In reference to Episode 325 of The Two Techies…
Something which has been on my mind to include on the show for some time now has been the issue of non-genuine, unbranded and unofficial accessories, chargers, devices etc. Basically any product connecting to your devices which will receive/give power to; regardless of voltage or amperage. Whilst some “duds” can be quite convincing to the eye, it’s no secret that such devices get a bad rep for being unreliable, problematic and outright unsafe; even dangerous, and for good reason!
If any image can show the difference between genuine and non-genuine third party products, see below. An official 60W Apple MagSafe charger (right) compared to an unofficial, third party 45W “MagSafe” duplicate. Notice anything?!
There have been countless reports over the years ranging in severity from unofficial phone chargers electrocuting users to such small (and what would at first seem insignificant) parts causing fatalities. Unfortunately, even though strict regulations exist in different parts of the world to protect the users, it isn’t always adhered to by manufactures and the problem is so mass that it is nigh on impossible to restrict their movement in the market. However, with that being said the easiest way to keep yourself safe is simple: just don’t use them! Why? Keep reading…
The main reason with these products is simply that they’re not designed correctly. This can cause a series of problems; firstly it can cause issues or completely break the device the product is connected to, and secondly it can result in a mass amount of heat building up and causing combustion. For example, when a battery gets hot enough, a positive feedback loop occurs where the battery gets hotter, which causes it to get hotter, which causes it to get hotter, and so on until it catches fire or explodes; a problem some will experience when using third-party batteries in phones, laptops etc.
The same goes for all non-genuine parts which will in some way interact with a device which uses power in any form (mains connected, battery powered etc.) That goes for USB hubs, phone/laptop batteries, chargers of any sort, any lithium battery for any portable device, non-genuine components etc. Sometimes they’re safe, sometimes they’re not – the gamble just isn’t worth the hassle.
Note; this isn’t to say that by using a genuine product you will never experience any issue in terms of function. There will always be a chance of overheating and other dangers associated with using electronic devices – but it does surely decrease the chance that you will experience any issues, and that is worth any extra money you may have to pay.
See the following video to give you an idea on just how poorly some of these devices are made.