Reminder: Cheap USB Chargers Can Be Dangerous

This is a horrible story: a woman in Sydney has died from electrocution, and the likely cause appears to be a cheap USB charger. The lesson for everyone: don't buy chargers that don't comply with Australian standards.

Power picture from Shutterstock

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the "a young woman wearing headphones and holding her laptop was found dead with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution". The charger she was using was apparently sourced from a market in Sydney's south west which was selling gear that didn't comply with Australian safety standards, lacking insulation and being made of plastic that could melt.

It's not surprising that people seek out cheaper chargers, especially given the high mark-up on some brands. The takeaway here is not to buy items that aren't packaged, since that makes it impossible to check if they comply with the relevant standards. Saving money is not worth risking your life.

Warning over USB chargers after woman dies from apparent electrocution [Sydney Morning Herald]


Comments

    The takeaway here is not to buy items that aren’t packaged, since that makes it impossible to check if they comply with the relevant standardsThere is quite a lot of packaged stuff that shows little or no compliance as well, basically 'yer cheap Chinese knock offs... It's a crap shoot all round really...

      There are also plenty of Knock-Offs that just put all the safety standards compliance on their package even though they have no compliance at all. You need to be careful.

    “a young woman wearing headphones and holding her laptop was found dead with burns on her ears and chest"
    So she got electrocuted through her headphones?

    Last edited 27/06/14 8:42 am

      It says she was found wearing the headphones. The electricity would have been conducted through her body towards the metal and wire in the headphones, and left burn marks at the exit points (ie her ears).

    So...what was using the USB charger? So far, all I've heard mentioned is headphones and a laptop, and neither would require a USB charger. Is everyone carefully not mentioning a specific, branded device that was between the headphones and the USB charger?

      Some news articles are reporting the headphones and charger were connected to a phone and the laptop was just being used separately at the time.

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