Operation Safe Summer: How safe is your smartphone battery?


Your smartphone is the one thing that’s sure to travel along with you on all your summer adventures…both near and far.

But you won’t get too far if anything happens to your battery.

News 3’s Courtney Cole spoke to an expert to find out what you can do to prolong the life and safety of your phone battery.

These are the images that are still burned into the minds of many smartphone users.

Several months ago, tech giant, Samsung, was forced to recall 2.5 million of their Note 7s after the Lithium Ion batteries were exploding, burning holes through furniture and clothing.

Samsung later revealed that there was a manufacturing flaw with the batteries being used in the phones, and since many other phones use the same type of battery, I decided to take a closer look at how they work.

A lithium ion battery has two opposite electrodes. One holds positively charged ions and it’s known as the cathode, and the other holds negatively charged ions and it’s called the anode.

When the battery charges, lithium ions move from the cathode to the anode, and when you’re using the battery, the ions move in the opposite direction.

The cathode and anode should never touch, and that’s why typically, battery makers insert an electrolyte separator in between the two electrodes. When the two sides do touch, that’s what can lead to a fire or possible explosion.

So what does all of this mean when it comes to the safety of your phone battery? Is your smartphone battery dangerous?

I reached out to to Nicholas Follmar to find out. He’s one of the lead technicians at Savannah iRepair, and he told News 3 no.

“No, there’s no real danger to smartphone batteries. The Samsungs had their recalls. If you have one of those phones, make sure you take it back, iPhones–we’ve had no problems,” Follmar said.

Follmar went on to say that often times, if customers do come in with a battery problem, it’s just from regular ‘ware and tare.’

In fact, he says he hasn’t really seen too many phones explode while on the job. But, he says there is another problem he’s experienced with smartphone batteries.

“Over time, they do start to puff up like a balloon. Which I have seen in some cases, where the battery has cracked the LCD,” said Follmar.

But, you can prevent that by keeping your phone battery cool.

“It’s good to keep that at right about 78 degrees as much as possible,” Follmar told News 3.

Because when it’s hot outside, it makes the electrolyte separator react with other chemicals in the battery and that helps to create a gas that releases even more heat.

If this keeps happening, your phone can catch on fire. This is why your phones will automatically shut down when it’s too hot.

Next, make sure you don’t over charge your battery.

“When your battery is fully charged, unplug it. Don’t let it sit and charge overnight, because overcharging can eventually do some damage to it,” said Follmar.

And last but not least, make sure you keep your phone dry.

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