The Korean government concluded Monday that Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 7 explosions were caused by faulty batteries and vowed to strengthen battery safety and recall measures for smartphones.
The conclusion came after the state-run Korean Agency for Technology Standards conducted tests for three months with 14 overheated smartphones, 46 normal phones and 169 batteries given by Samsung Electronics.
“We found batteries (made by Samsung SDI and ATL) had some factors that cause explosions and did not find any problems in the device itself,” the Ministry of Industry said in its statement.
As to the level of damages, it was more serious from the battery parts compared to the circuit parts, the ministry said.
“The Galaxy Note 7 battery, unlike other models, has anode materials across both poles. The high bump of the both poles and the adherence faults in insulating tapes highly likely caused the explosions,” the ministry said.
The state-run agency said it also looked into the power control circuit, battery protection circuit, external pressure and the battery space within smartphones, but found nothing significant.
The government’s conclusion is in line with Samsung’s earlier announcement. On Jan. 23, the tech giant’s CEO Koh Dong-jin blamed batteries for the fire-prone devices, adding the device itself had no problems in terms of hardware, software and design.
In the wake of the Note 7 fiasco, the ministry said it plans to revise laws to strengthen battery safety and smartphone recall measures.
The government said it will revise a relevant law by July so smartphone batteries have to renew safety certificates every two years. Currently, they only undergo safety standard tests before being mass produced.
The safety standard for smartphones will also be revised in April to add new test items.
The nation’s safety standard is now identical to the level of the International Electrotechnical Commission and European Union. The government, however, plans to add new test items including overcharge, mechanical shock and vibration to also follow the tests done in the US, Japan and China.
The range of recall measures will also be expanded.
Currently, a company should recall products only when the problem products cause serious damage, such as death or injuries requiring more than four weeks of treatment. The revised law will allow the government to advise consumers to stop using the products before the company makes a recall.