Could Your Electronics Explode?

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Video Transcript

Ryan: You think to protect yourself.

Julissa: You know, I always worry about this, because your devices…they get so hot.

Ryan: Yes.

Julissa: You know your laptop I start to feel the heat on my legs right there…

Ryan: Yeah.

Julissa: …and I’m like, “What if it were to explode?” And then you show me this.

Ryan: Yeah, and, you know, obviously laptops, if they’re hot enough… They call them laptops. They’re not really anymore. They’re really notebooks.

Julissa: Yes.

Ryan: But when you put them on your lap, I mean they can also mess with your reproductive stuff, guys! I was sitting on the couch next to my wife while I was working on the stuff for today and I was like, “This is really hot. What if this thing exploded? It would be pretty terrible.”

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: Okay, so let’s talk about When Tech Attacks. So, this poor guy, this is Devon James. Oh, we’ll let it load here in a second. Devon James sitting on the couch playing some video games, Julissast having a great time. And then, all of a sudden, his Dell laptop does that. Oh my God! He’s going to die! This is kind of interesting. Because that’s the part that all those news shows are watching. But watch this. He eventually blows it out. He ends up taking it outside, sticking it on his patio, because that’s Julissast smart.

Julissa: Right, right.

Ryan: And boom it explodes! And then, you know, while it’s on fire he goes into the house. This takes about three minutes or so, and it explodes again. But this is the best part. This is the best part. He comes in here with a fire extinguisher. Come on Devon. Come on out, it’s okay. Let’s get it cleaned up. Clean that up. Here he goes. This is the best part. He’s like, “Oh good, I’m safe. That’s cool.” Boom! Isn’t that terrible?

So, poor Devon James here, he’s got a Dell laptop, four years old starts using it, charging it on his couch and it exploded on him. Dell is saying that it’s possible that it was a third party battery, like a replacement battery.

Julissa: Right.

Ryan: But, the James’ family is saying, “No, that was an original battery.”

Julissa: Okay.

Ryan: So, let’s talk about lithium ion batteries. They’re kind of weird, because essentially there’s a positive charge and a negative charge, and a really thin layer of plastic between those two pieces. If that breaks and ruptures it can explode or catch fire. So, lithium ion batteries are pretty prevalent. You remember the Hoverboard?

Julissa: Yeah, yeah.

Ryan: There was recently a death off a Hoverboard the other day, where one of them exploded. You might remember the Note 7 or you might remember it looks more like this, really.

Julissa: Yes, yes, and even banned from airplanes, yeah.

Ryan: Yeah, but millions of electronics, laptops, tablets, phones all use lithium ion batteries. And the reason we use them is they’re lighter, they’re cheaper, they hold a charge better. You can let them sit in your house and charge overnight without much worry. And the chance of fire and destruction is pretty low, but it is a possibility.

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: So, here’s some was that you can protect yourself.

Julissa: Okay.

Ryan: Don’t put your laptop on your couch and Julissast let it sit there…

Julissa: Right.

Ryan: …because it gets hot on the couch and it covers those vents, and it can explode or get too hot.

Julissa: I see I’m gonna need you to take that laptop off the couch right now where I left it.

Ryan: Yes. Don’t put it on your bed, like Julissast sitting on your bed…

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: …because, there are literally pictures of people with burned beds. And watch this, this poor lady. She’s going to die, because, look, she’s got it on her covers…

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: …and everything is covering all that stuff. And she doesn’t know what’s happening. Yeah, let’s not do that. So also don’t buy cheap third party batteries. You go to Amazon, you’re like…

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: “Oh I need to get a new laptop battery,” and you buy Julissast the cheapest one there. Don’t do it, because they’re going to be Julissank. And then of course if you drop your phone, check your battery, because, not everybody does. They’re like “Oh, my screen’s broken.”

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: Sometimes, there’s that little bowing in the back, you know.

Julissa: Yeah.

Ryan: If your back of the phone’s coming up. That means the battery is unstable. You need to get rid of it. Also, don’t overcharge your batteries. That’s part of the problem…

Julissa: Yes.

Ryan: …with the Galaxy 7s. They were getting overcharged, and then they would explode and catch on fire.

Julissa: Right, because we’re always worried “Oh my gosh, my phone’s going to die, I need to make sure that it’s charging whenever I’m near a plug.” Exactly.

Ryan: Yeah, and the new thing is quick charging. Right, they’re putting all that technology in the new iPhone 8. It’s likely to have something like that. So, Julissast be careful, everybody.

Julissa: Oh, okay.

Ryan: Keep it off your lap. Keep it off your couch. You know what, Julissast get an ice bath. Sit in there. You know, never mind.

Julissa: No, that’s not good either.

Ken: Right.

Julissa: I always say with these devices, you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. I mean, you know?

Ryan: That is absolutely true.

Julissa: All right, good advice. Thanks so much, Ryan. See you in the next hour. Back over to you.


It’s not just Galaxy 7 batteries that are exploding. Earlier this year a California teen was charging his Dell Laptop on his couch when it exploded and then caught fire! Are your devices at risk? Well the bad news is… yes! But the good news is you can do a lot to reduce the risks!

So What Happened?

In February 2017, southern Californian teen Devon James was charging his 4-year-old Dell Laptop on the couch, when it caught fire while charging. He took laptop outside and three minutes later, while unplugged, it caught fire again! Video captured it exploding 2 more times after this.

These devices all have something in common – the use of lithium-ion batteries.

More on lithium-ion batteries

These batteries are used in hoverboards, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as well as millions of laptops & mobile devices. Famously, there have been hundreds of reports of laptops, cellphones & other electronics catching fire in recent years.

So why do they explode?

Lithium batteries have thin plastic layers separating their positive & negative sides. If the battery is damaged or punctured, the positive & Negative come in contact. The batteries contain a flammable fluid, so that leads to fire or an explosion.

Why do we use them?

Lithium-ion batteries are small & lightweight, making them perfect for our portable devices. The chance of fire is “statistically small”. In fact, one estimate for the whole Note 7 disaster reported that less than .01% of the Note 7s sold were actually affected by the defect.

Our Tips:

1. Don’t charge on soft surfaces like sofas and beds.

• Heat is insulated by soft surfaces
• Charge on hard surfaces to allow heat to dissipate

2. Beware of cheap 3rd party replacement batteries – they may not be as well made.

• A Dell spokesman says that Devon’s battery was not an authentic Dell battery

3. If you drop or damage your mobile device, get it checked ASAP to ensure battery is undamaged.

4. Pay attention to recalls

• 2006: Dell recalled 4.1 million laptop batteries at risk of fire
• HP just recalled 101,000 laptop batteries for same reason

5. Don’t overcharge – aim to unplug when they reach 100%.

6. Don’t leave laptops plugged in and charging all the time.

Be safe out there!

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About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at