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Old 09-08-2015, 07:34 PM   #1
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Caught a fire just in time

We were camping (dry camping) and running the inverter on the solar while charging some I-devices. Was just outside the camper sitting and chilling. At some point, I walked into the camper because the inverter was beeping..an alarm. I smelled smoke and started lookin. Found a wall-wart that powers an USB power strip smoking. Plastic shell was melting! Dang thing was too hot to hold. Luckily I just shut off the inverter, then grabbed my welding gloves that I use to hold my cast iron pans and threw it out the door. If I had gone for a walk that i was planning...oh boy!!!

Just a reminder never leave them things unattended!!! Even at home.

ps, no pix. Sorry. Never gave it a thought. But it did happen!
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:40 PM   #2
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Bet you're still shaking over that one! I suppose we all have those devices and don't think twice about plugging in and walking away.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:43 PM   #3
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So glad you caught it. You're livin' right.

Curious, is your inverter a modified sine wave or a pure sine wave? I get the feeling a modified sine wave.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Close one, luck you were there and caught it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:44 AM   #5
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So glad you caught it. You're livin' right.

Curious, is your inverter a modified sine wave or a pure sine wave? I get the feeling a modified sine wave.
Nope, pure sine wave, Samlex 1000 watt. I just think the wall-wart was cheaply made garbage.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:27 AM   #6
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Nope, pure sine wave, Samlex 1000 watt. I just think the wall-wart was cheaply made garbage.
Wow, that is unfortunate. Gives everyone caution.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:50 AM   #7
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Nope, pure sine wave, Samlex 1000 watt. I just think the wall-wart was cheaply made garbage.
Most/all are. They are also one of the leading causes of house fires... A shame, since it wouldn't cost 10 cents to protect them internally. The UL should be ashamed. (most of them have the UL sticker.) Note, that most all of them get warm/hot. Most often they are powering/charging at a lousy 10W or less rate. They should hardly get warm... I periodically use an infared temp measuring gun on them. If they get over 105F they are too hot (IMO). Note that most computer power supplies will exceed this by quite a bit and there isn't much you can do about it. However they do have much better internal protection... (but they too have started fires.)
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:32 AM   #8
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When I worked at a TV station, we had lots of rechargeable batteries for the field gear. We only charged them up on a metal top workbench or put the chargers on a baking sheet. Maybe a small baking sheet for home gear wouldn't be a bad idea.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:37 AM   #9
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In the olden times, wall-warts were transformer-based. Less that could go wrong with them, but poor regulation.

Now, most wall-warts are tiny switching power supplies... better regulation but many more active electronic parts (that switch fractions of the full AC waveform across capacitors to maintain a set voltage across the capacitor) - each built in China by the lowest bidder.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:34 PM   #10
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Nope, pure sine wave, Samlex 1000 watt. I just think the wall-wart was cheaply made garbage.
Glad to hear inverter OK. We run Samlex 2000 pure sine wave and use the remote switch to turn it off when not in use. Never think of a fire hazard, but do it to eliminate the 1-2 amp static draw when no 120 v. (Or with that thing I should say, 115v) load being run. Good plan for fire safety too I guess. Little HF 200 watt modified runs the D TV box with very low load while TV is 12v. 3 grp 24 batteries and 200 watts of solar and we are good indefinitely.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:36 PM   #11
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Am I the only one who doesn't know what a wall-wart is?
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:59 PM   #12
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Its slang for the black cube that you stick into a wall socket.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:39 PM   #13
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Thanks for asking Biscuit. You aren't the only one who was wondering what a wall-wart was.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:12 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Jim Schings;978575]Most/all are. They are also one of the leading causes of house fires... A shame, since it wouldn't cost 10 cents to protect them internally. The UL should be ashamed. (most of them have the UL sticker.) QUOTE]

I'm retired now, but during my career, I worked closely with UL and had many of my submittals awarded the UL mark. (100+) There are many cheap products out there that have the UL mark attached but in reality they are not approved. Or the manufacturer changed the design from what was originally approved and failed to alert UL. If it were me, I would box up the part and send it to the nearest UL lab to my home with an explanation of what occurred. They will certainly investigate and determine if it was an isolated incident or something more dangerous. and follow up with the manufacturer. If your device does not have the UL mark, you might want to check for it next time you purchase an electrical product. In my experience, UL takes consumer safety very seriously.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:44 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=Lloydg;978923]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Schings View Post
Most/all are. They are also one of the leading causes of house fires... A shame, since it wouldn't cost 10 cents to protect them internally. The UL should be ashamed. (most of them have the UL sticker.) QUOTE]

I'm retired now, but during my career, I worked closely with UL and had many of my submittals awarded the UL mark. (100+) There are many cheap products out there that have the UL mark attached but in reality they are not approved. Or the manufacturer changed the design from what was originally approved and failed to alert UL. If it were me, I would box up the part and send it to the nearest UL lab to my home with an explanation of what occurred. They will certainly investigate and determine if it was an isolated incident or something more dangerous. and follow up with the manufacturer. If your device does not have the UL mark, you might want to check for it next time you purchase an electrical product. In my experience, UL takes consumer safety very seriously.
I threw it out before I thought about what I really ought to do with it. Oh well.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:56 PM   #16
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I'm happy to see that I'm not the only worry-wart who doesn't like to leave chargers plugged in when I'm not around. I'll put the charger and battery for my drill on the shop floor if I have to leave it. My workbench is too much of a fire hazard to leave the charger on it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:00 PM   #17
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That's good advice for the higher-capacity batteries they're stuffing upwards of 20V into these days. There's a reason the rules don't allow LI-ion batteries to be shipped in the cargo hold of passenger airliners - several disasters have occurred where those batteries burst into flames.

But you don't expect that from a 1" cellphone charger cube. I betcha I have over a dozen wall-warts plugged in full time at home... water softener uses one, internet router, cordless phones, computer speakers, etc. You'd have to try very hard to leave the house without at least something still drawing power. My house uses 580 watts with absolutely nothing actually switched on.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:21 PM   #18
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I'm curious.....can someone send a picture of that unit. I'm just not clear about what it is
Thanks craigi
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:30 PM   #19
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You mean most of an (ILLEAGL) UL sticker. Most small/cheap electric/electronics from over seas (not just china) do not have a legal UL sticker, this has been in the new many times. they copied the sticker and slap on everything to make us dummies here think it is safe WRONG!
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:33 PM   #20
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Very happy you were able to find this before it was I bigger issues, and that all the people are safe. Hope this was a lesson that most cheap things with a UL sticker are NOT UL approved. (read my other post in this thread about this.
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