What do you need to know about the batteries in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

Published: Sep. 14, 2016 at 8:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Samsung Electronics still scrambling today to come up with short and long-term solutions to its exploding battery problem.

The company's stock price and reputation have taken a hit after reports of explosions and fires from the batteries in its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

A researcher at the University of South Carolina says the battery issue is partly due to faulty manufacturing and not confined to that particular phone.

The Samsung Note 7 is getting a lot of attention right now, but the basic problem with the battery in that phone has turned up in many other devices and forms.

You might remember not long ago when the hot consumer item was the hoverboard. Wen people began buying and using them by the thousands, some of those hoverboards were hot in another way. They had a tendency to catch on fire.

We've also seen similar issues with laptop batteries and even batteries on Boeing's 757 Dreamliner aircraft, which is partially built in North Charleston. The common thread here is lithium-ion batteries -- a technology that allows a lot of energy to be squeezed into a very small package, but with that sometimes come increased risks.

"We know how to make them so they don't explode but, of course, there's a lot of manufacturers that cut corners and don't have the tolerances that they should have," USC professor John Weidner said. "So yeah, unfortunately, we will probably continue to happen. But it's not, I don't think that's an indictment on the technology. We can make safe lithium-ion batteries."

Samsung has recalled its Note 7 phones and also has begun offering a software update that will limit to 60 percent the amount that a battery in one of their phones can be charged. But experts say the explosions and fires are likely to crop up in other devices as the use of the lithium-ion battery continues to become more common in all kinds of electronic devices.

The New York Times says, meanwhile, the FAA has been tracking battery related problems in aircraft and the paper says one estimate suggests a plane carrying 100 passengers could also have more than 500 lithium-ion batteries on board -- a problem that could continue to pose risks for air travel.

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