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Thread: My house almost burned down today

  1. #1
    Flashaholic lateralus180's Avatar
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    Sigh My house almost burned down today

    Had I not walked in the room when I did, my house would have caught on fire. Since the fire would have begun upstairs where no one was, it would have most likely escalated to a large room fire or fully engulfed structure fire.

    I have had the 4Sevens single bay charger for about three months. It has been used to charge AW brand (exclusively) 16340's, 14500's, and 18650's. I use the black cell, protected 3.7v lithium ion batteries with my 4Sevens lights and Zebralight SC600.

    I was in and out of the room tonight while doing some chores, and had left my 2200 maH 18650 battery on charge. I keep a very close eye on the red/green LED light on the charger, and make sure I take the battery off charge as soon as the light turns green. I don't know if the charger has an auto off when it turns green, or if it continues to charge but I like to take the cell out as quick as possible to avoid over charge. With that being said, the selector slides on the face of the charger were set to the recommended setting for a 2200 maH 3.7v LiIon battery. The charge was set at 4.2v (the other option is 3.6v, used to charge 3v cells), and the other slide was set to 1A (vs 0.5A used for smaller capacity cells). These recommended settings are on 4Seven's web site. The battery was used previously in my Zebralight SC600 and I am certain that it had low life remaining.

    As I walked in the room to get something, I could smell burning plastic. I took a quick look at the charger which had a red light indicating the cell was not fully charged, and what I saw was smoke pouring out of the positive end from an opening. The charger was quickly unplugged and taken out of the room. I actually burned my hand because the bottom was so hot. The plastic on the bottom side near the information sticker was soft and bubbled, I suspect there was a small fire inside or intense heat. Had I not unplugged it when I did, I think it would have caught fire within minutes.

    What could have caused this? My guess is the circuit was goofed somewhere and the electricity was forced to circulate throughout the charger for a period, resulting in great heat build up. Any guesses?

    I am very grateful I walked in the room when I did, otherwise the wall and carpet would have been on fire at least. The whole room or upper level of the house could have been on fire as well. I have read into lithium ion battery and charger dangers, as well as fire stories resulting from mishaps.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic lateralus180's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    The AW Lithium cell was quite hot after removal, but about the same temperature as when normally charging. I tested the cell roughly 30 minutes after taking it off charge, and it seems to work fine.


    Is this perhaps something I can claim with the warranty? I had the battery set in correctly, and as stated the red led was on showing the battery was not fully charged. I am convinced I did nothing wrong.
    Last edited by lateralus180; 11-25-2011 at 07:24 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Sure sounds like a dead short in the charger. Should certainly be able to tell when you send it in to them and they check it out. They need to diagnose the failure.

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    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    I would call 4 Sevens. I have noticed my charger gets hot when charging larger batteries. I elevate it on some pieces of steel to get better air circulation. There were 2 versions of that charger. the first was recalled.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic lateralus180's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    I thought I purchased it 3 months ago, but after looking at sales records it was back in April. The charger was recalled in February I think, perhaps I got one that was recalled and never taken off the shelf?

  6. #6

    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by lateralus180 View Post
    The AW Lithium cell was quite hot after removal, but about the same temperature as when normally charging. I tested the cell roughly 30 minutes after taking it off charge, and it seems to work fine.


    Is this perhaps something I can claim with the warranty? I had the battery set in correctly, and as stated the red led was on showing the battery was not fully charged. I am convinced I did nothing wrong.
    Sounds like either a faulty charger. Lithium cells shouldnt get hot while charging. Maybe warm if youre charging at a high rate. (I.E. 1C or so) charging at 1/2C like you were, I'd expect nothing more then just lukewarm or less.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    I had a version 2 charger that started melting the case on the charger while I was charging a 4Sevens 26650. I smelled it in another room and disconnected it immediately. I sent it in to 4Sevens and they told me that it was defective and replaced it with a version 3. I am very happy that I smelled it burning! They never indicated exactly what was wrong with it. They did tell me to dispose of the AC unit because it was bad.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    I'd report this with 4Sevens and Consumer Product Safety Commission. I keep reading of all the safety risks of battery chargers, and have become wary. I think the only way battery and charger manufactures are going to improve safety is by having some expensive lawsuits. I'm still waiting for a "smart" charger.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Here is the link on how to tell if you have the recalled Version 1 charger.http://lygte-info.dk/review/Difference%20between%204Sevens%20charger%20V1%20an d%20V2%20UK.html

    Could you post some pictures of the melted charger ?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic lateralus180's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    This is a version 2 charger. Thanks for the photo diagram Lou. The melted section on the bottom is minor, but there was quite a lot of smoke and the charger still smells today even from 10 feet away.


  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    That"s the same area my version 2 charger gets hot. It used to have a smell but not anymore. I measured 120 degrees if I remember correctly. Mine didn't melt but I worried about it. That's why I blocked it up with spacers. The melted spot is proof it's too hot. Mine mostly gets hot charging the 26650 battery for my X10.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    FWIW, I have two copies of the 4Sevens charger version 3. No matter whether set on 1A or 0.5A, the charger does not get "hot", nor does the cell (18650), or does the AC adapter.

    I am puzzled by any reports of a Li-Ion cell heating (hot) during charge in a suitable charger. Even when i had the Pila IBC charger on RCR123 cells, the cells did not get hot. Warm is all I would expect from any of the components.

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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Minescence View Post
    I would call 4 Sevens. I have noticed my charger gets hot when charging larger batteries. I elevate it on some pieces of steel to get better air circulation. There were 2 versions of that charger. the first was recalled.
    Actually, there are 3 versions of the 4Sevens charger.

    On the 3rd version both inputs are 5V, whereas on the 1st and 2nd versions the inputs are 12V & 5V.
    Last edited by Black Rose; 11-27-2011 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Clarification

  14. #14

    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    lateralus180 - Sorry to hear about this. Please contact us at customerservice@4sevens.com to get a replacement v3 charger.

    -David

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    Flashaholic lateralus180's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    David

    I sent 4Sevens an email the day after I posted the thread. I wasn't aware that there was a recall before posting the thread here. I received a prompt reply notifying me that 4Sevens had shipped me a version 3 replacement free of charge. Thanks!



    For those in the market for a charger, the 4Sevens single bay has been great for me (aside from this issue on the recalled version). This thread wasn't meant to give 4S a bad rap, or to present a negative review toward the product. I have owned two ultrafire dual bay chargers and they are garbage. The 4S single bay charger worked 100% for me with no problems until the other day, but its been taken care of.
    Last edited by lateralus180; 11-29-2011 at 02:33 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Wow, these stories are good reminders not to become complacent with chargers and batteries.

    Glad you and your home are ok.

    I had some batteries to charge today, and I took the time to take the charger to work, where I can monitor it, vs leaving it at home charging.
    Fenix LD10 R4, LD20 R5, PD31 R5 :: Olight M30, M3X :: Klarus XT10, XT20, P1C, P1A, P2A, XT1C, XT1A, XT2A :: JetBeam Jet-I-Pro Cree R2 v3 :: ITP A1, A2, A3 :: Some Solarforce P60 hosts and other stuff.

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    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    My 4 Sevens version 2 charger got very hot yesterday. You can see from the photo the side is partially melted. It is the same area lateralus180 had his charger melting in post #10. I didn't take a temperature reading, but the charger was too hot to touch in the melted area. I was charging an 18650 battery on the 1 amp setting.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Lou Minescence,
    I'm very sorry to hear your V2 charger is not working properly. I've PM'd you regarding having a replacement sent to you. Please do not use that charger any longer.

    -Trevor

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    What's the cause of the melt down?
    What is the fix for the problem?
    Does V3 fix this problem? Or are we just buying an updated house burner?
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    What's the cause of the melt down?
    What is the fix for the problem?
    Does V3 fix this problem? Or are we just buying an updated house burner?
    I suspect it's a component quality issue. If the charger worked OK to begin with and only later started overheating, it indicates some internal component has started to fail and has upset the operation of the circuit. A common problem with electronics being built to spec in China is that the assembler will often substitute or source the cheapest available parts to shave pennies off the cost. Some parts like capacitors are really not durable when off brand Chinese parts are substituted for major brand Japanese parts. Put them inside a sealed box with high operating temperatures and sooner or later they will fail.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Flashaholic* Vesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    This is a good reminder. I would suggest always charging any batteries in a fire-proof container of some kind. I bought a small metal bucket from ikea for this purpose.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Can the reduced input voltage from 12v to 5v be the solution to the melting (ref)?
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    When did the V3 come out? I bought one direct from 4Sevens site for a friend in Oct.
    Light is the activity of what is transparent - Aristotle

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    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    4 Sevens customer service is great. New charger on the way. I decided to open up the old one to see what is in the melted spot. Here are a couple of photos for the curious:




    If your charger has a chemical smell while in use, check these areas as well as under the decal as shown in post #10. I only noticed the hot smell while charging larger batteries on the one amp setting. I have used the charger quite often.

    The one thing I learned from CPF is don't charge lithium-ion batteries unattended. I don't know if this hot spot would have progressed to a fire. I would guess not. I would think the what ever component would eventually have burned out and the charger would have quit. The plastic body of the charger does burn. I was able to light a test piece on fire with a propane torch.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Minescence View Post
    I don't know if this hot spot would have progressed to a fire. I would guess not. I would think the what ever component would eventually have burned out and the charger would have quit.
    Hopefully something like that wouldn't cause the lithium-ion battery to burn....or explode.

    Thanks for the photos. Hopefully someone will be able to identify some issues.

    If it was just cheap components, I suppose it is a universal potential problem with most items from China, not just 4Sevens. But if it is a 4Sevens design problem or relationship with the manufacturer, I'd stay away from it. Unless I'm assured V3 is safer. But there is now 2 documented cases of this problem on CPF. And I'm not reading similar problems with other chargers, except La Crosse.

    Lithium-ion is risky enough, and having a dangerous charger seems....asking for more risk. I guess I don't know why people are still buying a charger when there's been 2 cases of a meltdown, that could have turned into a lithium-ion explosion.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    In the top left hand corner I see "REV 3.0".
    Can you also check the voltage specification of the power supply? 5 volts is the V3.
    I presume you have a "V3" charger that had the meltdown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Minescence View Post

    Last edited by snakyjake; 12-20-2011 at 10:30 PM.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    In the top left hand corner I see "REV 3.0".
    Can you also check the voltage specification of the power supply? 5 volts is the V3.
    I presume you have a "V3" charger that had the meltdown.
    Good eye snakyjake. The charger is V2 or version 2 according to the decal on the back cover. What you saw on the circuit board must be for the circuit board it's self.

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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    When did the V3 come out? I bought one direct from 4Sevens site for a friend in Oct.
    I bought mine direct from 4sevens.ca in late October.

    Was listed as a V2 on the site, but was shipped a V3.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Whew! I think it's posts like these that keep customers (not just CPFers) safe!
    Funniest CPF thread ever. I promise it'll make your day.

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    Default Re: My house almost burned down today

    Quote Originally Posted by dudemar View Post
    Whew! I think it's posts like these that keep customers (not just CPFers) safe!
    I was thinking about a 4sevens charger but after this I think ill stick with the charger that came with my wickedlasers Arctic spyder iii. I had a shekor charger and it was VERY good but it S### the bed.

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