Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pop, Sizzle - what is that awful smell...

Man, am I glad I work at home now.  If I didn't, I might not have one anymore!  I was at my desk this morning - prepping for a web seminar I'm doing in about 15 minutes when I heard this loud POP and sizzle noise.  Then, the smell wafted in - the smell of electricity and burning.  I'm walking around trying to figure out what it is - when I spy a battery pack my son left plugged in to charge while he is at school, well, what was left of it anyway:



 That green bubbly looking bit - that is the battery pack - the words "fly model set" - used to be "straight and all the same size".  It was smoking, it was hot, it was sizzling.  I unplugged it and threw it outside on the concrete porch to cool off.

After it cooled off - I read the back:


It reads

Refreshing time pleases according to the enactment of the manual refreshing, the person pleases do not leave.  When refresh to complete, asking real time to pull out the power supply, avoiding refreshing time over long, damage battery.

Damage battery indeed - damage battery, burn down house is more like it.  It was only plugged in for 30 minutes!

I guess a new rule of life is "if the back of the plug is 100% gibberish - DO NOT PLUG IT IN".

When I'm leaving my house empty for a while, I gotten into the habit of unplugging stuff - I'm definitely going to be more conscious of this in the future - I leave for days at a time, I'll be unplugging lots of stuff now.

I sort of wish US plugs were like those in the UK - with the little on/off switches on them, I'll have to search around and see if they exist - I'd replace all of my plugs with those.



Blogger bill said....

yes the do wxist. some even have circet breakers build in that will trip if they get too hot. expensive though.

Tue Sep 18, 11:11:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

I see no safety certification mark - did it evaporate after the failure ;) ?

Tue Sep 18, 12:15:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hi Tom
You might want to see if these kind of things exist in the U.S :


Essentially you plug this in at the wall, and then all your devices into it. You can have any number of them dotted over the house and can kill all the power to them with one simple press of the button.

I like the quote from their site :

"Prevents fire - Gives peace of mind that all appliances are completely off when not in use."


Tue Sep 18, 12:32:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Raj said....


Lowes stores sells receptacles with built-in switches. If you look on-line look for 'copper wiring'.


Tue Sep 18, 01:56:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous k4gdw said....

I notice that in the picture, the green LED on the charger unit appears to still be lit even after the device self destructed. Says a lot about the lack of safety considerations in the design of that charger.

Tue Sep 18, 02:31:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Yes, the green light was on - I noticed that right after the picture myself and physically took the pieces apart - removing the battery altogther

Tue Sep 18, 02:34:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I sort of wish US plugs were like those in the UK - with the little on/off switches on them, I'll have to search around and see if they exist

Alternatively, couldn't you just plug them into a surge-protecting power strip, then hit the strip's on/off switch to get all of the plugs at once?

I was going to ask who sold you that smoking monstrosity, so I can boycott the company, but it's probably futile. Everything is made in China nowadays, and if we've learned anything from the headlines the past six months, it's that Chinese manufacturers are more interested in taking our money than in our health and safety, or our pets' health.

Economists claim that the market "decides" what will sell and what will not. So, what can we do to help the market "decide" to sell us stuff made in, say, North America or Europe? When I go to the store, any store, all I see is "made in China" on label after label.


Tue Sep 18, 03:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Ontario Emperor said....

This episode doesn't sound all that...um..."refreshing."

Just out of curiosity, did you (or your son) buy this at a major chain store? You may want to report the episode to the store. They probably don't want to be carrying items like this.

Tue Sep 18, 04:18:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Ontario Emperor said....

To Anon - I don't think that the country of manufacture is necessarily the problem. You can buy good stuff from China, and shoddy stuff from here. Although I'll admit that when we seek "low-cost" suppliers, we often get what we pay for.

Tue Sep 18, 04:21:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Alan Kyte said....

The plug and battery were part of a counterfeit X-UFO that I bought from HoHoToys in an auction on E-Bay. They said it was an X-UFO in the auction and had a real X-UFO's picture in the auction, but they sold me a cheap fake. You can probably find a contact e-mail at hohotoys.com

Tue Sep 18, 06:46:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Chris said....

I have that exact same battery for a radio controlled helicopter. The charger I have is just as useless. They are a weird setup because if you leave the battery fully discharged for a period of time then the charger won't charge them. Hobby shops do sell better chargers so it might be worthwhile asking them.

Go out and by the kid a gas powered machine... you know you want to ;)

Tue Sep 18, 11:33:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Spot on previous Anon re China. Whats going on in China these days is bordering on criminal. People who used to live off the Yangtze river now dying because of the heavy pollution. All big business cares about is reducing costs. All China cares about is taking the business.

I wonder how many toys Mattell have failed to recall?

Wed Sep 19, 03:21:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Matt said....

You've mentioned this is a knockoff toy so it's no surprise, but you would think a company that wants to build a customer base would have instructions and warnings checked better.

All your house fires are belong to us!

Wed Sep 19, 09:46:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Mark Brady said....

Sorta like the bye-bye-standby products mentioned above...


x10 is sold at radio shack in addition to online. You can get built-in wall sockets or adapters that go between your appliance and the socket. Each module is individually addressable (sorta). You can connect motion sensors to turn them on and off, so the battery would only charge if someone was in the room kinda thing. They can also be scripted from your PC. Lotsa possibilities

Thu Sep 20, 11:06:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

so basically it comes down, yet again, to that dirty thieves den called eBay.

Thu Sep 20, 06:23:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alex said....

Hi! I liked your site! It's very nice!

Mon Sep 24, 03:18:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Casper42 said....

Its not "gibberish". Its commonly known on the net as "Engrish".

Checkout www.Engrish.com for more fun translations.

PS: Glad your place didnt burn down!

Wed Sep 26, 06:45:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Very Good article , this article make some interesting points.
Tactical Flashlights
r c helicopter
video game
Tactical Flashlight

Mon Jun 23, 02:48:00 AM EDT  


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