sides of the equasion.

"consumer electronics are not supposed to be able to catch fire by their own failure"

The electronics bits yeah, but we're talking a high energy chemical storage device, which makes things slightly different... okay, only slightly, it's still not meant to burst into flames, but it has been happening a lot over past few years in laptop, mobile phones, basically anythings that use lithium-ion batteries can be at risk if there are battery defects.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669035)

That's 0.001% of Nanos affected _at some point in their lifetimes_. For the failure to occur DURING a few-hours flight, would be drastically less likely!

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

joeava (1147727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669189)

That's true. Failure rate during a flight is far less than 0.001%. I just take that number as a example to point out that: 1. Even if the possibility of a bursting Nanos is very small, considering its popularity and the large number of flights, the overall possibility of fire caused by Nanos can be significantly increased. 2. If somebody risk their lives because of this, we have to take it very seriously.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669151)

I read it as 1.4 million first generation nanos sold in a 15 month period in Japan, which seems a bit high.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24669107)

In light of this, I hereby demand that we ban all engines from flights immediately.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (5, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (4, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668899)

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]

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668923)

"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't be there anyway.

Also, while the chances do appear low, the chances of laptops going up must also be pretty low, but (occording to the article) that has happened on planes. No mention of planes crashin etc due to it though. But considering how easy a risk it is to mitigate, it does seem silly not to. Even the space shuttle, which only had one ipod on board (that we saw) used an alternative battery [nasa.gov] for it.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (3, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668741)

Exactly. That's how airline security works. They're all about focusing on things with a low probability.
If you took all the airlines security and made them mechanics... that would make flying even safer.

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

black_lbi (1107229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668995)

Don't mind him. He's just cranky that Duke Nukem Forever isn't out yet ...

Re:Why banned on airplanes? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669021)

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 lucky enough not to have any mosquito collide with any major commercial airplanes, then may be the next time it might just be an overweight flea that takes a Boeing 747 down.

Just Nanos? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668411)

It's only Nanos that are catching fire? Why no other varieties?

Re:Just Nanos? (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668457)

Different batteries? All these Nanos probably got their batteries from one company/factory at the same time. I wonder how well Apple's records are of what part comes from where.

Re:Just Nanos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668519)

Apple fans are flamers without> the exploding iPods!

Re:Just Nanos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668939)

</i

You dropped those.

Re:Just Nanos? (2, Interesting)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668573)

The batteries are controlled by circuitry that starts it charging, and stops it when the battery reports that it's full. If this circuitry is defective, charging can happen past its safe charge level causing overheating and eventual spontaneous combustion.

My guess would be (if there is correlation) that as nanos are targetting more towards the lower end of the market; people who are looking for cheap, there's more scope for reducing costs by skimping on the battery, which increases chance of there being defective circuitry controlling battery charging. OR of course it could just be coincidence :-p

No major injuries... (3, Funny)

unfasten (1335957) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:No major injuries... (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668529)

losing your right hand a "minor" injury.

But in /.-land, a tremendous setback to the love life.

Re:No major injuries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668619)

I'm a lefty you insensitive clod.

Re:No major injuries... (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668869)

My nerve damage, bitterness and cling-on attitude resulted from an iPod accident, you privileged, condescending elitist. :'(

That's what Apple gets... (1, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668425)

for making such a hot product!

Because You're Terrorism's Dream Date? (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668429)

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:Because You're Terrorism's Dream Date? (1, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668959)

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 hours during a flight, esp when there are other options to be able to do that (small very cheap mp3 players which run on normal batteries for instance).

Besides, low % per ipod * number of ipods on a plane * number of flights taken, the % chance of one happening does increase.

Re:Because You're Terrorism's Dream Date? (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669131)

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 bursting into flames, we just might not have discovered the latest batch of bad ones yet. Most will deliver fine service without venting. I would hope that most planes have some fire fighting measures aboard.

The end of apple as a name of "quality". (4, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668487)

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

Sure. Right here. [lenovo.com] I've got a T60 that run's Leopard quite happily.

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (3, Insightful)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668545)

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...

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (4, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (3, Informative)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#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

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (1)

AmishElvis (1101979) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669089)

I would argue that "must not randomly burst into flames" is a standard that should be applied to all consumer electronics, not just those of "unusually high quality."

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24669167)

Where's the fun in that? I'll bet next you'll say that lawn darts aren't an acceptable form of entertainment for kids...

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (3, Insightful)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668759)

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."

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668829)

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-alone video player it's making eh?
this is a product defect.

Of course, by standards previously set by apple (an average 6 year lifespan), this is the equivalent of "1 day after warranty", and now i'm shafted. I can't use the piece of equipment for one of it's primary uses.

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668945)

Should have bought Applecare. It's well worth the money.

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669019)

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

Re:The end of apple as a name of "quality". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24669169)

That's your plan for "high quality" products from apple?

flaming batteries... (1)

SoapBoxRants (1335927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668451)

Dude, your getting a...oh wait, wrong company.

Re:flaming batteries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668687)

It's YOU'RE, a contraction of YOU ARE. As in, "you're a fucking idiot if you can't keep them straight."

"Only a 'tiny percentage'..." (4, Insightful)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:"Only a 'tiny percentage'..." (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668823)

"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.

kill switch (-1, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668533)

Future Slashdot story: "iPod kill switch found to be more dangerous than iPhone one...cuz it tried to kill you!" If it detects you're listening to music that may suggest you're a terrorist, it tries to burn your house down lol. That or if you just oppose Steve Jobs.

Re:kill switch (1)

ekhben (628371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668679)

If you oppose Steve Jobs... doesn't that already make you a terrorist?

Re:kill switch (0, Redundant)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668689)

no it actually just means you're a reasonable person instead of a showey douchebag obsessed with image and you use something real like products and operating systems that work like creative players and linux.

Airplane fire (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Airplane fire (1)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668675)

Yup. The limit should focus on how much stored energy is allowed to be brought in a single package. I was sent an article recently on ultracapacitors, which seem near capable of powering a car. My worry was - the energy is all stored together, like rocket fuel. Low quality rocket fuel, but hey, I burn easily. At least with petrol, the oxidant is on the outside.

Possibly they should set an energy limit, in some relevant unit. For instance 10 nano-Challengers is about a gram of rocket fuel.

Don't let apple marketing see this... (0)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668575)

I can imagine the marketing in Japan now... your standard dancing silhouette holding an iPod, but only the iPod in their hands is on fire and they aren't really dancing but screaming in pain trying to put it out. ;p

iminplaya is a troll (1, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668591)

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 pacemaker, that would never happen...

iminplaya's risk assessment skills are for crap.

RS

Probably possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668607)

I know using my touch at the same time it's plugged in charging the whole back plate gets warm. So it's not far from something not being possible but the right sequence probably is needed.
But thats what you get when you use the lowest cost components and charge a premium for the end device.

OP can take a bus (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668627)

I think most of us will take our chances with these on planes. This goes for nail clippers too.

Let's not overreact (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668661)

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, which is something which would leave me alarmed.

If 1,400 had been sold in the country that lowers the failure rate to 1%. From my understanding that's not terribly bad, but of course it's batteries catching fire which is rather undesirable even if it only occurs 1% of the time.

If 14,000 have been sold thus far the chance of having your battery explode on you is only .1%. Still not something I'd want to keep in my pocket, but I think you can see where this is going from here.

If roughly one and a half million such devices have been sold the odds drop to .001%. In the grand scheme of things this is pretty low. You shouldn't quite by lottery tickets yet, but it's getting closer to that point. Then again, maybe you don't need to do that since if one of these goes up in flames you could probably get a decent settlement from a lawsuit against the company. Based on Apple's claims from the article (whether or not you care to believe them is another matter) there have been about 14 people out of roughly 1.4 million that have experienced this problem.

It could be higher than this and there are several more batteries that are potential time bombs, but I don't think it's anything to be alarmed about. I don't know how much truth there is to the number, but from various /. articles I've heard a 5% failure rate widely claimed for electronic devices. I understand that this deals with the whole device and not the batteries, but we're comparing 5% to less than .001%. I think at that rate you're more likely to be involved in a car accident (I don't have figures and couldn't find any at a glance, but based on personal observations I believe my statement to be correct.) than have your iPod battery combust on you.

The bit at the end about not wanting these devices on planes almost reeks of complete FUD. Once you go that far you might as well disallow cell phones, laptops, or any other device with a battery on an airplane. Hell, you might not want to allow anyone who looks like a terrorist (whatever that means) on a plane either since they seem to have a better track record of bringing down a plane than handheld electronic devices as far as I know. It's crap like this that ends up resulting in not being able to take bottled water on your flight.

Re:Let's not overreact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668963)

Microsoft issued a "fix" [www.cbc.ca] for the Xbox 1 being a potential fire hazard despite only 30 reported cased. Of course it didn't actually resolve the root problem [theregister.co.uk] , weak solder joints on the PSU. Seems like Microsoft didn't really learn when designing the 360...

Ultimately, I think we need better chemistry ... (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Ultimately, I think we need better chemistry .. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668825)

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.

Re:Ultimately, I think we need better chemistry .. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669157)

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.

Ever See A Flaming LiPo Battery? Very Ugly. (4, Interesting)

occamboy (583175) | more than 6 years ago | (#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!

Re:Ever See A Flaming LiPo Battery? Very Ugly. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24668785)

i bet you'd like to fill your ass with that and let it explode. dumb bitch cunt.

Re:Ever See A Flaming LiPo Battery? Very Ugly. (1)

ckthorp (1255134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668841)

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 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%). Sure as heck beats trying to lug around a lead acid battery pack in a portable device. :-)

Re:Ever See A Flaming LiPo Battery? Very Ugly. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668985)

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?

It's a feature.... (0)

Genda (560240) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668735)

This is simply a marketing problem.... the new Apple "I-burn"... with crispy icons, and carbonized gestural interface.

It can light cigarettes! Start campfires! and get rid of that pesky leaf pile for you!

Plug one in, and light it up today!!!

Re:It's a feature.... (2, Funny)

Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668997)

This is simply a marketing problem.... the new Apple "I-burn"... with crispy icons, and carbonized gestural interface.

It can light cigarettes! Start campfires! and get rid of that pesky leaf pile for you!

Plug one in, and light it up today!!!

The only problem is with all the scorch marks it will look like crap. Maybe they should call it the iSore instead?

The nano is so small.... (2, Funny)

agibson57 (1229752) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668787)

How big could the fires really be?

Re:The nano is so small.... (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668895)

I don't know it only takes an single careless match to start an forest fire. So, maybe an nano could burn down Rhode Island. Tim S

PR for apple (1)

whtmarker (1060730) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668801)

This is not good PR for apple. One of the reasons Apple's stock is so inflated is the buzz factor around its products.

It just goes to show that apple and its products are 'human', ipods are still miniature laptops, subject to the same problems.

Good for Japan! (3, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668891)

Japan demands...something or other.

And the batteries in these iPods? "Made In Japan". Glad to see they take their own QA so seriously.

Its just DRM (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668925)

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"

Pfft.. (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668931)

It's not like these people are blameless. All of them entered "Limp Bizkit Playback Mode" and all of them paid the special price.

It doesn't seem to be happening here.......... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24669039)

So I guess Brittany Spears is just hot in Japan.

Lithium Batteries (2, Informative)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Dell FireAThon and Apple HindenBook (1)

malia8888 (646496) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669115)

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??

Spin won't work. (1)

dmizer (1081799) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669163)

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

In Japan, this spin isn't likely to make much difference. Once a serious problem is discovered in a product, the Japanese public tends to assume that all of them have the problem and refuse to purchase or use it.

This attitude has brought no small number of major Japanese businesses to their knees, including (recently) Mitsubishi heavy industries [jst.go.jp] .

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