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Thai man dies after alleged electrocution from charging iPhone 4S

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
Another iPhone electrocution has been reported in East Asia, this time from Thailand, where a 28-year-old man was reportedly killed while lying on an iPhone 4S connected to what is believed to be a knockoff third-party charger.

Thailand
iPhone 4S believed to have electrocuted a Thai man this week. | Source: Daily News Thailand


According to a report from Thai language publication Daily News Thailand (via MacRumors), police in Rayong province on Monday found the unnamed man lying prone on the floor of his home clutching a burnt iPhone 4S in his left hand.

A graphic, lightly censored photo of the body shows severe burn marks on the victim's chest and neck area, prompting officials to suspect electrocution as the cause of death. The body has been taken to an area hospital for further examination.

While the exact circumstances are unknown, the man's father said he saw his son lying on the cement floor the day before the incident, noting he wasn't wearing a shirt due to hot weather,. Later that night, the a cry was heard from the victim's room, but the father ignored the noise, attributing it to his son's history of sleepwalking. The body was found the next morning.

The father believes his son may have been talking or lying on the iPhone while it was charging, saying the handset was plugged into a wall outlet when he found the body. From the pictures taken at the scene, the adapter does not appear to be an authentic Apple product.

In July, a Chinese woman died after being electrocuted from a charging iPhone 5. Later that week, another man in China suffered a similar injury from a charging iPhone 4, leaving him comatose. In both cases, the victims were using an unofficial third-party adapter to charge their device.

Apple launched an investigation into the two Chinese incidents and ultimately posted a warning to its website regarding the use of unauthorized charging products. To educated the public on authorized adapters, the notice offered a detailed look at official designs for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad with Retina display, and iPad 2.
post #2 of 71

Have Thai authorities arrested Tim Cook yet? Because it's clearly Apple's fault for overpricing for their chargers. /s

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post #3 of 71
What are knock off chargers getting news?
post #4 of 71

What i find fascinating is that a USB cable that was designed to deliver 5V and maybe 1A was able to survive intact the voltage (up to 220V) and amperage that was enough to kill  man. One would think there would be signs of overheating, even if the deadly voltage/amperage was brief. 

post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

Have Thai authorities arrested Tim Cook yet? Because it's clearly Apple's fault for overpricing for their chargers. /s

 

Is that an actual law in Thailand? 

post #6 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalcolmTucker View Post

Is that an actual law in Thailand? 

No, but the inability to understand sarcasm when there is a /s at the end of the statement should be a crime punishable by death¡

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post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post
 

What i find fascinating is that a USB cable that was designed to deliver 5V and maybe 1A was able to survive intact the voltage (up to 220V) and amperage that was enough to kill  man. One would think there would be signs of overheating, even if the deadly voltage/amperage was brief. 

 

Great point,  But likely he was holding it improperly.  That said, however...  I wonder if the 4S has the same PMIC chip as the 3G/3GS did.  My 3GS had spilled coffee on it.  Three weeks later, the Power Management Chip shorted out, and the battery fully discharged within 5 minutes.  I replaced the battery with a full one, and quickly synced it to get my photos and data off the bad phone.

 

I think there's something funky with the PMIC chips Apple manufactures.  Again, this happened three weeks after coffee was spilled on it.

post #8 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


No, but the inability to understand sarcasm when there is a /s at the end of the statement should be a crime punishable by death¡

 

I see.  That sounds like a good crime.  Who do we linch first?

post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalcolmTucker View Post

I see.  That sounds like a good crime.  Who do we linch first?

How about your proofreader?

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post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post
 

What i find fascinating is that a USB cable that was designed to deliver 5V and maybe 1A was able to survive intact the voltage (up to 220V) and amperage that was enough to kill  man. One would think there would be signs of overheating, even if the deadly voltage/amperage was brief. 

 

Not really. It's the current that kills, and it only needs a few tens of mA, and not for very long. Even if the full 220 V were involved, most of the voltage drop would be across the higher-impedance load (body), and the cable could still comfortably deliver 1 A - way more than a fatal current.

post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

No, but the inability to understand sarcasm when there is a /s at the end of the statement should be a crime punishable by death¡

Oh, man... I laughed out loud on that one (maybe a little too loud).

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post #12 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalcolmTucker View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post
 

What i find fascinating is that a USB cable that was designed to deliver 5V and maybe 1A was able to survive intact the voltage (up to 220V) and amperage that was enough to kill  man. One would think there would be signs of overheating, even if the deadly voltage/amperage was brief. 

 

Great point,  But likely he was holding it improperly.  That said, however...  I wonder if the 4S has the same PMIC chip as the 3G/3GS did.  My 3GS had spilled coffee on it.  Three weeks later, the Power Management Chip shorted out, and the battery fully discharged within 5 minutes.  I replaced the battery with a full one, and quickly synced it to get my photos and data off the bad phone.

 

I think there's something funky with the PMIC chips Apple manufactures.  Again, this happened three weeks after coffee was spilled on it.

 

I'm impressed.  In the space of your 19 posts, Apple has progressed from a simple retailer through designing chips and now manufacturing them.

post #13 of 71
 
…third-party charger… 

 

His estate should be punished if they attempt to bring charges against Apple.

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post #14 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

I'm impressed.  In the space of your 19 posts, Apple has progressed from a simple retailer through designing chips and now manufacturing them.

 

Well, the PMIC is a different chip.  I'm not sure who the OEM is.  I think it was Cirrus Logic, but I'm not sure.  But with the magic of Google, I could probably find out quickly.

 

Or, If your an Apple Spy, I could probably send you into work and find someone who knows for sure.

post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalcolmTucker View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

I'm impressed.  In the space of your 19 posts, Apple has progressed from a simple retailer through designing chips and now manufacturing them.

 

Well, the PMIC is a different chip.  I'm not sure who the OEM is.  I think it was Cirrus Logic, but I'm not sure.  But with the magic of Google, I could probably find out quickly.

 

Or, If your an Apple Spy, I could probably send you into work and find someone who knows for sure.

 

An Apple Spy on an Apple enthusiast website. What a splendidly cunning idea.

post #16 of 71

In today's news, a third party bluetooth keyboard that could possibly connect to an iPad was used to beat a baby seal to a bloody pulp. Seal's parents sue Apple. In later news, it appears that the Seal's parents were actually Samsung managers dressed up in seal costumes. After several hours of questioning by the authorities, it appears this deceptive ploy was concocted from a company "Crisis Awareness" team meeting at Samsung headquarters.

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post #17 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

An Apple Spy on an Apple enthusiast website. What a splendidly cunning idea.

 

I have a secret I'd like to share.

post #18 of 71

Is the blue thing in the picture the part that plugs in to the wall? Looks a little junky. Never scrimp on electrical stuff - the power supply in my PC is top of the line (even though the rest isn't) and there's a proper surge protector at the wall. It's just not worth the few bucks savings to play games with electricity.

post #19 of 71
News tomorrow: South Korean children dies of electrocution from Apple products after parents receive large anonymous donation.
post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... while lying on an iPhone ...

... clutching a burnt iPhone 4S in his left hand ...

So was he lying on his left hand? Or was he first lying on his iPhone and while dying from it rolled off and held on to his iPhone in his left hand?
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post #21 of 71

Electrocution is so common in Thailand it could easily be call a national Passed time.

 

First thing I did with my house in Thailand is have the electrics re-done. I have the before and after pictures, the before would Shock you (bad pun but true).

 

Thailand just doesn't get the idea of an earth line. Most places don't have one, which is why I had mine rewired. Despite buying the copper rods, earth cables and three pin power sockets, and checking that asking for confirmation every day that the earth wires were being used, when the work was done, the only thing actually earthed was my shower (which was certainly the most important). For the rest, even though all the three pin sockets had been installed, a quick test revealed none were earthed. Sigh.

 

This story is here because it's an iPhone charger (and the vast majority of iPhones here are knock-offs anyway).

 

There is a real story here, but it has nothing to do with iPhones, and everything to do with Thais and Electrocutions.

 

Babies

Tourists

Thais

 

Way too many deaths.

post #22 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Najinsky View Post
 

Electrocution is so common in Thailand it could easily be call a national Passed time.

 

First thing I did with my house in Thailand is have the electrics re-done. I have the before and after pictures, the before would Shock you (bad pun but true).

 

Thailand just doesn't get the idea of an earth line. Most places don't have one, which is why I had mine rewired. Despite buying the copper rods, earth cables and three pin power sockets, and checking that asking for confirmation every day that the earth wires were being used, when the work was done, the only thing actually earthed was my shower (which was certainly the most important). For the rest, even though all the three pin sockets had been installed, a quick test revealed none were earthed. Sigh.

 

This story is here because it's an iPhone charger (and the vast majority of iPhones here are knock-offs anyway).

 

There is a real story here, but it has nothing to do with iPhones, and everything to do with Thais and Electrocutions.

 

Babies

Tourists

Thais

 

Way too many deaths.

 

That may be true, but in this case the iPhone charger doesn't by law require an earth pin because it has no conductive external parts and is (at least in theory) supposed to be satisfactorily isolated from the mains supply.  I get what you're saying but it doesn't apply to this case.  Yes, I'm an electrical engineer.  The unfortunate case here is that the cheap dodgy charger had insufficient isolation to the mains supply, not that there was an unsatisfactory earth connection.  Recall for this reason that the Apple USB chargers don't use earth pins either.  However the Apple power supplies would have top notch thoroughly tested isolation of mains in case of internal fault...


Edited by aussiepaul - 11/28/13 at 4:26am
post #23 of 71
Quote:
 That may be true, but in this case the iPhone charger doesn't by law require an earth pin because it has no conductive external parts and is (at least in theory) supposed to be satisfactorily isolated from the mains supply.  I get what you're saying but it doesn't apply to this case.  Yes, I'm an electrical engineer.  The unfortunate case here is that the cheap dodgy charger had insufficient isolation to the mains supply, not that there was an unsatisfactory earth connection.  Recall for this reason that the Apple USB chargers don't use earth pins either.  However the Apple power supplies would have top notch thoroughly tested isolation of mains in case of internal fault..

 

Yes, after I posted I was suddenly struck by the thought that an electrical engineer would pick up on that. It's your vocation/profession so of course you have to. But if you work the problem backwards, to why these dodgy chargers are the norm here, it comes down to the cavalier attitude towards electricity.

 

I really didn't want to do this, but now I feel compelled to, it's my vocation. Here are the before and after pictures (or as AppleInsider likes to show them, the after and before).

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, a tourist died in the floods here two years ago, because the floodwater he was walking through to get back to his hotel became live.

 

Najinsky

post #24 of 71

I bought a fake Thai charger by mistake last time I was in the country. Totally had me fooled....until it started falling apart 1 month later. The Power cord perished at a rapid rate with the outer insulator literally crumbling away in front of my eyes.

post #25 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

In today's news, a third party bluetooth keyboard that could possibly connect to an iPad was used to beat a baby seal to a bloody pulp. Seal's parents sue Apple. In later news, it appears that the Seal's parents were actually Samsung managers dressed up in seal costumes. After several hours of questioning by the authorities, it appears this deceptive ploy was concocted from a company "Crisis Awareness" team meeting at Samsung headquarters.

Did this happen before or after his marriage to Heidi Klum dissolved? Might be an extra pain and suffering claim to be made there. :/

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post #26 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I bought a fake Thai charger by mistake last time I was in the country. Totally had me fooled....until it started falling apart 1 month later. The Power cord perished at a rapid rate with the outer insulator literally crumbling away in front of my eyes.

But where did you buy it and how much did you pay? Was it at an authorized reseller or from some random street vendor?

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post #27 of 71

Is this article a reprint or did an AI staffer write it? Because if it was written by an AI staffer they should be let go. The first sentence is misleading and could have been written by Samsung itself.

 

Another iPhone electrocution...” should have been “Another third party charger electrocution...” The iPhone, assuming it was indeed being charged by a knock-off charger, didn’t electrocute anyone. The charger did. Does Apple have to suffer at the hands of so-called friendly blog sites too?

post #28 of 71

What really bothers me about news items like this is the misleading headline. It attempts to grab the reader's attention with shock, at the expense of the truth. This man did not die because he was charging an iPhone 4S. He died because he was using a knockoff charger and fell asleep on it. I understand that site owners want to pull you into their website, but these type of titles get seen by other "news" websites and the article and title gets picked up and repeated until it becomes the truth.

 

Just my 2 cents.

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post #29 of 71
Dude doesn't th iphone come with a charger? What does this mean, lose your charger and fie ?
post #30 of 71
So, he had his shirt off because of the heat, but wanted an iPhone under his body charging, doesn't that produce heat? Something seems off.
post #31 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post
 

What really bothers me about news items like this is the misleading headline. It attempts to grab the reader's attention with shock, at the expense of the truth. This man did not die because he was charging an iPhone 4S. He died because he was using a knockoff charger and fell asleep on it. I understand that site owners want to pull you into their website, but these type of titles get seen by other "news" websites and the article and title gets picked up and repeated until it becomes the truth.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

I share the same feeling about those kind of news, I think having a iProduct in a story is what made any incident an international news story every time.  I'm pretty sure there is many more electrocution incident involving cheap knock off electronics every day, but since it doesn't involve an Apple product there is nothing for the press to write about. 

 

Slashdot got an interesting article today about Telsa getting an unfair treatment from the press when Ford doesn't get any attention when they do a massive recall for the same issue. 


Edited by BigMac2 - 11/28/13 at 6:52am
post #32 of 71
I learned a lesson about cheap knock-off chargers/cables...nothing terrible happened to me, but my friend bought a 10' charging cable for his iPad for mere cents off eBay from China. A month after getting it, one night he smelled smoke and then saw the cable shoot a few sparks and burn out at the 30-pin connector. Thankfully the iPad is ok and the cable replaced with a much shorter genuine Apple cable.

He bought it so he could charge his iPad and watch movies at the same time in bed and the nearest outlet to his bed was too far for the standard length Apple cable. He'll just have to charge it to full and watch movies unplugged from now on.

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post #33 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmelapple View Post

I learned a lesson about cheap knock-off chargers/cables...nothing terrible happened to me, but my friend bought a 10' charging cable for his iPad for mere cents off eBay from China. A month after getting it, one night he smelled smoke and then saw the cable shoot a few sparks and burn out at the 30-pin connector. Thankfully the iPad is ok and the cable replaced with a much shorter genuine Apple cable.

He bought it so he could charge his iPad and watch movies at the same time in bed and the nearest outlet to his bed was too far for the standard length Apple cable. He'll just have to charge it to full and watch movies unplugged from now on.

The rule of thumb is avoid buy/use anything you can't identify a brand on it.   If the mfg is ashamed to put his name on it, why you should trust their product?

post #34 of 71
Unfortunately, your headline gives the impression that this was caused by an iPhone BRAND (i.e., Apple) charger. I realize that the article clarifies this, but many people only read headlines and are likely to be misled. Your headline, to be accurate, should have read something like:

"Thai man dies after alleged electrocution from using Fake iPhone 4S Charger"
post #35 of 71
I'm starting to think this May nave been murder ...
post #36 of 71
One thing I think we should consider is that few, if any, of us would do a hard check of an AC wall charger before using it if our device is dead. This is not the same as deciding to save a $7 on a cheap AC charger replacement, which I don't think most of us would do, but rather checking if an AC charger is of acceptable quality before using it when in a pinch.

Case in point, when traveling I sometimes have required another person's AC charger for a quick charge and have never once checked to make sure it was up to spec before using it. Frankly I wouldn't even know what to look for except to look for an Apple logo and that green dot they put on their newer 5W chargers but if I were in China that could still be a quality looking knock off and a 3rd-party option could still be abiding by safety specs.

I suppose our bet bets is to stick with name brands and if you need to charge on the run you're safest solution is to use a USB port on a PC.

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post #37 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogCowabunga View Post

I'm starting to think this May nave been murder ...

Is that your idea for the "iMurder" episode of the Murder She Wrote reboot starring Octavia Spencer?

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post #38 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

One thing I think we should consider is that few, if any, of us would do a hard check of an AC wall charger before using it if our device is dead. This is not the same as deciding to save a $7 on a cheap AC charger replacement, which I don't think most of us would do, but rather checking if an AC charger is of acceptable quality before using it when in a pinch.

Case in point, when traveling I sometimes have required another person's AC charger for a quick charge and have never once checked to make sure it was up to spec before using it. Frankly I wouldn't even know what to look for except to look for an Apple logo and that green dot they put on their newer 5W chargers but if I were in China that could still be a quality looking knock off and a 3rd-party option could still be abiding by safety specs.

I suppose our bet bets is to stick with name brands and if you need to charge on the run you're safest solution is to use a USB port on a PC.

 

The hazard clearly exists but, from the rates of occurrence that are reported, the risk is probably very low even with 3rd party chargers. That said, I believe that one of the two common fault modes in a switched-mode power supply is failure of the switching transistor - typically shorting the full input voltage to the output. That should rapidly blow the main fuse (if included in the design...) but, if one were unlucky enough to be in contact when it happens, it could be fatal.

post #39 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

The hazard clearly exists but, from the rates of occurrence that are reported, the risk is probably very low even with 3rd party chargers. That said, I believe that one of the two common fault modes in a switched-mode power supply is failure of the switching transistor - typically shorting the full input voltage to the output. That should rapidly blow the main fuse (if included in the design...) but, if one were unlucky enough to be in contact when it happens, it could be fatal.

There are also several unknowns (at least to me). We know that cheap knock-offs are very common in the countries these issues are being reported but I'm curious if that is just one of least two factors that leads to a higher than normal likelihood of fatal injury.

For instance, how does their AC power differ from other countries? How do their plug designs differ? Is it inherently more or less dangerous? IOW, do any of these a factors increase the odds of injury in a way that would not occur in another country even if using the same wall charger?

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post #40 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

The hazard clearly exists but, from the rates of occurrence that are reported, the risk is probably very low even with 3rd party chargers. That said, I believe that one of the two common fault modes in a switched-mode power supply is failure of the switching transistor - typically shorting the full input voltage to the output. That should rapidly blow the main fuse (if included in the design...) but, if one were unlucky enough to be in contact when it happens, it could be fatal.

There are also several unknowns (at least to me). We know that cheap knock-offs are very common in the countries these issues are being reported but I'm curious if that is just one of least two factors that leads to a higher than normal likelihood of fatal injury.

For instance, how does their AC power differ from other countries? How do their plug designs differ? Is it inherently more or less dangerous? IOW, do any of these a factors increase the odds of injury in a way that would not occur in another country even if using the same wall charger?

 

That's also a good point.  I think it's a pretty safe bet that the AC voltage supply regulation is poorer than in the west, and I've heard that large voltage excursions are not uncommon. That, alone, could drive this kind of failure even in a reasonably well designed unit.  It's probably too much to expect serious overvoltage protection in inexpensive consumer items.

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