Author Topic: Dodgy USB Chargers  (Read 3954 times)

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Offline madires

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2018, 12:39:27 am »
No surprises there! Or what do you expect from an US$ 2.50 USB charger? Unfortunately a lot of gadget manufactures put one of the cheapies in the box. Same for the ubiquitous SMPSU wall warts for other electronics. But as a member of this wonderful electronics forum you should be able to perform a proper QC ;)
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2018, 12:55:08 am »
But as a member of this wonderful electronics forum you should be able to perform a proper QC ;)
The issue with chargers is that you really cannot take them apart without damage. Of course really dodgy ones easily break apart so you could use it as a first test.
 

Offline Raj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2018, 01:07:40 am »
I've even seen, some of them blowing up.
One of them even had a capacitor that was under rated (4.7v) at output.
Many of them don't fit any country's socket thus keep sparking away ruining itself overtime.

And about y caps making screens go haywire. Chinese chargers do make my moto defy's screen nonfunctional when charging. But my galaxy s4, moto z, and chinese phones still function well while charging.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 01:14:55 am by Raj »
 

Offline stj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2018, 03:13:30 am »
No surprises there! Or what do you expect from an US$ 2.50 USB charger?

that's no excuse.



 
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Offline Gyro

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2018, 04:11:37 am »
My daughter won it at a tombola at this year's summer festivities at her school. All the items given away there had been donated by parents. I remember there were many of the USB power adapters. Only recently I got it in my hands again and opened it. I guess I better phone the school on monday and warn them about the adapters...

I don't know when or if they had been actually distributed by Allianz or if they just stayed in some employee's home who eventually donated them to the tombola.

Cheers,
Thomas

Might be an idea if school kids are involved, better safe than sorry. A bit delicate for the innocent well meaning parent involved though.  :(

I guess Allianz count as the importers in this case, so could find themselves on the wrong side of the law if an accident happens.
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2018, 06:13:52 am »
Those promotional items are often sold from companies that essentially search for cheap ass parts and do the printing. So you can likely find those same type of USB charger with different names on top.

So it might be a good idea to notify someone. At least with an insurer chances are they go after it. Otherwise there is also an official path with an EU warning list  (RAPEX) for such items.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2018, 07:21:23 am »
Quote
So it might be a good idea to notify someone. At least with an insurer chances are they go after it. Otherwise there is also an official path with an EU warning list  (RAPEX) for such items.

Well I bit the bullet and sent an email to their Investor relations department - the only non-phone contact I could find. It will be interesting to see what comes back. At least they can't deny knowledge of the issue now.

Quote
Dear Allianz Senior Management,

I have discovered that your Allianz badged promotional USB Chargers are very unsafe, posing the risk of fire and electrocution.

As a long time qualified electronics design engineer I can assure you that they can not possibly meet the requirements of the CE Low Voltage Directive and therefore the CE marking on them is fraudulent.

As the importers of this product into the EU, I am sure your legal team will tell you your liabilities for this under EU Law.

For further details, please see the EEVBLOG forum thread http://www.eevblog.com/forum/dodgy-technology/dodgy-usb-chargers/msg1841453/?topicseen#msg1841453 Which shows internal photos and member comment.

You may wish to submit the photos and a unit to a certified test house, eg. TUV Germany for their professional opinion but please do so quickly.

Please take immediate action to notify the public of this and recall these items before death or injury occurs.

Kind Regards,

I think that covers things enough for them to establish the facts for themselves.  I don't know how you go about the RAPEX process, maybe you want to have a shot at that.

Hopefully I've done the right thing - in all conscience, I wouldn't have felt comfortable doing anything else after seeing the photos.
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 
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Offline labnet

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2018, 08:58:47 am »
Your charger is not an isolated case. There are thousands of unique designs with hundreds of millions of chargers that would be non compliant with electrical safety and EMC.
So I think the question we should be asking is: Is personal injury and property damage increasing because of this?
In Australia, I'm only aware of one case where a woman was using her phone on a Chinese charger in the bath and was electrocuted.
Are the creepage standards too tight? Probably not. Are they hard to comply with? Not really. Is conformity testing expensive. Yes!, which probably discourages a lot of low cost manufacturers.

.. but if people are not dying and the government doesn't care (unless you a local manufacturer of course!) then where is the incentive to change things.

 

Offline Raj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2018, 02:16:05 pm »
Your charger is not an isolated case. There are thousands of unique designs with hundreds of millions of chargers that would be non compliant with electrical safety and EMC.
So I think the question we should be asking is: Is personal injury and property damage increasing because of this?
In Australia, I'm only aware of one case where a woman was using her phone on a Chinese charger in the bath and was electrocuted.
Are the creepage standards too tight? Probably not. Are they hard to comply with? Not really. Is conformity testing expensive. Yes!, which probably discourages a lot of low cost manufacturers.

.. but if people are not dying and the government doesn't care (unless you a local manufacturer of course!) then where is the incentive to change things.

People are using, phones with aluminium body, more and more, these days. Who knows who'll be the next to get a shock from insulation breakdown?
 

Offline stj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2018, 06:46:24 pm »
not just phones, 100's of things.
including metal-body flashlights.
(and wall hooks  :-DD )
 

Offline madires

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2018, 11:16:50 pm »
So I think the question we should be asking is: Is personal injury and property damage increasing because of this?
In Australia, I'm only aware of one case where a woman was using her phone on a Chinese charger in the bath and was electrocuted.

media coverage != statistics (reported accidents/deaths) != nothing happened, I'm OK, just a tingle

Are the creepage standards too tight? Probably not. Are they hard to comply with? Not really. Is conformity testing expensive. Yes!, which probably discourages a lot of low cost manufacturers.

.. but if people are not dying and the government doesn't care (unless you a local manufacturer of course!) then where is the incentive to change things.

That's the reason why countries have standards and enforce them (more or less). And we've designed our systems with several layers of safety. If a single layer fails, such like a poor creepage distance between primary and secondary side, another layer, e.g. the RCD, might save the day.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2018, 01:54:53 am »
Well, this one is a good joke by itself. And you probably need a good insurance if you're going to use it. Wait a moment, got it as a feebie with the branding of a major international -- you guess it -- insurance company!  >:D

I got two cheap power banks from this year's APEC (Applied Power Electronics Conference, the highest level of power electronics conference, with ~5000 attendees each year), branded with Linear Technology and Mouser.

Both are illegal, at least by Chinese law (Chinese law requires factory's name, contact and address be noted on product), and I bet the CE logo is a fake. There's also an FCC logo, which they don't need, plus there are no FCCID numbers.

For those events, it's more like the sponsor has no idea what freebies the guests will get, it's all operated by third party event organizers which have no tech knowledge.

And no, not every engineer knows about safety. I've seen TI videos featuring 830B meters, and I've seen a live Tek product show blowing up devices.
 

Offline Raj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2018, 02:00:27 am »
not just phones, 100's of things.
including metal-body flashlights.
(and wall hooks  :-DD )

Yes, choose a wrong spot to drill holes for the screws of a wall hook, and Kaboom! electric shock
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2018, 07:44:51 am »
Quote
There's also an FCC logo, which they don't need

Techically they should, switching supplies are EMI producers.
*BZZZZZZAAAAAP*
Voltamort strikes again!
Explodingus - someone who frequently causes accidental explosions
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2018, 07:55:17 am »
Both are illegal, at least by Chinese law (Chinese law requires factory's name, contact and address be noted on product), and I bet the CE logo is a fake. There's also an FCC logo, which they don't need, plus there are no FCCID numbers.
I don't see any reason why there should be FCC ID. Also, then iphone should be illegal as well, as there in no factory name.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 08:02:05 am by wraper »
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2018, 08:01:37 am »
Both are illegal, at least by Chinese law (Chinese law requires factory's name, contact and address be noted on product), and I bet the CE logo is a fake. There's also an FCC logo, which they don't need, plus there are no FCCID numbers.
I don't see a reason why there should be FCC ID. Also, then iphone should be illegal as well, as there in no factory name.

Remember the company name starting with A and the address in Cupertino? It doesn't have to be the OEM. Any company that is responsible to the product will do.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #41 on: September 28, 2018, 08:06:50 am »
Remember the company name starting with A and the address in Cupertino? It doesn't have to be the OEM. Any company that is responsible to the product will do.
Well, there is no address on the iphone or any other device I see around. And you have company name on the power bank.
 

Online GeoffreyF

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #42 on: October 06, 2018, 11:58:52 am »
There is a related piece to this discussion and that is the power supplies in LED Incandescent bulb replacements.  My guess is that a lot of these products will not last as long as one would expect the LED's to last. The end of life will come sooner than later for the quality of the power supply.

Rules are a little different because they don't drive a USB cable to something else and the product isn't intended to be held in the hand as a cell phone is.   Longevity is up for discussion and fire hazard as well. 
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2018, 06:47:51 pm »
There is a related piece to this discussion and that is the power supplies in LED Incandescent bulb replacements.  My guess is that a lot of these products will not last as long as one would expect the LED's to last. The end of life will come sooner than later for the quality of the power supply.

Rules are a little different because they don't drive a USB cable to something else and the product isn't intended to be held in the hand as a cell phone is.   Longevity is up for discussion and fire hazard as well.
There are tons of corncob bulbs which can give you electric shock while screwing/plugging them in. Exposed leds are under mains voltage.
 

Offline Raj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2018, 07:31:54 pm »
simple pet plastic cover can solve that
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2018, 09:48:39 pm »
simple pet plastic cover can solve that
There a lot of bulbs with plastic cover as well. That cover usually is so flimsy that can fall off by barely touching it. Also it worsens cooling. Crap chargers can be made much safer by increasing creepage distance from insane 1mm or sometimes even less, at zero cost. However people producing such crap simply don't bother.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 09:51:36 pm by wraper »
 

Offline madires

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2018, 10:48:18 pm »
Not at zero cost. A proper creepage distance would increase the PCB by about 2cm², also the enclosure. Just a few cents, but not zero.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2018, 11:18:21 pm »
Not at zero cost. A proper creepage distance would increase the PCB by about 2cm², also the enclosure. Just a few cents, but not zero.
Nope, usually those PCBs have enough space to increase creepage to somewhat acceptable level just by rearranging component placement.
 

Online wraper

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #48 on: October 06, 2018, 11:22:27 pm »
Here is example.  Just by rearranging layout a little bit, creepage distance could be increased several times.

 

Offline stj

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Re: Dodgy USB Chargers
« Reply #49 on: October 07, 2018, 03:26:42 am »
that looks like an original i-pad charger!!
 


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