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Samsung Could Look To LG For Phone Batteries After Note 7 Debacle (cnet.com) 50

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung seems to be doing everything within its power to avoid a repeat of the great Galaxy Note 7 battery crisis of 2016. That might even include buying in batteries from LG, according to a report published on Monday. Samsung currently sources its phone batteries from Samsung SDI, a subsidiary of the company, and China's Amperex Technology, but could be set to diversify its battery suppliers by inking a deal with fellow South Korean company LG Chem. Reuters cites the Chosun Ilbo newspaper as saying there is "more than a 90 percent chance" of Samsung signing up LG to provide batteries for its phones starting in the second half of 2017.
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Samsung Could Look To LG For Phone Batteries After Note 7 Debacle

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  • Do LG know something Samsung doesn't about batteries or is Samsung just passing the buck?

    "We'll give you the lucrative battery contract but you have to guarantee to cover any liabilities..."

    • > My third first post this week

      You might be spending too much time on Slashdot.

      • > My third first post this week

        You might be spending too much time on Slashdot.

        Don't listen to him. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

    • Do LG know something Samsung doesn't about batteries or is Samsung just passing the buck?

      "We'll give you the lucrative battery contract but you have to guarantee to cover any liabilities..."

      Nothing special. Battery chemistry is a bit on the iffy side for these types of batteries. Poor chemistry has been the cause of many fires and I suspected it in this case as well, despite what a bunch of no-name software developers looking to get their startup in the newspaper by pulling apart a device and declaring themselves experts in hardware have said about it.

      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        Then why would the issue have continued with batteries from a completely different manufacturer?

        • Then why would the issue have continued with batteries from a completely different manufacturer?

          Could be a mixture of things. One thing is certain. The overwhelming majority of fires were from Samsung SDI batteries, while 35% of devices out there had TDK batteries. The number of exploded TDK batteries could be counted on one hand, and stood at zero at the time of the first recall.

          It's like any electronics part. The manufacture and design of even a standard part makes for a few very different cases in resilience. This becomes especially apparent when you push the parts to the edge of their tolerance.

          Or

    • by I4ko ( 695382 )

      That's some weird way of counting. You only have 1 first post today and since today is the beginning of the week, you only have one first post.

  • by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @11:20AM (#53514059)

    I wondered the same thing. I understood that the battery itself wasn't the problem, but Samsung's insistence on making the device as small as possible, taking away clearance space that the battery otherwise needs to operate safely and efficiently.

    • As far as I know, Samsung hasn't really determined the actual cause of the issue. With a dozen incidents out of millions of phones, it's not purely a design flaw but a combination of manufacturing/design. Personally I'm speculating that some counterfeit batteries got into Samsung's supply chain and Samsung can't tell everyone that or confidence in Samsung will fall further.
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      I wonder if this second-sourcing is a different issue than the battery clearance space. Having batteries from multiple sources just makes sense, especially another South Korean vendor. I think Samsung learned from its mistake with the Galaxy Note 7, so likely a replacement device is going to be a lot better, as Samsung has to get their rep back.

      If there were a way to unlock the bootloader for installing a custom OS on new Samsung devices without frying KNOX, I definitely would move a Samsung device. Othe

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I think they are not clear on what the problem was. And their reputation can not afford an other catastrophe. So it makes some sense to go to a different manufacturer while investigated what happened.

    • I wondered the same thing. I understood that the battery itself wasn't the problem, but Samsung's insistence on making the device as small as possible, taking away clearance space that the battery otherwise needs to operate safely and efficiently.

      Who'd you understand that from? 5 software engineers who were buying some publicity for their startup software company by acquiring a Note 7, opening it up with a ruler in hand and declaring themselves experts? Because quite frankly the only report I've seen so far and the only one which has been covered in the news has come from people who have never designed any hardware.

      Would love to be proven wrong though so I have something concrete to cite in the future.

      • https://tech.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

        Engineers (never says software anywhere) from a manufacturing technology company (not a software company, thought they have some software). You seem a little biased on this.

        https://www.instrumental.ai/#b... [instrumental.ai]

        They design hardware for manufacturing lines, hardly a software company spouting off, they do this stuff for a living.

        • You didn't read the bios of any of the people involved in Instrumental.AI did you?

          Quick clue: Not a single hardware / electrical engineer in the group.

    • Maybe better manufactured batteries don't swell at all?
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @11:23AM (#53514079)
    Just buy an LG.
    • Despite being the rumored supplier for Apple's upcoming OLED phone displays, LG doesn't use OLED panels in their phones. Otherwise I would buy one in an instant. The Nexus 5 (LG-manufactured) I'm currently using is my first non-OLED phone in a while. And the screen glow from a black LCD at night drives me nuts. It makes it impossible to use the phone as an alarm clock (display always on) like I did my previous phones, because it lights up the entire room at night.
      • by I4ko ( 695382 )

        And give up to planned obsolescence? OLED degrade with time, in 2 years they will be dim and uneven. Why the hell would you buy an OLED?

  • As rival chaebol, Samsung and LG hate each other and avoid doing business with each other whenever possible. (It was a huge deal when LG and Hyundai merged their semiconductor businesses together into Hynix, and that was only because building new wafer fabs had gotten too expensive to keep going it alone.) Especially since LG is smaller than Samsung. Samsung must really have felt that was the only way to solve their problem...

    • Or there is some back channel issue that we won't here about for decades. South Korea is having, shall we say, some interesting times. The whole chaebol construct is getting quite a bit of pushback.

      This may have absolutely nothing to do with the Note 7.

    • The current corruption scandal [bloomberg.com] that broke out at the end of November revolves around the government's controversial approval of Samsung's purchase of Cheil Industries [wikipedia.org] in 2014. Among other things Cheil makes chemicals for batteries. If they had anything to do with batteries in the Note 7 I wouldn't blame Samsung management for distancing themselves as far away from them as possible. Calling them "toxic" would be putting it mildly.
  • melamine contamination causes batteries to swell
  • Seriously, there are much better options than this stupid shit. All you have to do is make the battery removable. Do that and you solve 99% of the problems associated with batteries!

    • So you can roast your fingers to nubs to save your stupid phone? What does removability have to do with this? Lots of manufacturers make non removable, non self destructing Lithium Ion batteries. A few companies have even figured out how to get thermal runaway in removable batteries.

      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        It has nothing to do with it. Idiots like the GP just think they are being clever by saying it.

      • Re: better options (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529@yaho3.14159o.com minus pi> on Monday December 19, 2016 @01:19PM (#53515167)

        No, so that if the issue is expanding batteries, the batteries can be made thinner, or they'll pop the back off, prompting the need to have the battery replaced, or so users can buy batteries from Anker or ZeroLemon (or LG), or so Samsung can ship a box of batteries to each Verizon store and let users swap them with be batteries as a 45-second exchange rather than spending an obscene amount of money for RMAs in hazmat boxes...really, the only reason the phone needed to be recalled as a complete unit is because the batteries weren't removable.

        While yes, Apple, LG, and Samsung have produced unibody phones that didn't blow up, I've yet to hear a reason why removable batteries are a bad thing for consumers with the sole exception of anorexia.

        • "I've yet to hear a reason why removable batteries are a bad thing for consumers with the sole exception of anorexia."

          I used to have an HTC Desire S, with removable battery. A drop from 5 cm with the wrong angle would temporarily disconnect the battery, leading to a power-off. I had to put in a spacer to push the battery harder against the spring contact. (it took quite a while to figure out what the problem was)

          I have a low-end LG L40 with removable battery. Every time I drop the phone, the back cover will

          • I used to have an HTC Desire S, with removable battery. A drop from 5 cm with the wrong angle....

            And I have been using a Galaxy S4 with removable battery for the last 3 years and have never had that problem even once.

            My phone cost me quite a lot of money, so I look after it. Now that the battery is beginning to discharge quicker than it used to I am thinking about buying a replacement.

            I see my friendly local computer store stocks a suitable model, and it costs something like 25 of my local dollars.

            It will take me less than a minute to replace. I will take the removable battery thanks.

          • by ( 4621901 )

            "A drop from 5 cm with the wrong angle would temporarily disconnect the battery."

            That reason is weak. When dropped disconnect the battery, it stop the battery from being used, which also stop the potential to short itself and explode.

            Battery is chemistry. If you dropped it, you should hope it break apart instead of combined the reaction and explode.

            • I'm trying to say that the construction that allows easy battery replacement comes with several points of failure that ai'd rather do without.

  • It looks like Samsung's designers are in denial.

    • Fit? Maybe they just know more about design than 5 software engineers who pulled apart a phone and declared that to be the problem in 1 day just to get the name of their new startup into the news.

      Denial must run really deep for you to take money from your own company and give it to your biggest competitor in an Asian culture of all things.

  • The batteries weren't defective. Them not leaving room for expansion in the battery cells crushed them until they shorted and that causes thermal runaway. So no matter who makes the battery, they need to design the phone to have the battery expand.
    • Do you have a cite for that from someone other than 5 programmers trying to get their name in the news to promote their startup? Or do you think Samsung decided they don't like money anymore and would give it to their biggest rival just for the lolz?

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @12:10PM (#53514545)

    ... from Boeing. They come in a nice steel case.

  • The issue wasn't the batteries themselves, the issue was that the Note wasn't engineered with any tolerances around the batteries, so any hard external pressure exerted on the case of the Note could cause the battery's internal plates to short.
  • If they do, they might not be able to come up with explosive products. They would lose their reputation as a company on fire, and might therefore not be able to re-kindle the public's interest in their products. Don't do it, Samsung.
  • I thought the problem was that teh cases didn't allow enough space for the batteries.... The batteries were never the problem, they just didn't have enough space to operate in. So not sure how this will help them....
  • Samsung currently sources its phone batteries from Samsung SDI, a subsidiary of the company

    Does that mean they do not even trust their own subsidiary?

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