3rd-party iPhone charger reportedly claims another life

Despite warnings from Apple to avoid 3rd-party chargers for their iDevices due to electrocutions and in some cases death, yet another life has been claimed, this time in Thailand.

A 28-year-old Thai man was found clutching an iPhone 4S that had been scorched. The man from Chanthaburi province was discovered lying face down clutching a black 4S which was plugged into the wall through a charger. The man reportedly had scorch marks on his chest and left hand, which was also burned onto the device.

His 52 year old father had heard him making noises the night before, but assumed he was sleepwalking and didn't investigate according to dailynews.co.th.

Although electrocution is suspected, the authorities are waiting on an autopsy report. Judging by the photos accompanying the report, the man was not using an official Apple charger.

Apple updated its site in July to include warnings and a tutorial on official chargers for many of its devices due to the widespread use of 3rd-party offerings in the region, but it seems that the warnings have yet to reach some people.

Source & Image: Daily News (Chinese) via The Register

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The article said he was found clutching his IPhone. The voltage would have had to been over 450V for that to happen. Standards where I live are maxed out at 120V for receptacles in typical households and you are able to let go of shocks like that. I find it easier to believe the phone exploding over not being able to let go of your phone because of shock.

Hakuna1980 said,
The voltage would have had to been over 450V for that to happen. Standards where I live are maxed out at 120V for receptacles in typical households and you are able to let go of shocks like that.

Standards where you live have nothing to do with the believability of the story. The standard is 220V in Thailand.

You also assume you can readily tell its a not oem charger how hard is it to make a white usb cable and wall socket that and they stores could just sell 99% fake chargers unless you find an apple store or somthing

I don't understand how the current can get from the cable to the person via the device. There has to be questions asked about Apple's design.
Also, have never seen any other manufacturer's devices electrocute someone. Is this due to different design, are Samsung users all using 1st party chargers or are they happening but not getting reported, i.e. it's an Apple story, I'll get more clicks!!

perhaps if Apple didn't make their accessories so expensive, the need for 3rd party alternatives would disappear....

Nope, we'd still have third party chargers, always have (Even back before Apple ever made phones)

As long as it's cheaper to buy a crap charger than it is to buy a well made one (Which will always be the case), then there will be a market for bad chargers.

Padyfx said,
perhaps if Apple didn't make their accessories so expensive, the need for 3rd party alternatives would disappear....

Which is a load of crap - there third party charges are already available, they're cheaper and they're certified.

I still don't see understand how those tiny little wires in smartphone cables can carry enough current to kill someone? I mean, even assuming you had 14 AWG wire from the charge to the phone, the internal components would surely release their magic smoke, either cutting the circuit or shorting it.

Personally, I can't believe that an iPhone charger, no matter HOW bad could cause a fatal short to ground though a person holding the device. I call bullsh*t.

It's actually quite plausible.

It only takes 0.1A of current to kill someone. If the charger isn't isolated properly, and the AC input somehow tapped onto the output line, you could have a 220V potential on the iPhone chassis. If you're also unlucky to have wet hands and feet, then quite a significant current could pass through your body.

Auzeras said,
I still don't see understand how those tiny little wires in smartphone cables can carry enough current to kill someone? I mean, even assuming you had 14 AWG wire from the charge to the phone, the internal components would surely release their magic smoke, either cutting the circuit or shorting it.

Personally, I can't believe that an iPhone charger, no matter HOW bad could cause a fatal short to ground though a person holding the device. I call bullsh*t.

I've gotten shocked before and the first instinct is to let go or get away. Its not like it should've been an instant death. This is more likely to be suicide. The phone would fry before anything.

Fulcrum said,

I've gotten shocked before and the first instinct is to let go or get away. Its not like it should've been an instant death. This is more likely to be suicide. The phone would fry before anything.

The problem is the electricity causes you muscles to clench and grip it tighter. I was always taught to touch anything high voltage, even if you were very sure it is powered off, with the back of your hand, so if there is power the clenching will cause you to pull away from it.

Spicoli said,

The problem is the electricity causes you muscles to clench and grip it tighter. I was always taught to touch anything high voltage, even if you were very sure it is powered off, with the back of your hand, so if there is power the clenching will cause you to pull away from it.

This is correct, unfortunately most people don't know this.

Yeah 50mA would stop the heart.. if applied directly, but your skin has a very high resistance, so unless he probed himself directly in the hand it's unlikely. You also have to factor in if this guy is even making a circuit. Lets say in one hand he's holding two probes, he's going to get a nasty jolt from , lets say 50v 1A, but he won't die because the circuit is in his hand. Put the probe in his foot and you significantly increase his death chances.

People have been directly exposed to huge amounts of electricity and survived.

In a situation like that, the circuit would be between the phone case and another part of his body that was grounded. Just having the case energized wouldn't do anything if he's insulated.

FloatingFatMan said,
This sort of crap is WHY we have a 3rd prong in the UK. All electrical devices are properly grounded.

Exactly this, same as most countries. We also need EVERYTHING checked that comes into the country that is sold in the country. Unless it's Ebay, unfortunately where most of this half assed **** comes from.

Not only in the UK. Although not mandatory, there is also a 3rd prong in US/EU sockets. The problem is that even if there is a 3rd prong, a rubbish charger can be done so badly that it doesn't matter if there is a 3rd prong or not. For instance, I have a universal travel adapter that has a plastic 3rd prong to travel to the UK.

The problem with this death is extremely bad quality chargers.

blooregard said,
Not only in the UK. Although not mandatory, there is also a 3rd prong in US/EU sockets. The problem is that even if there is a 3rd prong, a rubbish charger can be done so badly that it doesn't matter if there is a 3rd prong or not. For instance, I have a universal travel adapter that has a plastic 3rd prong to travel to the UK.

The problem with this death is extremely bad quality chargers.

My Samsung Charger for my Note 3, the 3rd prong is plastic

The 3rd prong is for Earth, or in the case of double insulated items (like a Samsung charger) it is used to actually expose the live and neutral terminals in the socket when the plug is pushed in - which for safety reasons are covered by an internal, sprung guard when the socket is not is use - think of the children!

FloatingFatMan said,
This sort of crap is WHY we have a 3rd prong in the UK. All electrical devices are properly grounded.

If only that were true. *Many* devices have a dummy Earth pin. It's completely unconnected, and thus useless.

I have seen tear downs of these cheap chargers, and they show that many/most are so badly designed that even the slightest flaw will mean mains current going straight out the charge (USB) port. They're designed by someone whose only motivation was making a device as cheaply as possible to get as much profit as possible. There is a reason why proper chargers cost as much as they do.

FloatingFatMan said,
This sort of crap is WHY we have a 3rd prong in the UK. All electrical devices are properly grounded.
Not all devices. Exceptions are devices which are low voltage (e.g. a phone) or that have no external metal (i.e. nothing to ground).
That is why many plugs have a plastic 3rd prong.

^ That certain products are allowed to blank our the 3rd prong isn't a fault of the socked design intention, it's the fault of the morons in government allowing these companies to cheap out and use the same ****ty less-safe designs from other countries.

@ -adrian- you do understand there is not 1 universal European plug? France/Germany have their own variant compared to the rest of the EU. Long live BS 1363

Yes - because Britain was always very good in having electrical things.. like plugs and light switches in bathrooms.. central heating and yeah ..the sort of plugs. don't forget about the "Mischbatterie" long live cold and warm water being separate sorry - living in England shows how outdated just everything seems to be. how can anything there be standardworthy

Eugh. When will people stop being so tight and just buy an OEM charger, or one from a reputable brand.

If you can afford an iPhone, then an extra $15 to get a non-dangerous charger shouldn't be beyond your means.

Brian M. said,
The cable isn't the problem - it's only a USB port. It's the plug itself which is the issue.

I have to buy 'dodgy' chargers because my iPhone is black and I want black chargers to go with it! Please release official ones, Apple... or I might die soon.

kayzee said,

I have to buy 'dodgy' chargers because my iPhone is black and I want black chargers to go with it! Please release official ones, Apple... or I might die soon.

Black sharpie or spray paint. Problem solved and life saved.