Buying a power bank? Get one with short circuit protection


PETALING JAYA: If you’re looking to buy a power bank, make sure it has short circuit protection.

This may protect you from getting a shock which could cause your heart to stop, a technology expert says.

New Straits Times Online today quoted Universiti Teknologi Malaysia professor Jasrul Jamani Jamian, from the electrical engineering faculty, as saying the voltage capacity in a power bank is too low to cause death, but a surge caused by a short circuit can cause a person’s heart to stop.

Jasrul was commenting on the death of a 19-year-old in Melaka last week. The youth was found dead in his bed, wearing his earplugs with his mobile phone charging through a power bank.

There was a burn mark on his left shoulder.

Jasrul said many people think that a low voltage such as 12 volts is not enough to kill someone.

“However, a short circuit from a 12-volt source can produce a high current, and death can occur when this current flows through the heart.

“For example, an average value of 2.1 ampere output current is normal for power banks, but a short circuit current in power banks can exceed 100 amperes.

“It takes only 0.5 amperes of direct electrical current to the heart to cause death.

“Thermal runaway occurs in a very short time, and when in contact with the body, it can cause burns to the skin and more severe consequences,” he told the daily.

Jasrul advised people not to put mobile phones or power banks close to their bodies when charging their phones at night.

“This is important to avoid injury due to short circuits in power banks.”

It is unlikely that earphones will transmit electricity to the body, he added.

The newspaper also interviewed mobile phone traders who advised customers not to charge their phones or power banks overnight as this could lead to a short circuit in the long term or cause the power banks to explode.

Melaka Criminal Investigation Department chief ACP Kamaluddin Kassim told the daily that police were waiting for the Chemistry Department to determine the boy’s cause of death.

“It could be due to electrocution or cardiac arrest,” he said, adding that neither the mobile phone nor the power bank had exploded in this case.