Feeds

Loose screw caused airplane iPhone ‘fire’

Ham-fisted screen replacement fingered

Intelligent flash storage arrays

When an iPhone started smoking on a regional flight last November, it was easily enough dealt with: the phone was put in the aisle and extinguished.

Now, an incident report completed on Friday, May 4, by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has identified a dodgy screen replacement as the cause of the flare-up.

According to the ATSB’s investigation (AO-2011-149), the Rex flight had touched down in Sydney in November 2011 when a crew member noticed smoke coming from near a passenger seat. This turned out to be an overheating iPhone, which was also glowing red. “The cabin crew member … instructed the passenger to throw the source of the smoke into the aisle [and] discharged a fire extinguisher onto what was later identified as a mobile phone.”

The phone after the fire. Source: ATSB report

The ATSB sent the phone to the US for examination under the eye of the FAA. What the US facility turned up was a screw, removed during screen replacement, and misplaced inside the phone’s battery cavity.

According to the investigation, the passenger had the screen replaced, but not by an authorized Apple service provider. The missing screw, probably meant to hold the external 30-pin connector in place, had shorted the battery terminals to cause the problem.

X-ray shows the stray screw. Source: ATSB report.

What the report also describes is a litany of dodgy repairs. As well as dropping a screw inside the phone, the repairer also lost one of the screws that fastens the iPhone’s main board; put two screws used to fasten cable in the wrong spots; damaged the adhesive that holds the main board in place; removed the two “liquid contact” indicators; and deformed a metal clip near the battery.

As the ATSB notes, the findings indicate “a lack of appropriate quality control on behalf of the unauthorized repair facility”. The Bureau also says the incident emphasizes the need for lithium-ion battery-powered devices to be carried in the cabin rather than as checked-in baggage. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.