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Dangers of using cheap and nasty chargers


A faulty phone charger was blamed this week for a house fire in Sheffield which killed five people. While the brand of charger has not been identified, the blaze highlights the dangers of using cheap chargers–particularly counterfeits of reputable brands as in the above picture. We are all guilty of leaving chargers permanently plugged in and, I suspect, this is not good practice even with a brick-built branded unit.

Blogger Ken Sherriff, who specialises in charger lore, has shown that some of these counterfeits actually carry the Apple brand.

In the pictures, from Ken’s site, the genuine Apple charger is on the left and the slightly off-colour copy is to the right. The copy carries all the certifications which it isn’t entitled to and, even, bears the Apple trademark confirmation. The internals of the copy are cheap and shoddy, with minimal insulation between the high and low voltage areas and with badly insulated wiring. 

A genuine Apple charger is expensive, no doubt, but if it it gives you peace of mind and helps avoid risk then the money is well spent. 

In the UK, unlike with the US chargers illustrated, the three-pin plug in the Apple charger carries a replaceable 3-amp fuse and this offers considerable added protection against fire. I have never found it necessary to replace a fuse in any of the many Apple chargers I have had over the years and, if a fuse did blow, I would be tempted to throw the charger away. If replacement is necessary, it is important to stick with the 3-amp fuse rather than replace it with the more common 13-amp household fuse that most people keep in their drawers. 

Via 9to5Mac