made-by-monkeys2

Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.

What, You’ve Never Seen a Pregnant iPod Before??

 

nanobattery-3a.jpg                                                                                                                            Though I’ve read about the potential for lithium ion batteries to bloat up when improperly charged, and even blogged here about it before, I’ve never actually seen one.

So it was pretty impressive to come across some pix and description of a swollen iPod Nano battery posted by David Kerry in his blog post iPod Cause of Death: Dangerous Battery. He figures it swelled to 3X its original size. (Check out the other great photos here too!)

After removing the iPod’s cover (which didn’t take long for obvious reasons), Kerry writes:

“What I was greeted with inside was rather shocking. It would appear as though my battery has swollen to around three times it’s original size and I’ve narrowly escaped a melting or exploding iPod. The swelling had not only wedged the select button permanently out rendering it, and the iPod useless, but also the front of the casing is actually cracked, a fact I had not initially noticed as it’s not easily visible on the white backing.

I’m going to attempt to bring this to Apple’s attention, as I believe this has been caused by a s***ty in-car charger, however I think Apple should be told just in-case there’s a small chance there’s a dodgy batch of two year old Nano’s out there about to start popping.”

Kerry says he never really got a satisfactory answer out of Apple — but I’d finger the in-car charger or a malfunction with the device’s internal charging circuits. There is a limit on how much currrent can be put through a lithium-ion cell. Exceeding it can produce a chemical reaction that causes the battery to swell up, as described in my blog post here.

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1 Comment

  1. James Start
    November 19, 2008 12:26

    This occurred with my Thomson jukebox (hard drive mp3 player) which was about 8 months old.
    I just don’t trust Li-ion technology, especially after the recent laptop troubles.
    Just imagine a battery powered (electric) car with a bloating Li-ion battery – time bomb. This technology is just not mature!