Over the past week there has been a massive recall issued for the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 due to several instances of their lithium batteries catching fire or exploding. Lithium batteries are used because of their high energy density and no memory effect (loss of capacity when repeatedly recharged to or from the same level) relative to other battery types. However, because of the high energy density and lithium being highly reactive to both oxygen and water, these batteries are inherently dangerous. Problems can arise when the battery does not function properly, often resulting in a fire. Although there has been no official reason for the exploding Galaxy Note 7s, most incidents have occurred when left charging so it is likely an overcharge or short circuit issue. The best course of action is to power off and stop using the Galaxy Note 7 altogether.
Although there have only been a few fires caused by faulty batteries, Samsung issued a full recall for the Galaxy Note 7. According to Samsung’s president of mobile communications business, DJ Koh, “Our number one priority is the safety of our customers. We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note7s and exchange them as soon as possible, we are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible and in compliance with related regulations.”
An important regulatory question in regards to this recall is how Samsung will facilitate the shipping of potentially faulty batteries because the transport of a faulty lithium battery is forbidden by most modes without special permits. That being said, the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States issued a statement asking passengers on aircraft to refrain from travelling with the Galaxy Note 7. Transport Canada also has issued the following statement “advising air operators, passengers and crew of this safety risk and recommends that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices be carried in the cabin, where an incident can be immediately mitigated, and not in checked baggage. Transport Canada also strongly recommends against using or charging these devices in the cabin of an aircraft.”
If you currently own a Galaxy Note 7 and have not looked into getting it replaced, do so as soon as possible by bringing it back to where you purchased it, visiting the recall website (for Canada) https://canadanote7exchange.expertinquiry.com/ or calling 1-800-517-3507.