The e-cig fire debate (part two)

In the first post on this topic, we looked at the responsibility aspect that manufacturer’s have to take into account when they complain that it is ‘user error’ that is causing fires with e-cigs across the world. Thee are many examples of these fires and other related incidents, and the bottom line is that user error is no longer a viable reason for the fires. Users are not accountable for the fires that are taking place, and the manufacturers themselves should be looking at ways in which they can assure customers that their electronic cigarettes will not explode in a ball of flame.

We think another thing that could be studied is the process of manufacture itself. Engineers are very clever people, and the manufacturers of these e-cigs should have a team of engineers that are able to look at the product and ascertain why there may be a problem.

The most common reason cited for these fires is the chargers. It’s the charger’s fault, basically. If we could only take care of the charger issue we would have an end to the problems and much safer use of e-cigs.

A lack of circuitry

One often-cited reason for e-cigs exploding is that the charger or the battery in the e-cig lacks a certain amount of circuitry. This circuitry would do a particular job, namely identifying that a battery is full. If neither the battery nor the charger can identify that the charge is full then there is a problem. The charger will just keep on supplying juice to a device that cannot take nay more, and then the subsequent overload will cause a fire to take place. This has been cited as a reason for some time now, and it is seems very viable when you consider that this is new technology and that there are bound to be ‘teething problems’.

Another ‘reason’ why these chargers are causing problems is that the USB ports that are used to charge up the e-cigs via the chargers are just too powerful for the chargers. This means that the chargers simply give up the ghost and release all that voltage, just in the wrong way.

Product testing

Whichever reason holds true, there are a couple of considerations here. The first one is obvious. There is such a thing as product testing, and if a manufacturer cannot integrate rigorous product testing before market then they really should not be manufacturing.

The other thing is about damage control. If these manufacturers want to stay in the game then they have to get their engineers on the case to deal with the problem and find a solution. Surely all those educated men and women can take the device to pieces and work out why it is setting on fire? More to the point, surely the e-cig manufacturers want their engineers to get to the bottom of this problem?

The FDA is about to talk about regulation. A good set of manufacturing process guidelines may be a good idea.

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