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Samsung’s Lithium-Ion Battery Headache Gets Worse: QuickTake Q&A

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Did Samsung Rush Note 7 to Beat iPhone?

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Mobile phone users rarely consider the mini power plants that keep their devices multi-tasking all day. Now those rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are big news. Samsung Electronics Co. is ending production of its big-screen Galaxy Note 7 following more than 100 reports of fires or explosions, which affected even some of the replacement phones distributed after a recall. As batteries have gotten both smaller and more powerful, lithium-ion woes have been popping up more frequently. The batteries that power much of the information economy have led to recalls of laptops, bans of hoverboards and a delayed jetliner debut.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the compartment for the battery is a little too small and pinches the battery, causing short circuits and overheating. Samsung previously said that a manufacturing flaw brings negative and positive poles into contact, triggering excessive heat. The company said in a different report that a piece of technology that separates the electrodes might be thinning out, leading to short-circuiting. While the company had said the problem was isolated to one supplier, fires were reported on replacements as well, leading to the decision to end production entirely.