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iPhone fire on flight caused by loose screw

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 07 May 2012 13:20 User comments (9)

iPhone fire on flight caused by loose screw Thermal runaway event was the result of a bad repair.
In November of last year, a report surfaced about an iPhone that started burning shortly after an Australian flight had landed. A cabin crew member had noticed smoke coming from near a passenger seat during the taxi to the gate after arrival at Sydney. The crew member instructed the passenger to throw the source of the smoke to the middle of the isle, and then discharged a fire extinguisher on it.

The source was identified as an Apple iPhone 4. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) launched an investigation into the incident, which also included the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the United States.

The investigation found that the iPhone had been repaired after the screen was damaged, and that repair was not carried out by an authorized service center. At the base of the iPhone is a 30-pin connector, held in place by two screws at either side. The investigators noted that the screw appeared to be missing.



An X-ray carried out on the iPhone showed the missing screw had been misplaced in the battery bay of the iPhone, where it punctured the Lithium-Ion battery casing and caused an internal short circuit. This led to a thermal runaway event - a situation where an increase in temperature influences internal battery conditions in a manner which causes a reaction to further increase the temperature. This process can occur very rapidly and can cause combustion of the battery and surrounding materials.

The report into the incident is criticial of the repair carried out on the iPhone, citing the following issues...
  • The incident mobile telephone had sustained a thermal runaway event within its lithium-ion battery
  • The screw that was found in the battery area had precipitated the incident and was most likely from the 30-pin connector
  • One of the screws used to fasten the main circuit board was missing
  • Two screws that retained a flexible cable were installed incorrectly (swapped locations)
  • The main circuit board flexible cable adhesive was disturbed
  • The two liquid contact indicators were missing
  • A metal clip near the battery was deformed
The ATSB is citing this incident as proof that devices using Lithium-Ion batteries should be kept in the cabin and not with other cargo during flights.

Tags: iPhone Apple
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9 user comments

17.5.2012 13:54

If the electronics I've bought exploded because of a missing screw I would have been dead a long time ago.... O.o

27.5.2012 13:59

Why do iPhones glass shatter so easily (not in reference to the combustion obviously)? Is it because they don't use gorilla glass? I haven't seen many other phones just crack like they do. Don't drop an iPhone unless you can get in a prayer before it hits the ground.

37.5.2012 14:13

Hmm, more than one screw loose in this case it seems...


47.5.2012 15:42

I am also confused about the iPhone's glass shattering anyone able to answer that? I have owned 3 smartphones and I know a lot of other people that have them as well. So far the only screens I have seen shatter are the iPhones.

57.5.2012 16:48

Paint me pink & call me morbid guys, but from looking at the one picture, that's the 'back' of the device... not the front. I.e., no glass. So , it's the plastic, glass-ish body that got busted up; not the front that seems to be confused here.

And yes. It too is the iphone as well.


67.5.2012 17:15
SmaryJerry
Unverified new user

Originally posted by KSib:
Why do iPhones glass shatter so easily (not in reference to the combustion obviously)? Is it because they don't use gorilla glass? I haven't seen many other phones just crack like they do. Don't drop an iPhone unless you can get in a prayer before it hits the ground.
Most other screens don't use glass at all, they use plastics.

77.5.2012 18:16

False.

1. Nearly all smartphones (all those worth anything at all) use glass screens. Plastic scratches far too easily.

2. The iphone have glass both front and back.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 May 2012 @ 18:48

87.5.2012 19:44

I've smashed my HD2 on concrete ground and asphalt so many times, I thought the screen was plastic. I just looked it up though and its glass?

My friends' iPhones pad the ground just once and they crack or shatter. I've got the same question as everyone else: why is it just iPhones?


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97.5.2012 19:58

Originally posted by Morreale:
My friends' iPhones pad the ground just once and they crack or shatter. I've got the same question as everyone else: why is it just iPhones?

No, Morreale, the question is, and will always be: Why are they still selling that well if anyone should be aware now of that fact, the antenna issues, the absence of a card slot, the shitty camera, the unreplaceable-unless-serviced battery, and so on?

And how, despite all those flaws, are they brave enough to justify the high price of their product calling it "intelligent design" that "just works"?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 May 2012 @ 20:05

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

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