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Power Hardware Technology

Barnes and Noble Recalls 147,000 NOOK Tablet 7 Power Adapters Due To Shock Risk (betanews.com) 55

BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Want to know something shocking? Like, literally shocking? Barnes and Noble is recalling 147,000 faulty NOOK Tablet 7 power adapters due to shock risk. In other words, owners of this tablet could face an electricity related injury when charging it. If you own this tablet, it is important that you stop using the charger immediately. While there is no guarantee that you will be injured, it is not worth the risk. Barnes and Noble will replace the power adapter at no charge. To make up for the inconvenience, the company will also give you a free gift. "Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled power adapters and register online for a free replacement adapter along with a Barnes and Noble $5 gift card. Once registered, consumers will be able to print a pre-paid UPS label to return the recalled adapters to Barnes and Noble. Consumers will receive replacement adapters in the mail. Until a replacement adapter is received, consumers are advised to charge their NOOK Tablet 7 through their computer using a USB cable," says Barnes and Noble. The book-seller also says, "This recall involves the black power adapter sold with the NOOK Tablet 7. The adapter bears markings: model number TPA-95A050100UU, manufacture date 201610. The NOOK Tablet 7 model number BNTV450 is located on the back of the NOOK. Barnes and Noble has received four reports of the power adapter breaking or pulling apart exposing the metal prongs. No injuries have been reported." If you are affected by this recall, you can visit this site and follow the instructions.
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Barnes and Noble Recalls 147,000 NOOK Tablet 7 Power Adapters Due To Shock Risk

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  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @07:45AM (#53787165)

    I mean, power adapters falling apart? Somebody obviously squeezed another cent out of the $0.05 housing, making it impossible to produce quality.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Anyone want to guess where these were made?
      There are factories that make power components in both the United States and Europe. But my gut feeling tells me that these were not made there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gweihir ( 88907 )

        That is not the problem. "Cheaper than possible" will fail just the same if made in the US or Europe, the price-point where the problem starts will just be significantly higher. So making them in the US or Europe would actually be considerably worse.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          Yet, where were they made?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

            Given the way American automobiles self-disassemble, the whole notion that things are better made in this country is a load of dingo's kidneys. It have have once been true, but now it's a lot of bollocks. MADE IN JAPAN has been the most reliable sign of quality as long as I've been alive, with MADE IN GERMANY right behind it. MADE IN USA is just an amusing footnote. Sometimes that label is stuck on something which appears to have been made out of way too much material to be necessary to do the job, and then

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              Yet, where were they made?

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              Incidentally, "MADE IN GERMANY" was intended to protect the British market against kitchen steel-wares (mostly knifes) from Solingen that were cheaper than the domestically fabricated. It was intended as a "low quality - stay away" sign that the German manufacturers were forced to add when exporting to Britain. Turns out these German steel-wares were not only cheaper but also a lot better than the British ones and the whole thing tragically backfired because people then sought out the better ones by the "MA

              • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                That's straw man argumentation.
                No one here has advocated protectionism.

                • by gweihir ( 88907 )

                  No, it is pointing out some historical facts and protectionism is most certainly how "MADE IN GERMANY" came to pass.

            • American automobiles are made in Mexico.
              • American automobiles are made in Mexico.

                And many Japanese cars are made in America. My preference is for Japanese cars built in Japan, or German cars built in Germany. Same for tools, in the same order, as well.

            • Actually, for the last 15 years or so US quality has steadily risen, because the only way to compete and offset the higher costs of producing in the US is to have significantly higher quality than China. I can justify having a saw made in the US if it will last me 5 years as opposed to the cheaper overseas stuff that falls apart in a year or two.

              As far as cars, at least for Ford, ever since their total model up redesign in the late 90s, the quality has been pretty good. I own 3 Ford trucks all over 10 yea

              • I own 3 Ford trucks all over 10 years old, purchased both new and used, and I have had to change the fuel pump and MAF in one (18 years old now, hey I should buy it a beer!) and the window lift motor in the other (12 years old), otherwise it has been oil changes and tires for all that time. Quality seems pretty high to me.

                My 1992 F250 7.3 IDI died the death of cavitation because the engine is an overbored piece of shit. But the truck is just annoyingly designed in general. e-Brake broke, that's sort of a chronic Ford problem. The carrier bearing is crap. The successor is intentionally obfuscated so that scanning it and whatnot is a PITA. Had to rebuild the steering column, replace the steering box, rebuild the steering pump, replace one brake caliper, both hubs failed. Front axle leaks, badly. Rear spring stacks separated an

                • Then it appears that you are agreeing with me? Your Ford was pre-redesign, based on a design from the early 80s(?) if I recall, back when US auto manufacturers didn't give a shit about quality and were focused on fuel economy and cutting cost because Toyota hadn't eaten their lunch yet. The redesign of the truck lines happened in 96 for the F series trucks (from what I remember) and 98 for their Ranger series. The Mustangs were also ground up redesigned around that time as well, and many of those are sti

          • I believe the current Nook Tablets are made by Samsung, if that helps.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @08:36AM (#53787281) Journal
      I'd be curious to know if it was a design flaw; or somebody pinching pennies hard enough that no QA was done and the workers were being pushed fast enough that some units didn't receive all the assembly steps they were supposed to. 4 reports out of 147,000 seems a little low for some fundamental design issue; but wholly plausible if the correctly assembled ones are just durable enough, and the line is moving fast enough that the ones that pass while the glue is being refilled just don't get glued(or any number of similar mishaps).

      Well-built AC adapters tend to be a huge pain in the ass to open, even if you are quite deliberately attempting to do so(especially the ones high-wattage enough that the whole assembly is potted, the least exciting reward for fighting your way through glued and/or ultrasonic welded plastic); so ones that you can open by accident have definitely been cut to the bone; but as an absolute failure rate those numbers aren't terribly high.

      More generally: Is it time for vendors of cheapo USB powered/charged devices to just stop pretending to care by including an 'eh, probably won't catch fire' quality adapter in every box; and leave that job either to computers or to separately purchased adapters? On the one hand, I'm not entirely sure that the savings would be passed on to the customer; but on the other, I know that I have rather more USB chargers than I have devices that need them(through a mixture of device attrition and things I only charge from computers or hubs); and that the really cheap AC adapters must cost a nonzero amount of money to include; but are sufficiently untrustworthy that they are of negligible value to me, which seems like a lose/lose situation.

      Am I just a nerd with an atypically well stocked junk drawer, or are others glutted with dubiously trustworthy pack-in adapters as well?
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        I have a ton of different 12V adapters that are all interchangeable. I would have been perfectly fine with paying $1 less for each external disk and get adapters separately. I do however think this is not about providing value to the customer, but about reducing support-calls from those unable to understand what a power adapter is and why they need to get one separately. (Yes, many people are that incompetent with regards to technology...) These support-calls may well be more expensive than including power

        • Your assessment would not at all surprise me(though 'customer confusion' didn't seem to be a problem when the industry somehow decided to make not including a cheap USB cable with most consumer/retail printers the standard; since printer companies don't tend to sell USB cables separately, especially not at Staples and the like, I always wondered if that was driven by retailers being unwilling to carry ultra-low margin, and fairly bulky, printer SKUs unless they were given the chance to sell $35 gold-plated
          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            On the subject of 12v, it's too bad that there is no(formal, there are various hacky workarounds you can find from case-mod vendors; and IBM/NCR's "PoweredUSB [wikipedia.org]" proprietary connector extension for 12 and 24v point of sale gear) connection standard for exposing 12v power from a computer's PSU for use by external hardware.

            I built one of those. They are a bit more work than you would initially expect. First, they need to be fuse-protected, because having some 50A or so flow on a short-circuit is not a good idea and the plugs are not well protected against being shortened. But the surprising thing is that they need diodes as well to prevent reverse currents, at least if you can connect more than one device. I have this for two, and when I plugged in a second HDD while the first one was running, the momentary voltage-drop from

            • Good to know. I've been poking at the idea of trying to purge my environment of wall warts and line lumps by moving AC-DC conversion duties to a single high efficiency PSU in a case with a whole bunch of front panel connectors; but (in addition to bells and whistles like load monitoring) I'm trying to avoid any unforeseen issues that would either set things on fire or damage equipment. I knew fuses were a good plan; but I'll definitely have to take note of the diode consideration.
          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            "On the subject of 12v, it's too bad that there is no(formal, there are various hacky workarounds you can find from case-mod vendors; and IBM/NCR's "PoweredUSB [wikipedia.org]" proprietary connector extension for 12 and 24v point of sale gear) connection standard for exposing 12v power from a computer's PSU for use by external hardware."

            Well, there's plenty of that, actually. You do know they make 12V car lighter coils for your 5 1/4" drive bay (and they've made them for years.) I have them installed in alm

            • by AaronW ( 33736 )

              The sad part is that years ago when my father worked for Unisys (The same company that patented GIF) he added a barrel connector to one of the PC board blanks in the back to provide 12v power. Unisys patented it.

            • I had forgotten about those; but you are correct about them existing. It's a pity that the cigarette-lighter socket, while entrenched for historical reasons; has got to be one of the more ridiculous power connectors to have ever approached mass market use.
  • Equipment designed to electrocute the owner should then self destroy by battery explosion, so that no evidence is left to investigators.
  • by fubarrr ( 884157 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @09:02AM (#53787347)

    When I was working in an electronics OEM, I witnessed such tendency: the bigger and more reputable the buyer brand is, the more hellbent they are on the most ridiculous cost saving measures.

    Conversations like one below was happening pretty much with all an every American buyer

    "-how thin can you make the plastic on this part?

    - 0.8mm but I would really would not recommend that...

    - guy interrupts, "can you make it thinner than 0.8?"

    - yes, but...

    - Amazon idiot interrupts again, "how much will it save us per piece?"

    That was a sourcing project for the first Amazon ebook reader wallwart. We also did the cover and sleeve cases for them.

    We did things that were to bigger extent more stupid than bad on extent of material scale: putting diodes in parallel, doing wire fuses, using leds in a diode role, making cases out of PLA or even crappier plastics, intentionally using recycled li-ion cells, aluminium wiring and stuff like that... All on explicit demand of a customer.

    The biggest ever saving any client had through any of those measures was 6.36 US cents per piece.

    • When I was working in an electronics OEM, I witnessed such tendency: the bigger and more reputable the buyer brand is, the more hellbent they are on the most ridiculous cost saving measures.

      Heh "they". It's really one guy (or gal, I suppose), whoever is in charge of the project and stands to take home a fat bonus if he cuts costs to the bone. The execs back home don't really care if that particular project happens at the absolute lowest cost, so long as in general their sycophants are attempting to make that happen. They can always get a new sycophant.

      • by Falos ( 2905315 )

        It's the Not My Ass contributing to the parent Race To The Bottom.

        Even engineers that know better are stuck being more immediately concerned with our beloved Metrics Quotas Deadlines Assessment circles than a vaguely distant and inconsequential pool of customers dealing with the fallout.

        I can sit here for weeks trying to research a near/impossible way to gain another 3 grams, or I can say fuck it and just use a regular, "unvalved" component. I get paid more, go home sooner, lined up for promotions, as oppos

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "using leds in a diode role"

      This is actually far more useful than you'd imagine. I make all of my rectifiers out of LEDs now days, as I get a visual indicator of whether or not it's working entirely (You can see whether you're getting the full waveform without an oscope.) Parallel diodes? That's for redundancy in case one fails. Wire fuses are no biggie, and aluminum wiring is fine if you aren't doing some stupid high-amperage application.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        This is actually far more useful than you'd imagine. I make all of my rectifiers out of LEDs now days, as I get a visual indicator of whether or not it's working entirely (You can see whether you're getting the full waveform without an oscope.) Parallel diodes? That's for redundancy in case one fails. Wire fuses are no biggie, and aluminum wiring is fine if you aren't doing some stupid high-amperage application.

        Well, in not all cases where LEDs are used do they glow. Doesn't mean they don't have useful diod

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      You left out some critical information:

      Did the product perform as the customer required?
      Did the product have a defect rate that the customer found acceptable?

      If the answer to those questions is 'yes', then why exactly was saving 6.36 cents wrong?

  • Seriously, they know I bought one of the devices. Why do I need to take my time to package the thing and send it back.
    Just send me a replacement. The SN of the unit is registered and you have to provide that to get the replacement.

    But they want me to print out a shipping label, package the old defective DO NOT USE one back.

  • I bought one of these at launch, as I was looking for a cheap Android tablet that wasn't total garbage. Since B&N seems to be willing to take a hit or sell it at break-even in order to promote their Nook ecosystem, it's actually a really good tablet considering the price. It's basically a stock Android 6.0 tablet with Nook apps installed and Google Play, unlike Amazon's entry which is stuck with FireOS.

    That said, to be clear, this is basically a relabeled off-brand tablet. In adb it shows up as "Sout

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