Fake iPhone Chargers Causing Deadly Charger Electrocutions

In the past few days, there have been reports of multiple Apple iPhone charger electrocutions. In one case, a woman was killed, and in another, a man has been put into a coma.

While the past few incidents have been reported in China, Mashable states that these charger electrocutions happen all the time.

There are many brands and counterfeit chargers out on the market, and while they are cheaper, they may now be worth the savings.

Mashable stated that these fakes appear virtually identical to the real thing, although a close inspection of the fine print will often turn up text like “Designed by Abble” or “Designed by California” instead of the authentic “Designed by Apple in California.”

An authentic charger is actually a marvel of modern technology according to Mashable. As blogger Ken Shirriff explains:

“Internally a charger is an amazingly compact switching power supply that efficiently converts line AC into 5 volt DC output. The input AC is first converted to high-voltage DC.

The DC is chopped up tens of thousands of times a second and fed into a tiny flyback transformer. The output of the transformer is converted to low-voltage DC, filtered, and provided as the 5 volt output through the USB port.

A feedback mechanism regulates the chopping frequency to keep the output voltage stable. Name-brand chargers use a specialized control IC [integrated circuit] to run the charger, while cheap chargers cut corners by replacing the IC with a cheap, low-quality feedback circuit.”

The knock off chargers are not always made up to the standards of the Apple chargers. The cheaper chargers are often “shoddily made, with many of the advanced safeguards eliminated to cut costs.”

The Mashable report continued on to say that imitation chargers also don’t have the same overrides that prevent short circuits in the event of overheating or a surge in current.

How is apple fighting against the use of knock of chargers?

Mashable reported that Apple has “taken steps to make counterfeiting a bit more difficult with the iPhone 5′s new Lightning connector, which has an authentication chip designed to foil imposters.”

That of course doesn’t mean that there aren’t manufacturers working to crack the codes so they can make knock offs.

Gizmodo reported that Chinese knock-off manufacturers only took a few months to crack the code and start churning out imitation Lightning cables.

These cables where reportedly very low-quality and some were even pieced together with making tape.

So what is the moral of the story? Cheaper doesn’t always mean better…

Not everyone using a knock off iPhone charger will experience charger electrocutions.

In the cases of Ma Ailun and Wu Jian, their injuries caused by charger electrocutions were examples of the dangers of not using the designated connections.

[photo credit: huskyte77 via photopin cc]