Author Topic: TÜV-Rheinland certifying previously recalled product in new packaging(EE,TÜV,..)  (Read 935 times)

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Offline Max2018

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This post gives credit to a few companies. So let's start with the facts:
The RealPower PB-260 is an EE power bar with an additional enclosure around it and was certified by TÜV-Rheinland. In addition it carries geprüfte Sicherheit (GS symbol) and was first seen/listed on Geizhlas (price search) in 2017.

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https://geizhals.de/ultron-powerbank-realpower-pb-260-schwarz-gelb-193771-a1681382.html

If you don't remember it here is a little refresh: The EE power bar was recalled in 2015 after a series of incidents.
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ee-power-bar-recall-over-one-million-customers-told-to-return-battery-packs-in-case-they-blow-up-a6776436.html
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/16/ee-recalls-all-power-bar-mobile-phone-chargers-over-fire-risk


Honorable mentions go to:
1. EE for distributing a product they recalled.
Inquires were never answered/ignored.

2. TÜV-Rheinland for certifying a previously recalled product and ignoring any communication (from simple what they certified under this ID to a message making them aware of what they certified).

3. Media-Saturn holding which is best known for its brand MediaMarkt and Saturn (the major brick and mortar stores in Germany).
Kudos to them as they were the only one of that three cooperation to respond at all but that was good. They don't see any issue/concern at all (replied with 0815 standard respond that they take product safety seriously and appreciate the feedback) so it is fair to say it is okay for them knowingly selling previously recalled products if they have different packaging.
 

Offline amyk

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Do you know what the exact details of the problem were?

It's perfectly possible these are redesigns with the original problems solved.

As Dave says, "Don't turn it on, take it apaaaart!"
 

Offline Max2018

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One of the register articles mentioned dodgy cell quality and they didn't redesign anything.

Opened another one completely and the content is identical to the E1-06 ones you can find online. At first glance, it looks like a normal TP405x charger design with some kind of DW01 so what the register wrote could be true.
 

Offline m98

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So what is the company supposed to do? Go bankrupt? Have all managers commit seppuku?
You don't just stop making a product if you had to recall a faulty batch. Maybe they've changed their cell supplier, updated their QA-process or limited the maximum charging current to be safe even for the worst cells of the batch?
 

Online tszaboo

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We really dont know why the recall happened. I had a cheap powerbank go boob, because the USB connector was absolutely flimsy, and probably damaged during soldering. It was possible with a (really) small amount of force to plug in a USB connector backwards, which broke the inner plastic part of the connector, and shorted out the power to ground. The wiring inside then melted in the next few seconds.
Just replacing that USB connector with a higher quality one, and placing a PTC in the wiring/cell would've fixed it.
Former username: NANDBlog
 

Offline Max2018

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These are 1:1 identical to those recalled. This isn't like a later batch of them or refurbished.
Little side note EE is an English telco and indeed they stopped the power bar product after the recalls. Initially, they just recalled the E1-06 batch but later expanded it to all model variants/batches.

At some point, it went completely wrong. My guess EE dumped this on the original supplier which decided to add the additional housing to hide it so he could sell it again.
This makes in my eye EE the route cause of this. Real power, probably unaware, bought those from the supplier. The TÜV, on the other hand, should have been suspicious why those are rebranded in such a way and as this was in the news they should have been aware of this EE power bank. Last but not least the seller should at least pretend to care and not tell me with a standard response a recalled product is safe.
 

Offline ebastler

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I dunno. Maybe the additional metal enclosure is indeed part of a safety fix? If the thing catches fire and blows up now, at least it will cleanly eject the yellow end caps instead of bursting all over the place.  ::)

Just kidding though. It seems to me that you don't know enough about the original failure mode, as well as the technical changes made or lack thereof, to get as excited as you are about this.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Just kidding though. It seems to me that you don't know enough about the original failure mode, as well as the technical changes made or lack thereof, to get as excited as you are about this.
I am inclined to think the same: this case is inconclusive.

In a battery, the most important component is the battery itself, which might have been a bad batch, underspecified by the OEM or perhaps a specific construction aspect that was changed but is buried under its housing. That is considering the circuit is 100% identical and the current limit has not changed (a single resistor takes care of that).

Would that mean that TÜV did not do shoddy work or was blindsided? Not at all, as there are many ways to fail a test and or circumvent it (depending on the product), but I imagine the OEM would be much more careful after such high profile recall/losses.
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Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline Siwastaja

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This is one of the classic, "cut the bullshit, show me the proof" things. You may be completely right but we don't know it, and even you don't know it. More detective work is needed. First gather enough evidence, then make it public.

A comparative teardown of the recalled and "new" units would be the bare minimum to show us,
1) where the original problem was,
2) that it's still there completely unfixed.

The fact that they are still in business is uninteresting.
 

Offline tunk

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Quote
Opened another one completely and the content is identical to the E1-06 ones you can find online.
Could you please provide some links? I found these, and they're not all identical:
https://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20USB%20battery%20box%20EE%20Power%20Bar%20E1-03%20UK.html
https://youtu.be/YB7LEoWsuW8
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 12:01:40 pm by tunk »
 

Offline esepecesito

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To put it mildly, I would never, ever, blindly trust any certification. I have a very low opinion on this kind of certifications. Having known people working for a very known certification agency, I know the value of those seals.
Better than nothing, yeah, at least the insurance is going to pay when your house is turned to ashes... trust my life? Never.
 


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