Want to see how dangerous a poor-quality power bank can be? Here’s a terrifying security camera video that captured a power bank exploding in a man’s arms and sending flames shooting up to the roof as he rode a bus in the Guangdong of China.
The South China Morning Post reports that a new investigation by the Chinese’s governments State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) revealed that nearly 40% of the power banks it had inspected were found to be substandard.
After testing 75 batches of power banks manufactured by 73 companies in 4 provinces across China, 29 of the batches had issues. Overcharging was found to be one of the most common issues, and the flaw could result in smoke or even a fire.
The findings were first reported in a news segment by China’s state-owned broadcaster CCTV, which did its own test and found that one power bank it purchased even had a battery cell filled with sand as a cost-saving tactic.
“Exploding power banks are nothing new in China,” SCMP writes. “The devices are a popular way for smartphone users to juice up their batteries on the go. But in China they have caught fire on buses, in subway stations and on planes, once forcing a commercial flight to make an emergency landing.”
So, caveat emptor. If you’re ever in the market for a power bank to charge your gear on the go — perhaps for all-day photo shoots — make sure you buy a good quality one from a reputable manufacturer rather than the cheapest one you can find.