Samsung’s Investigations Reveal that Faulty Batteries Caused Note7 Incidents

Samsung has announced the results of a months-long investigation into why its Galaxy Note 7 phones spontaneously caught fire last summer, pinning the blame on faulty batteries. The incidents led to recall of 2.5 million devices and losses totaling more than $2 billion.

The root cause, according to an internal investigation conducted with the help of outside experts, was battery short circuits. According to various reports, both companies that supplied batteries for the Galaxy Note 7 had separate issues leading to the fires, Samsung says. This is in part due to the rush to replace the originally exploding phones with new ones. The company did not name its battery suppliers.

“The comprehensive responsibility lies with us. We did not thoroughly vet the parts that were assembled for us,” said DJ Koh, the head of Samsung’s sprawling mobile unit. In a packed press conference at its offices in southern Seoul on Monday, the world’s biggest smartphone maker again apologized to customers around the world for the bungling of its product release.

“We wanted to proceed quickly to change the batteries swiftly, out of concern for the consumers,” Koh said, explaining why the company rushed to replace the faulty phones. “We are very sorry to the consumers for not having vetted the B batteries thoroughly. At the time the B batteries didn’t exhibit the problems that A batteries did, but in retrospect the B batteries had a different issue.”

Phones were initially recalled and replaced, but the replacement devices also began to catch fire. Presentations at the announcement by outside investigators backed up Samsung’s findings, which indicate batteries from supplier A were shorting because of a design flaw or in some cases a lack of insulation tape. And batteries from supplier B — which were issued in the replacement phones following the initial recall — were catching fire because of a separate manufacturing defect.

“For the last several months, together with independent industry expert organizations, we conducted thorough investigation to find cause to the Galaxy Note7 incidents.” Koh said, “Today, more than ever, we are committed to earning the trust of our customers through innovation that redefines what is possible in safety, and as a gateway to unlimited possibilities and incredible new experiences.”