Product Registration; UL Listing; Overheating AC Adapters

TeriTerryTarry

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Below is a section from the Dash Cam Talk web page for the SJ4000 camera https://dashcamtalk.com/sj4000/#Burned_Charging_Cable. You can see there was a serious problem with overheating. I also had an adapter that severely overheated to the point where it and the camera were too hot to touch. I put on oven mitts in order to unplug and disconnect them. This was one of two cameras I had to return.

This brings up two questions. First, why aren't the AC adapters supplied by SJCam UL (Underwriters' Laboratory) listed (in the US)? Every adapter for every other portable device I own is UL listed yet four out of four of my SJCam adapters were not. Although compliance with UL is voluntary as far as I'm aware, reputable manufacturers of all kinds of electrical and electronic devices manage to seek and receive a formal UL listing. My belief is that if SJCam adapters demonstrably complied with UL standards and received UL approval then the likelihood of overheating would be near zero.

Second, there is currently no way to register the product as far as I know. Products should be registered in case there is a need to issue a recall to comply with a ruling by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The fact is that I should have notified the CPSC of the overheating adapter but I wasn't sure if it was a one-off or a repeated problem. Now I know. I would also think it would be in SJCam's best interest to keep in touch with customers to build brand loyalty, notify them of firmware upgrades etc.

Is anyone aware of any way to register your camera with SJCam? Has anybody else had a problem with severe overheating of their AC adapter?


http://ul.com/

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Burned Charging Cable
One owner has claimed that he has had 2 charging cables explode / burn up. The camera becomes unresponsive once this happens. Below is a picture of the disassembled charging cable with the damaged circuit board.



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DWilks

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My original unit, purchased in April 2015, has that same type charger with the round prongs and with the adapter to fit USA outlets. I just purchased another unit this week from GearBest and it does not have nor need an adapter since it has the prongs that fit USA outlets. Also, both have the same model number of: SDL-M28. I have rarely used the charger since I bought 2 extra batteries with their own charger that allows 2 to be charged at once and I simply use that charger. So can't say if mine
over heats or not.
 
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TeriTerryTarry

TeriTerryTarry

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My original unit, purchased in April 2015, has that same type charger with the round prongs and with the adapter to fit USA outlets. I just purchased another unit this week from GearBest and it does not have nor need an adapter since it has the prongs that fit USA outlets. Also, both have the same model number of: SDL-M28. I have rarely used the charger since I bought 2 extra batteries with their own charger that allows 2 to be charged at once and I simply use that charger. So can't say if mine
over heats or not.
Ah, well I might have used confusing terminology. When I said "adapter" I meant only the part you plug into an AC wall outlet that converts the current to DC, then connect a USB x micro USB cable to it and the camera. Perhaps for our discussion I should call it a converter. My converter was already designed for US outlets, no need for something additional to make it work with them. I also have the dual battery charging cradle but the first time I used my defective converter I had it attached to the camera. I'm very glad you have not had an overheating problem.

The one with the round prongs would not be a US-style device so I would not expect it to have a UL label affixed to it. Does the US-style unit you just purchased from GearBest have a UL label on it? http://ul.com/marks/ul-listing-and-classification-marks/
 

DWilks

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The picture you posted looks exactly like my first one. It has round prongs like for Europe outlets but it comes with an adapter that the prongs plus into and changes it
to the normal 2 flat prongs for US outlets. We are speaking the same in terms and
No, neither have a UL label. I think that I will not trust them and keep using the other
charger I mentioned. Thanks for the heads up about over heating!
 

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TeriTerryTarry

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The picture you posted looks exactly like my first one. It has round prongs like for Europe outlets but it comes with an adapter that the prongs plus into and changes it
to the normal 2 flat prongs for US outlets. We are speaking the same in terms and
No, neither have a UL label. I think that I will not trust them and keep using the other
charger I mentioned. Thanks for the heads up about over heating!
Thanks for posting the picture - that clears it up. Cheers :)
 
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TeriTerryTarry

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Don't use these power supplies, they are not safe
Quite right jokiin, but you see the problem that presents. If all US-spec cameras are supplied with non-UL listed power supplies (four out of four in my case) and they are indeed not safe, then what is the unsuspecting consumer to do? Personally I DO NOT use the SJCam-supplied power supply because I know better. I'm not saying that a UL listing will automatically make ALL power supplies safe, nor that all power supplies that aren't UL listed aren't safe, but on balance of probabilities, with a documented history of severe overheating, you're right: they are not safe.

It would be nice to get the formal SJCam response to this issue.


By the way, Happy New Year, though given your time zone I think I'm a day too late!
 

jokiin

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Quite right jokiin, but you see the problem that presents. If all US-spec cameras are supplied with non-UL listed power supplies (four out of four in my case) and they are indeed not safe, then what is the unsuspecting consumer to do? Personally I DO NOT use the SJCam-supplied power supply because I know better. I'm not saying that a UL listing will automatically make ALL power supplies safe, nor that all power supplies that aren't UL listed aren't safe, but on balance of probabilities, with a documented history of severe overheating, you're right: they are not safe.

It would be nice to get the formal SJCam response to this issue.


By the way, Happy New Year, though given your time zone I think I'm a day too late!
UL listing means nothing in the scheme of things, plenty of good quality power adapters are not UL listed, this however is not a good quality power adapter, forget overheating, there's a risk of electrocution with these

the good quality adapters cost around 4 times what these ones do so I get why they don't want to do that but they would have more credibility if they didn't include an adapter rather than including one like this
 
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TeriTerryTarry

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UL listing means nothing in the scheme of things, plenty of good quality power adapters are not UL listed, this however is not a good quality power adapter, forget overheating, there's a risk of electrocution with these

the good quality adapters cost around 4 times what these ones do so I get why they don't want to do that but they would have more credibility if they didn't include an adapter rather than including one like this
Well yes but . . .

I don't dispute that there are plenty of non-UL listed power adapters that are good, but the question is how many UL-compliant adapters are bad? Severe overheating to the point of explosion or burning up of the adapter or cord is a fire risk, every bit as dangerous as electrocution. It's in the best interest of insurance companies not to pay out claims for personal injury or fire damage. The insurance companies fund UL so it seems natural to me that their standards would be rigorous in ensuring that products are safe. To me the UL listing is meaningful because average consumers have no way of ascertaining in advance which adapters supplied with their products are going to be good or bad. The UL listing is one step towards ensuring that they'll be good.

I certainly understand your point about cost and for manufacturers like SJCam, hitting a price point is a top priority. But even at four times the cost, what would be the incremental increase in the cost of a camera to use a high quality adapter rather than a cheap one? Presumably the adapter is not the major cost component of the product. Furthermore, what is the cost to brand loyalty when you supply defective products? Worse still, what is the reputational damage and the actual monetary loss if SJCam faces legal action due to death or injury caused by their product? The decision to supply a cheap adapter seems very shortsighted.

I don't think excluding an adapter from the package would really solve the problem. If a consumer buys a really cheap adapter and damages the camera then liability becomes a question. To the consumer the camera is just as likely to have been defective as the adapter. Isn't this why as a manufacturer you include a high-quality memory card with your cameras, to limit products returned as defective when it wasn't the camera that was at fault, but the memory card? Same with the adapters.
 
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jokiin

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Well yes but . . .

I don't dispute that there are plenty of non-UL listed power adapters that are good, but the question is how many UL-compliant adapters are bad? .
if it was a genuine certified product the number would be close to zero

I don't think excluding an adapter from the package would really solve the problem. If a consumer buys a really cheap adapter and damages the camera then liability becomes a question. To the consumer the camera is just as likely to have been defective as the adapter. Isn't this why as a manufacturer you include a high-quality memory card with your cameras, to limit products returned as defective when it wasn't the camera that was at fault, but the memory card? Same with the adapters.
no adapter would be better than the one they include now

if it were my product it would come with the correct quality part that it needed, we don't use cost as a deciding factor on any component we use, if it costs more it costs more, you just have to sell it at a higher price
 
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