How to test chargers and power banks to make sure they don't blow up your expensive smartphone
What's the best way to avoid problems?
- Buy devices from a reputable vendor. I've yet to come across a charger from Apple or Samsung or Amazon that has been unsafe. As for third-party brands, I've found Anker to be consistently high-quality and I've never had an issue with a product.
- Avoid no-name brands, or brands that you've never heard of.
- If in doubt, seek advice. Reputable manufacturers are always open to being asked safety-related issues, so if you think something isn't right, disconnect the device and get in touch with them.
- Don't take chances - you (and the people around you) only get one life, and it's worth a heck of a lot more than a cheap charger or power bank you picked up from a dollar store or online.
Do you come across dangerous devices?
What sort of bad things have you seen?
I've seen charger explode, power banks smolder, chargers that have metallic parts that expose the user to dangerous mains current, and I've seen countless device break apart to expose the electronics when used.
What's the most important piece of test equipment?
- Look for signs of visual damage
- Feel for overheating
- Smell for smoke
- Listen for snaps, crackles or pops when the device is in use
- Also use common sense - if something doesn't feel right, don't take chances!
What do you do with devices that fail?
I report them to the relevant authorities. I work closely with UK Trading Standards to remove unsafe devices from market.
Have you had an electric shock?
Yes, a few times.
Is it safe to leave devices charging overnight?
Technically, it should be because well-made devices have a myriad of built-in safety features.