Third-party iPhone charger may be responsible for Chinese woman's death

Third-party iPhone charger may be responsible for Chinese woman's death

Summary: An aftermarket charger may have played a role in the death of a 23-year-old stewardesses who was electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone 4 last week.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone
Chinese woman electrocuted by iPhone believed to be using a fake charger - Jason O'Grady


23-year-old Ma Ailun, who was allegedly electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone, may have been using a third-party USB charger, and not the OEM model provided by Apple.

The Chinese woman's unfortunate death – which occurred while answering a call on her iPhone 4 – may be the result of a faulty AC adapter according to phone expert Xiang Ligang who was interviewed (Google translation) in the matter earlier this week. Ligang thinks that the charger may have had fewer safety measures built into its hardware, and experienced a failure.

The charger in question can be seen in the screen grab from the CCTV interview above, "traces of burning" can also be seen on the side of the iPhone 4. According to the Google translation "the phone's data cable, charger and plug wire boards are intact, the phone starts up normally."

Telecommunications expert Xiang Ligang, interviewed for the news piece, said that the "Cottage charger may cut corners, the quality of the capacitor, the protection circuit is not good, leading to the breakdown of a capacitor charger, 220V AC directly into the cell phone battery inside."

Below is a picture of the OEM Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. You can see the Apple adapter in the lower left corner of the box and how it's different from the one above that's believed to have electrocuted the woman.

Apple World Travel Adapter Kit - Jason O'Grady

Tip: CNET 

Topics: Apple, iPhone

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  • Apple's strict certification

    Funny first comment was spam. Now on the matter, yet people complain about Apple's strict accessory certification, there you have the reason.
  • Very probably

    If the photo in the article is correct (and I have no reason for believing it’s no) then this does look like a very sad case, caused by a poor-quality third-party charger.
  • Third-party iPhone charger may be responsible........

    NOT Genuine Charger

    NOT Apples Fault
  • All chargers and power supplies I know

    Have a transformer and in switch power supplies an optic coupler. That way the live part of the device is completely insulated from the output.
    As I can't imagine the output to be powerful enough to kill anything, only a bad designed transformer or PCB badly designed/assembler (soldering issues, ...) could allow the flow of high voltage to the output.
    • Nice try, no banana.

      The isolation in cheap transformers breaks down easily enough, if indeed it was ever up to spec. They're cheaply made. They don't need to be badly designed.

      Optical isolators are great in a data line, but you'll never find one protecting the output of a switcher.
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • I see an advertisement in there somewhere

    Something like "Be safe. Use genuine Apple power supplies with your iDevices".
    John L. Ries
  • Errrr....

    All Apple chargers aren't grounded. They have two prongs [well North American ones].
    Since the charger was sold in China, where was it made? Maybe another country that makes knock-offs.
    Oh. I'm using a BlackBerry charger for my Samsung Galaxy S4. No issues. :-)
    Finally, if Apple didn't charge such over-inflated prices on accessories that basically cost them nothing, people wouldn't be buying these knock-offs. Come on. Spend $20+ for a charger?
  • It's The Phone Stupid!

    IMO the wonderful, beautiful aluminum crafted high tech state of the art iPhone does not have any electrical isolation between the power plug and the aluminum case in your hand. If the charger goes bad from overheating or some other fault and provides a connection between the 240 volt ac line and its USB plug and you nave a connection between your other hand or foot and ground - Poof. On the other hand my wonderful beautiful plastic crafted high tech state of the art Android phone with its micro USB power connector connected to the same charger would insulate me from the charging cable. Let the lawyers figure out who takes or shares the blame. As an Electronic Engineer with a Masters degree who worked in the field of electrical protection this is my opinion of the situation. I have not tested an iPhone 4 to know if what I propose is true but it is the only idea which makes sense to me.
    Old EE
    • I Apologize

      for the title which was inappropriate and wrong. If the iPhone's surface was completely insulated from the electronics inside the phone as it should have been, the voltage from the faulty charger would have had to come from the power cable which Ma inadvertently touched. Hopefully the results from the investigation of this incident will be made public. There is no other way that a faulty charger should be able to become a shock hazard unless the source was a lightning strike and not 240 volts from the AC socket.
      Old EE
  • r we stupid?

    again we start badgering a company. Apple a day kept the doctor away is unfortunately becoming an extinct adage. Overhearing a debate on Apple vis a vis the 'others', a friend commented that Apple is not good (actual word not used). My nephew, age 8, otherwise watching his favourite cartoon, yet multitasking, suddenly called out to his mommmmmy and stated 'mommmy uncle not good, Apple good. Please teach him.
    Now is Apple stupid or...........
  • One word was necessary to know this had nothing to do with Apple: China

    News coming from the world's pre-eminent producer of counterfeit and poorly produced second tier goods? Eye of skepticism right away. Too bad about the tragedy.
  • iPhone charger

    I think it is the fault of the lady that she is using a third-party USB charger for her iPhone, and not the OEM model provided by Apple.