Monday, July 22, 2013

In the last week or so there have been multiple reports of incidents where chargers have severely harmed or even killed iPhone consumers. 

"23-year-old Ma Ailun was reportedly killed and her countryman Wu Jian is still alive but in a coma after his counterfeit iPhone 4 charger gave him a severe shock, causing cardiac arrest and depriving his brain of oxygen."
As Americans we are no strangers to fraud electronics. Especially in today's economy when most of us get excited about purchasing almost identical looking fake products for half the price of the real thing. While Apple sells its basic name-brand charger for about $20, you can find a counterfeit on the market selling for a dollar or two. The fakes appear virtually identical to the real thing but with close inspection you may find minor differences. As you can see in the images below the fine print will often read "Designed by Abble" or "Designed by California" instead of the authentic "Designed by Apple in California." 
The photo above shows a real iphone charger (left) and a fake (right)
Unfortunately, in cases like these, we should maybe become interested in a little more than the surface appearances of these products.  On the inside these fakes are poorly manufactured with many of the advanced safeguards eliminated to cut costs. 

An authentic charger is actually a marvel of modern technology. 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.
Imitation chargers also don't have the same overrides that prevent short circuits in the event of overheating or a surge in current.
You can read more about this article here.


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