Dodgy electrical equipment from on-line dealers

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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An article in the Beeb news prompted me to post this warning about the risks of buying electrical equipment on-line from the likes of eBay/Amazon and others. The article was about a photographery who lost his home in a fire for which the suspected, but not proved, cause was a faulty battery charger. Similar stories abound about laptop battery replacements and chargers.

I have personal experience of this but with no bad consequences. A few years back I flew RC Helicopters and Planes and needed a new Lithium battery charger. Having investigated the various makes I bought one from eBay. A known type in the RC community. Several minutes after using it for the first time, the high power Lithium cell started to swell up and then vented gas. This is why I never leave batteries on charge unattended and for Lithium cells like those, I have a fire-proof case which should limit the damage for a while.

When I investigated I found that the charger was continuously trying to charge the battery rather than shut down. Further investigation online revealed that there were a number of fakes going around - looking just like the real thing. I returned the unit, got a refund and filed a complaint and bought a different make from a model shop.

And a number of years back I bought a hot air gun / paint stripper from Argos. A make I hadn't heard of before but cheap. After few minutes use it flames shot out the front. I returned it to Argos and got a replacement - this did the same. Returned that and got a more expensive Bosch unit which is still going strong.

So, at this time of year when battery operated devices may be given/recieved as presents beware of charging batteries and what you buy on line.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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So far i have brought Lenovo battery pack and charger of ebay touch wood they have been ok
I brought a Telephone and Answer machine (TwinPack) of Ebay they arrived followed the instructions charge the rechargeable batteries for 16 hours did that the second phone was ok but number 1 phone would not come on after 16 hours on charge tried some replacement rechargeable batteries from my battery charger they work but were not keeping the charge so in the end i send it back .only had it 10 days got a full refund
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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An article in the Beeb news prompted me to post this warning about the risks of buying electrical equipment on-line from the likes of eBay/Amazon and others. The article was about a photographery who lost his home in a fire for which the suspected, but not proved, cause was a faulty battery charger. Similar stories abound about laptop battery replacements and chargers.

I have personal experience of this but with no bad consequences. A few years back I flew RC Helicopters and Planes and needed a new Lithium battery charger. Having investigated the various makes I bought one from eBay. A known type in the RC community. Several minutes after using it for the first time, the high power Lithium cell started to swell up and then vented gas. This is why I never leave batteries on charge unattended and for Lithium cells like those, I have a fire-proof case which should limit the damage for a while.

When I investigated I found that the charger was continuously trying to charge the battery rather than shut down. Further investigation online revealed that there were a number of fakes going around - looking just like the real thing. I returned the unit, got a refund and filed a complaint and bought a different make from a model shop.

And a number of years back I bought a hot air gun / paint stripper from Argos. A make I hadn't heard of before but cheap. After few minutes use it flames shot out the front. I returned it to Argos and got a replacement - this did the same. Returned that and got a more expensive Bosch unit which is still going strong.

So, at this time of year when battery operated devices may be given/recieved as presents beware of charging batteries and what you buy on line.
I had a problem with what I bought as a genuine LUMIX camera battery from EBay. It wasn’t a good fit in the camera. Just slight dimensional mismatch. So I returned it for a refund. The next one came from a specialist Amazon Market Place outlet. Still performing well. But like you we don’t charge batteries overnight or if not in the house; genuine or not.
 

Sam Vimes

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I can understand the attraction of looking for cheaper solutions. An OEM battery for my camera will cost about £114. I can get two third party batteries plus a charger for £34. This obviously presents a risk in putting a cheap battery into an expensive camera but I research as best as I can and buy from reputable dealers and so far have been lucky. Usually stick a meter on them before using.

Why the big difference in price? Both items manufactured in China and presumably the material costs are much the same so does the priced difference result from the difference in design and manufacturing quality control?

Mind you Apple are well know for fleecing those hooked into their ecosystem. Virtually £700 for a set of wheels for a Mac Pro.:rolleyes:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I can understand the attraction of looking for cheaper solutions. An OEM battery for my camera will cost about £114. I can get two third party batteries plus a charger for £34. This obviously presents a risk in putting a cheap battery into an expensive camera but I research as best as I can and buy from reputable dealers and so far have been lucky. Usually stick a meter on them before using.

Why the big difference in price? Both items manufactured in China and presumably the material costs are much the same so does the priced difference result from the difference in design and manufacturing quality control?

Mind you Apple are well know for fleecing those hooked into their ecosystem. Virtually £700 for a set of wheels for a Mac Pro.:rolleyes:
I’ve used Hahnel batteries generally bought from a camera outlet. They are much cheaper than Lumix but don’t have the endurance although will still last a busy day whilst the other batteries may be charging.
 
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I also bought a generic battery for my Lumix GF3. Lasted a couple of moths but then swelled while charging so proved to be false economy. I now have the original and a genuine Lumix. When about I tend to leave the camera switched on at the ready, and this causes the batteries to discharge, so the second guarantees a full day shooting.
 

Sam Vimes

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I own a Sony camera and i use Duracell AA NIMH X4 rechargeable batteries they seem to last for some time

Your lucky to have standard batteries in your camera. Some don't like the fact that NiMh batteries are only 1.2V whereas typical Alkaline non-rechargeable batteries are 1.5V


I’ve used Hahnel batteries generally bought from a camera outlet. They are much cheaper than Lumix but don’t have the endurance although will still last a busy day whilst the other batteries may be charging.

I've come across Hahnel and may have used them in the past but just recently got some from RavPower. The camera battery seems ok and lasts as long as the Canon OEM. Also they don't seem to self discharge very much. The Ravpower NiMh batteries though were just so-so.

I also bought a generic battery for my Lumix GF3. Lasted a couple of moths but then swelled while charging so proved to be false economy. I now have the original and a genuine Lumix. When about I tend to leave the camera switched on at the ready, and this causes the batteries to discharge, so the second guarantees a full day shooting.

I leave my Canon on when out and about but in standby it lasts a long time provided I don't have the GPS on.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Your lucky to have standard batteries in your camera. Some don't like the fact that NiMh batteries are only 1.2V whereas typical Alkaline non-rechargeable batteries are 1.5V




I've come across Hahnel and may have used them in the past but just recently got some from RavPower. The camera battery seems ok and lasts as long as the Canon OEM. Also they don't seem to self discharge very much. The Ravpower NiMh batteries though were just so-so.



I leave my Canon on when out and about but in standby it lasts a long time provided I don't have the GPS on.
Yes Hahnel are a well respected manufacturer of camera accessories. I bought the Hahnel battery from an established camera shop in Bath. Don’t think I could do any more to try and reduce counterfeit. There comes a time when you just have take the plunge isn’t there?
 

Sam Vimes

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There comes a time when you just have take the plunge isn’t there?

Yes there sure is. I needed and external power source for my Canon for when doing lengthy timelapse sequences. The Canon version is over £150. You can find them for as little as £15 on the internet but that seemed a little too cheap. I eventually found one from a photography business for just under £40. It was still a risk but I put a meter on the unit before running the camera off of it. Still a tense moment when I put it in an switched on but it worked very well. No overheating and recognised correctly by the camera.
 
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May 7, 2012
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Buying cheap electrical equipment is simply too risky to be a sensible purchase. Life is safer with well known brands although some Hotpoint buyers might not agree.
 

Sam Vimes

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Also Beko Fridge/Freezer, Zanussi Dishwashers, Bosch/Neff/Seimens Dishwashers, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phone, Apple iPhone 7 plus (possibly)

Auto trail Motorhome Fridge

And many others....

And worst of all Boeing 737-Max although not exactly electrical equipment and not many of us own one of them.
 

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