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A Charging Power Bank Left Unattended ‘Exploded’ setting a House in Nairobi on Fire

by Felix Omondi
A Charging Power Bank Left Unattended ‘Exploded’ setting a House in Nairobi on Fire

Who has the time to wait around for 2-3 hours for our most vital equipment, smartphones to recharge? We are always on the go, and so should our smartphone:

We unplugged the phones because we want mobile phones to keep us connected while on the go. We unplugged our desktop computers because we want our tablets and notebooks on the go. We unplugged our printers because we want our Wi-Fi printers on the go. We unplugged our Cable TV because we want our internet TV on the go. We unplugged our internet cables because we want Mi-Fi (Mobile Wi-Fi) and 3G/4G mobile internet on the go.

The point is, we do not have time to recharge. Wireless charge is great, but what we really need is mobile charge, if you can make that wireless, the better.

Until when we can wirelessly send and receive electricity, we must also unplug from power outlets. Thus the power bank, a device that can ‘suck in’ electricity from the wall power outlet, unplugs, and lets us charge while on the go comes pretty handy.

It is quite common to see people in the streets of Nairobi with power banks. They come in all shapes and sizes. Now thinks of this, Samsung is a pretty respectable multinational company with a lot of eyes on it, which is why the Samsung Note 7 exploding battery got noticed so fast and first.

Coming back to power banks, there are all sorts of weird brands of power banks flocking into emerging markets from China. Brands that are less popular (if at all) yet dishing out thousands of products into African markets, without stringent regulations and oversight body checking they adhere to safety standards.

While these battery packs may work, (is it to the expectations? That a different topic) you can never be too certain about their safety. To make things worse, most consumers do not follow any precautions while using these power banks. This habit of carrying around power banks in your pocket, backpack is dangerous. In China, where they are made, it is illegal to carry a power bank in your plan luggage. Meaning you should be even careful when carrying it in your backpack.

Local dailies in Nairobi are reporting of a house in Kileleshwa that had its top floor reduced to ashes yesterday. The cause of the fire is suspected to be a power bank left unattended while charging exploding and setting the curtains on fire. The fire quickly spread throughout the room reducing everything to ashes.A Charging Power Bank Left Unattended ‘Exploded’ setting a House in Nairobi on Fire

The house owner’s son had left his power bank charging, and it set fire to curtains. We tried to fight the fire but it got out of control,” a neighbor told the media.

The Don’ts when using a Power Bank

Don’t expose your power bank to extreme temperatures; don’t leave it in a parked car during very hot or cold season.

Never leave the battery charging for a prolonged period after a full

Don’t store your battery pack in a place it may short-circuit; like in your pocket or back where it may short-circuit by coming into contact with coins and keys.

Never cover the battery pack while charging, they need proper ventilation not to overheat.

Never leave the battery pack charging unattended. Most people like charging their power banks overnight or while you are out of the house.

Don’t dismantle the battery pack or attempt to repair it; most men do this.

In the event of any leakage, don’t allow the liquid to come into contact with your skin or eyes.

The majority of power banks are made of lithium-ion chemistry batteries. Thus tend to get warm during charge or discharge. However, if they feel too warm to the touch, stop charging it or using it to charge your device and seek expert’s help.

Experts argue that most power banks entering emerging markets have the fake capacity. A 10,000mAh is actually a 5,600mAh capacity battery pack. The cost of make a genuine, safety standard adherent 10,000mAh power bank would cost more than the retail price you get most 10,000mAh one retailing in the streets. As a consumer, you need to be very cautious in your use of these products.

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