Apple: Exploding Headphones Not Our Fault

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, May 19, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    If your wireless Beats blow up, you are probably out of luck: Apple has announced that they will not offer any compensation to the lady whose headphones “exploded” earlier this year. The fault lies entirely with her, they claim, as she used third-party batteries. Wait, aren’t all batteries technically “third party” in this case? And assuming her statement is accurate, the packaging or documentation doesn’t specify what brands should be used.

    The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was napping on a Beijing to Melbourne flight in February when she was awoken by the sound of an explosion and a burning sensation on her face. "Our investigation indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery," an Apple representative said in a statement issued by the woman's lawyers on Friday. The woman, whose face, hands and hair were burned, had sought to be reimbursed to replace her headphones and several items of ruined clothing. She says she bought the headphones duty-free in 2014 and the AAA batteries in Australia. She says she was extremely disappointed with Apple's decision.
     
  2. Lakados

    Lakados Limp Gawd

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    The batteries are the thing that exploded, not the headphones. So she sued the wrong people.
     
  3. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, if the batteries were at fault, and they're typical AAA style, I can't see how it'd be the manufacturer's fault. She needs to go after whoever made the batteries.
     
  4. otherweeb

    otherweeb Limp Gawd

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    ...and this is why God invented Lawyers.


    This rodeo is far from over.
     
  5. britjh22

    britjh22 Limp Gawd

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    I don't see why Apple would be at fault here, seems like it was the battery which failed, unless there is some underlying issue with the headphones circuitry that could overload the battery.
     
  6. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ard|Gawd

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    She was only going after the cost of the headphones and some clothing? Surprised, honestly.
     
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  7. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ard|Gawd

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    Sometimes the bass drops TOO hard....




    *Removed section about lithium batteries d/t poor reading comprehension
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  8. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ard|Gawd

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    They weren't lithium batteries, they were standard AAAs.
     
  9. TechLarry

    TechLarry Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    It has to be this way. If they make an exception, legally bound or not, then they set a precedent that would haunt them forever.

    If anything happens it will be behind the curtain, under the table, and via carrier pidgeon delivery.
     
  10. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ard|Gawd

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    Ah. Well, I'm an idiot. It's right there both in Kyle's post and the article. Guess that makes more sense then.
     
  11. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    I haven't seen a leaking AAA battery since the early 80's & the only AAA I have ever seen even sorta explode was some Ni-cads that I shorted the wires in the harness inside a model plane by cutting them both at the same time...DOH!

    I would imagine there was issue with the circuitry in the headphones.
     
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  12. Krazy925

    Krazy925 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Was she buying crappy Walgreens AAA batteries? I had some of the AA ones leak on my last year.

    That's really the only time I ever saw that happen. WAIT Beats use AAA batteries? Seriously?
     
  13. azuza001

    azuza001 Gawd

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    Agreed, if they say the batteries were at fault because that's what exploded, so what caused them to explode? Batteries (standard aaa) don't just go pop. Something had to trigger it, and that thing was most likely the headphones unless they are saying she "put them in wrong" or something.
     
  14. collegeboy69us

    collegeboy69us [H]ardness Supreme

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    for a single apple laywer to even read or respond to this (retarded) claim... probably cost many times the amount of whatever she's seeking for batteries/clothes.

    I can't sue Chevrolet because I put bad gas in the car, I can't sue the people that made my microwave if I happen to cook food that makes me sick.
     
  15. Yaka

    Yaka Limp Gawd

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    you can very easily buy "knock" off duracell/energizer batteries without knowing it. many will be leaking not long after being in use. most are re badged low quality Zinc Chloride based and not Alkaline based.

    worst thing is there will be a few people out there who have duds in thier smoke alarms and when they need it the alarm will not save them :(

    https://thecounterfeitreport.com/product/106/AA---AAA-Batteries.html
     
  16. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Leaking is one thing, exploding is quite another. Seems like a combination of shitty batteries and shitty circuitry in the headphones.
     
  17. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Most likely cheap, no-name AAA batteries. To difficult to sue the manufacture in china.
     
  18. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ard|Gawd

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    Properly manufactured alkaline AAA batteries won't explode even if directly shorted together. They might heat up a bit, but that's about it. There's nothing the circuitry of the headphones could do to make that happen.

    The only thing that could cause this would be a defect inside the battery itself.
     
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  19. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Pretty definite statements for an imperfect world.

    If everything was so easily determinable. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot Gawd

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    Unless Apple has an "Approved for use" list of batteries, the end consumer will assume that any battery of the proper size will work. Hard to imagine a standard AAA battery exploding if installed correctly.

    Loved the following: "Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau warned in March. Sure seemed like the exploding batteries WERE in use. Wonder what they consider approved storage?

    Thinking Apple missed a PR opportunity here. They could have replaced the headphones while issuing a disclaimer of responsibility.
     
  21. Lakados

    Lakados Limp Gawd

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    The standard 1200 mAh non rechargeable AAA battery is a Li-FeS2 battery so it does contain Lithium, they don't have to be cheap no name knock off batteries they just need either a slight defect, or moderate damage from shipping or handling.
     
  22. EODetroit

    EODetroit Gawd

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  23. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think this one is provable pretty easy. Headphones don't have any internal power supply other than the batteries, so they're the only source of energy. The MAX power draw and heat you can get out of a battery is from a direct short. And a typical AAA cell has sufficient internal resistance (due to the design and chemicals used) to hit about 200mOhm. So assume a fresh, new pair of batteries with a voltage of 1.5V each, arranged in series (max voltage), you'd see a PEAK of 7.5A. (1.5V + 1.5V, through 200 mOhm +200 mOhm resistance) That's about 11.25W total. And you'd only get that much power for a few minutes at best, the voltage and current would be dropping rapidly as the battery discharged.

    I pulled this data from a typical Energizer AAA, which is Zn/MO2, not any Lithium or anything fancy. This is why you never hear about AA, AAA, or most typical battery types "exploding" or catching fire or anything really. The design and chemistry of the batteries are inherently very, very safe. Both chemically and electrically.

    There is no such thing as a "standard non-rechargeable AAA". The most common types, as I mentioned above are actually Zn/MO2. You can find "high performance" lithium-based AAAs these days (Energizer "Ultimate Lithium" for example), and those are Li/FeS2 based. Those (at least properly designed ones) have what's called the PTC (positive temp coefficient) as well as a built-in thermal switch to prevent high temps in short-circuit conditions. So even if you shorted the pack with these, they wouldn't get over 75-80C.

    That's where we get to the "properly designed" part. If you used Energizers or Duracells, they both have PTC and thermal protection built-in to each cell. If you have some off-brand cells, or perhaps even good ones that have manufacturing defects or damage, then you might see a thermal runaway and get some smoke and toasted ears.
     
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  24. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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  25. Spirit_Retro

    Spirit_Retro Limp Gawd

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    This woman is very lucky...

    If those batteries were lithium cobalt prismatic she could have blown half her face off.

    At least Apple had the sense to not use one of those (unlike so many other companies).
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  26. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    You're holding them wrong.
     
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  27. EchoWars

    EchoWars Limp Gawd

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    Any alkaline battery can and will leak if ignored long enough. 'Bout 3 years ago I dug out my Pentax flash to adapt to my newer camera, and the Energizer batteries that I'd inadvertently left in it for the past 5 or 6 years had leaked and ruined it. I made them replace the flash ($250 or so). And only last year, I had a nice tactical flashlight with Duracell batteries that were less than 1 year old leak and ruin the device (was replaced by Duracell as well, about $75). I've also found numerous devices where reasonably new batteries were beginning to leak but were saved with a good cleaning.

    So...remember that remote that you haven't used for 5 years because you have a 'universal' remote? If you left the batteries in it, there's a damn good chance that the remote is now toast.

    Personally, I've been buying lithium batteries for anything that I give a shit about, as I grow weary of the damage caused by alkaline crap. And if you find a device ruined by alkaline batteries, hold their feet to the fire and make them replace it!!

    No argument here.
     
  28. prime2515102

    prime2515102 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I saw one about a month ago, but it was a battery in a device that was stored in a box for 10+ years (it was just barely leaking). With proper use and storage I've never seen one leak though.
     
  29. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Maybe we are all wrong and she neglected to tell anyone she was spraying perfume on her neck and that is what shorted out the headphones!!
     
  30. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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    you can drop them in water and they wont blow...
     
  31. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think they blow as soon as they are manufactured, but that is another thread. /s
     
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  32. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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    just saying the beats headphones she bought Duty free aka brand "new" not from authorized retailer are more likely to be cheap knock offs than a pair of AAA lithium primaries which i will remind you have not had the history of explosive discharge the li-po/ li-ion do...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  33. chenw

    chenw 2[H]4U

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    I have had even the latest Alkaline batteries from Duracell leak, but that's mostly due to them used in devices that don't actually consume a lot of power (remote control for example) and they leaked after a long time of non-usage.

    I have switched to a much lower powered Zinc-Carbon dry batteries now, and use Alkaline batteries for power hungry devices (EG XBox one controller).

    I haven't seen an Alkaline battery leak when I used them though, only the lack of use caused leaks.
     
  34. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Beats headphones are garbage. Bose or Sennheiser all the way.
     
  35. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Bose is garbage too. It stands for Buy Other Sound Equipment

    Sennheiser is ok i find it doesn't have the quality or comfort on lower end cans that i have tried.
     
  36. Snowdog

    Snowdog Pasty Nerd with Poor Cardio

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    Almost every seldom used Remote I have around eventually has a battery leak in it. But that is an age thing. Explode is another issue entirely. I never heard of that happening with standard non rechargeable AAA or AA batteries.
     
  37. Snowdog

    Snowdog Pasty Nerd with Poor Cardio

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  38. sir-gold

    sir-gold Gawd

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    Can a company still dismiss a claim on the basis of 3rd-party batteries if 1st-party batteries don't exist? I don't recall ever seeing Beats or Apple -branded AAs or AAAs

    Unless the manual specifically lists a brand name, or it can be proven that the batteries were at fault, she might still have a case to sue.
     
  39. Neurofreeze

    Neurofreeze 2[H]4U

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    On the one hand, she isn't some bum looking for a giant handout, and it would have been a gazillion times cheaper for Apple to have just reimbursed her the stuff than have had even one of their lawyers take the time to type up the announcement.

    On the other hand, it would set a precedent that Apple would pay up for something that really had nothing to do with their hardware, and then the whackos would come out of the woodwork.

    On the other, other hand, she could have just reimbursed her and changed their documentation to explicitly state which batteries to buy or at least state that they are not responsible for 3rd party batteries to cover their ass in the future, although certifying batteries is not a quick or cheap process.

    Odd situation.
     
  40. EchtoGammut

    EchtoGammut 2[H]4U

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    Australia has extremely strong consumer protection laws, assuming she is from Aussieland. Australia has a law on the books regarding manufacturers trying to pawn the responsibility off onto third party accessories. Assuming the fault wasn't faulty rechargeable batteries, Apple could be on the hook for a lot more if they try to fight this.