Author Topic: Warning over USB chargers after woman dies from apparent electrocution  (Read 28870 times)

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Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/warning-over-usb-chargers-after-woman-dies-from-apparent-electrocution-20140626-zsngd.html

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Mr Stowe said authorities were not aware until now of the large number of the cheap chargers that were available for sale in NSW.
That's what I'll be saying in court anyway.

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People should also not use any electrical devices while they are plugged in and charging.
That might be hard.

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Anyone with information about unapproved and non-compliant electrical or gas products should contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.
Go to your nearest hardware store.




 

Offline jlmoon

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Yes, and the other day I was evaluating some UL approved (had the holographic UL label affixed) power strips made in China.  Scratching my head on the grounding contact design, wondering how on earth those got approved. 
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Online PA0PBZ

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... the grounding contact design, wondering how on earth those got approved.  :-+
Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue.
 

Offline jlmoon

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yeah.. yeah.. I know .. a play on words.. indeed!
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Offline mazurov

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Yes, and the other day I was evaluating some UL approved (had the holographic UL label affixed) power strips made in China.  Scratching my head on the grounding contact design, wondering how on earth those got approved.

Aren't holographic UL labels available on eBay/Aliexpress for a small price? I thought that's how most of Chinese products got approved.

Chinese also like to fake CE. They like it so much that some time ago they invented the "China Export" mark which looks very much like CE to an unaided eye -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Export#China_Export
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Quote
Mr Stowe said authorities were not aware until now of the large number of the cheap chargers that were available for sale in NSW.

So Mr. Stowe, considering stuff like this has been on sale for years, how do you explain your incompetence?
It is your job to notice stuff like this.
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Offline sleemanj

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Chinese also like to fake CE. They like it so much that some time ago they invented the "China Export" mark

No thery didn't.  This has been discussed here several times.  Even the wikipedia article you linked says this is a misconception. 

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Offline Bored@Work

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So Mr. Stowe, considering stuff like this has been on sale for years, how do you explain your incompetence?

Just like with his peers in the EU competence was not a job requirement. Being able to actively look away for the greater good of businesses was a job requirement. Their he failed.
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Offline jlmoon

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breaks out his mag-glass to inspect a little closer.. that CE label..  :-DD

I just know they are some cheap sheit!!!!..
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Offline SeanB

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Quote
Mr Stowe said authorities were not aware until now of the large number of the cheap chargers that were available for sale in NSW.

So Mr. Stowe, considering stuff like this has been on sale for years, how do you explain your incompetence?
It is your job to notice stuff like this.

It was not noticed, as they were busy with decorating the offices, arranging junkets for all and sundry and debating the decor and what colour the floor, curtains and the furniture should be. That and seeing what staff car they could get and just how much they could get as "essential office equipment" and then getting the conference rooms set up for the thousands of pages of reports generated each month about these things.

Compliance, safety, oversight, those are done by somebody, possibly the guy in the little room buried in the back of a basement somewhere, with no phone, budget or anything like tools. Or did he get retrenched last year and nobody noticed.
 

Offline Jeroen3

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I've opened up one €5 charger you can buy in the Netherlands and I was shocked by the contents. Since then I'm only using genuine Apple chargers. I don't care that they are €20 anymore.
And what happens, Apple recalls its charger...

We use to say around here that Chinese people are born with the CE mark (with the wrong spacing) on their fingers.
 

Offline Riotpack

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NSW death caused by cheap USB charger
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 11:30:47 pm »
If you have seen episode 388 of the eevblog, you will see inside a cheap USB charger and learn about how dangerous they are.

I wonder how many millions of these death traps are floating around ready to kill.

Even if they "work" at 230V, a device plugged in nearby could produce an inductive kick when switched off and cause an arc over from primary to secondary on these cheap supplies.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 03:56:43 am by Riotpack »
 

Offline GEuser

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Re: NSW death caused by cheap USB charger
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 01:56:59 am »
That's a bummer .

Anyone remember the many indoor portable heater fires and deaths out here 15? or so years ago due to a faulty switch (I don't remember the company either , was  it kambrook?) , I seem to recall the punishment was the person directly in charge was demoted to a large pharmaceutical company? , not even jail-time .
Soon
 

Offline Riotpack

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I remember a certain model goldair fan heater was recalled. The mains plug and lead could get too hot and melt.

Consumers want the products as cheap as possible and the Chinese seem more than happy to oblige.
 

Offline HKJ

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It is not really surprising that accidents happens with these chargers, some of them are down to 0.5 mm isolation distance or using a 1000VDC capacitor between mains and low voltage.
I did check a couple of them here: http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/usbPowerSupplyTest%20UK.html
The check includes both performance measurements and a look inside.
 

Offline WackyGerman

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Well here in Germany there are the same problems with lots of cheap electrical stuff . The CE declaration could not be taken seriously because the mark is fixed on every item you can buy here in Europe , even on the worst cheapest crap . The customs make some control samples when the containers arrived and that s all . The crap companies even counterfeit the TÜV Certification so it is difficult for the consumers to check if the unit is ok to use or not .
In Europe we have RAPEX . It is a list of dangerous products which are still on the market or were removed and there are many many products listed in there . But seriously , does anybody look in the lists for many many hours before they buy a fan or a heater for example ? I don t think so .
 Well the fees for the traders and companies are much too low  87000 Aus$ and/or two years imprisonment for the traders and 875000 $ for the company sound like a really bad joke . They play with the life of the people and make millions of bucks with selling crap so normally they have to be punished like murders because they murder people with their unsafe products . 875000 $ is not a disincentive to the companies so they don t care about it .
 

Offline bookaboo

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It is not really surprising that accidents happens with these chargers, some of them are down to 0.5 mm isolation distance or using a 1000VDC capacitor between mains and low voltage.
I did check a couple of them here: http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/usbPowerSupplyTest%20UK.html
The check includes both performance measurements and a look inside.

An excellent read, great tear downs and analysis.
The problem is Joe public loves to "sort by price" on ebay and amazon and has no idea of the dangers. I've often warned people that if they buy a mains product for £2.99 delivered it simply can't be safe, part of the problem is the likes of apple love to price gouge on batteries and chargers.
 

Offline GEuser

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I remember a certain model goldair fan heater was recalled. The mains plug and lead could get too hot and melt.

Consumers want the products as cheap as possible and the Chinese seem more than happy to oblige.

Nope it was not that one , this other one was like 30? houses got torched and 10? or so people/kids unfortunately copped it , it was real serious stuff .(apologies if anyone associated reads this)

And i'll disagree a bit on the consumers comment on blaming only the consumer , the consumer did not design a product and also made it so cheap that it was actually dangerous and/or unlawful? , it's those bean counters up the top in a lot of other countries who want to make as much profit as they can are the ones and send their designs over to China with the specifications exactly on how to make it and what to use when doing so , so in a lot of instances China is not at fault either as they just be doing what they are told or being paid to do or they don't get paid (but I don't know in this threads topic who did what) , the consumer pays in good faith? or most times I do personally , just a thought .
Soon
 

Offline GEuser

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It is not really surprising that accidents happens with these chargers, some of them are down to 0.5 mm isolation distance or using a 1000VDC capacitor between mains and low voltage.
I did check a couple of them here: http://www.lygte-info.dk/info/usbPowerSupplyTest%20UK.html
The check includes both performance measurements and a look inside.

Typing about looking inside , but a explanation first .

I'm a hobbyist , not a "expert" , and over the years have learnt a bit about this or that and where it's not best to poke the finger , that's why I'm here as here fits in with the hobby .

So over the years all the different types stuff I have brought home from the Tip (or dump or refuse place or garbage dump or nowadays a recycling centre) just to pull apart and see how it works or if it interests me to use and repair but never for a dollar is quite a lot of stuff and heaps mostly went back too the tip! , it has amazed me sometimes that some very expensive common brand name gear has ever been sold legally in certain circumstances , bogy wiring , mains so close to low dc , so narrow tracks that small bugs fry themselves and the equipment very poor component choices or even what seems deliberate failure after the warranty built in and all that type of things , and that's going back 20 years or so with big name high dollars bits of stuff (household or general consumer stuff) .
Soon
 

Offline EEVblog

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Absolutely clueless segment on tonight's The Project TV show
They got this guy on to try and explain it  :palm:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Blasina
I'll post the video once it's up online.
 

Offline WackyGerman

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Absolutely clueless segment on tonight's The Project TV show
They got this guy on to try and explain it  :palm:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Blasina
I'll post the video once it's up online.

This makes me really curious Dave . I am really looking for this video .  :-+
 

Offline Kjelt

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No problem to use these devices as long as you are very well isolated  ;)
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Absolutely clueless segment on tonight's The Project TV show
Just one clueless segment on that show!?!?
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Woman killed by USB charger... government's fault?
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2014, 10:27:00 am »
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-27/knock-off-usb-charger-to-blame-for-womans-death/5555138

The victim was electrocuted by her non-compliant USB charger.

If someone is electrocuted by a non-compliant device, is it the user, importer or government's fault; or a combination of them all?

The user - bought something without checking compliance marks.
The importer - imported rubbish from China without checking the compliance marks.
The government - they let it happen.

I tend to blame the federal government for deaths from imported non-compliant main powered rubbish. Sure they have regulations, but they fail miserably to police them. Its a bit late to investigate AFTER someone has died. Except for laser pointers and tasers, I can buy any dangerous piece of electronics rubbish from communist China on eBay right now and import it here - no questions asked. I can also import illegal transmitters that can transmit of emergency services frequencies - no questions asked.

Is it time for governments to police dangerous imports?


 

Offline chrisc

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Wonder if the premises had a earth leakage breaker? If so (and I would hope this is likely given it's 2014), perhaps the cause was bridging between active & neutral ... though if so I would suspect that would require a more complicated series of events?

If there was no earth leakage breaker (or it was non-functional) then given it was rented premises there may be some questions the property owner needs to answer.
 


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