MTA, NJ TRANSIT: Power Down Samsung Galaxy Note 7 On Trains, Buses

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and NJ TRANSIT have issued a safety warning urging commuters against using or charging the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

This comes after reports of the phone’s lithium batteries exploding and causing fires.

The MTA said in a tweet that customers should not use or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on trains and buses, and should power down their phones before getting onto a bus or entering a subway station.

NJ TRANSIT asked the same of its customers on trains, buses, and light rail vehicles, and in stations and facilities.

Neither the MTA nor NJ TRANSIT has reported any cases of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 becoming a fire hazard on its properties.

As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued the same warning to air travelers.

For years the FAA has been concerned about an explosion happening on an airliner — even a small lithium ion battery can pack a powerful punch if it malfunctions.

Richard Hargrove is a hardware engineer at Cadex Electronics, a Canadian Company which tests batteries for Samsung and other companies.

“They are volatile, but with effective electronics and casings they are perfectly safe,” he said.

In October, an Alaska Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Buffalo after a hand-held credit card reader caught fire. It was just one of 11 incidents involving lithium ion batteries on passenger planes reported to the FAA last year. Five others were reported on cargo flights.

George Crabtree of the Argonne National Laboratory said the most serious overheating problems are caused by an out of control chemical reaction.

“That fire can go on for minutes or hours, before it finally, simply runs out of fuel,” he said.

Samsung has blamed a manufacturing flaw for the faulty batteries in its newly released Galaxy Note 7.

The FAA said passengers should turn their Galaxy Note 7 Off, and not charge them during flights. Some foreign airlines have banned the smartphone outright.

As of April, lithium ion batteries are no longer allowed in checked bags, or as cargo on commercial flights.

The batteries can be found in many rechargeable electronic devices including laptops, tablets, and children’s toys so the advice is not to check those items.

Samsung is reportedly planning to update the software in its Galaxy Note 7 phones to prevent them from overheating.

 

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