The Hidden Dangers of Electronics

It is difficult to sometimes see what is inside a product. It is very easy to substitute cheap or counterfeit electronic parts to make a product look and operate to expectation for a short period of time like it should, however it is a gamble. You need to trust your electronic supplier to not make cheap substitutions for components and to stand behind the product in terms of warranty and support.

Australia is a country that has strict laws and is heavily regulated. This is something we all complain about, but it creates an environment where bad operators are usually flushed out of the market eventually. With the surge in popularity of Lithium Batteries, we are currently experiencing a demand boom and in these boom times, unscrupulous operators emerge to make a ‘quick buck’. Even the bigger operators who import are relying on the trust of the supplying party to operate ethically. Some countries do not emulate Australia’s strict legal governance environment where consumers are protected. Buying locally from an entity, such as Bainbridge Technologies, that is trusted and is likely to honour and be around for the warranty period is well advised to reduce the risk of purchasing a product that you cannot really understand how it has been made.

When Value is compromised

With electronics and electrical devices, the source and integrity of the materials are paramount. Cables can be copper based with exotic alloys that are used to increase throughput and assist in corrosion. Cost-based decisions are made constantly. Cheaper cables are often used, and cheaper materials are chosen based on the fluctuating commodity prices. ‘Tweaking’ costs seems sensible but there is an engineering compromise.

Do you choose the cables or components that deliver the best performance or do you choose the material or part that is cheaper? In some areas, engineering should not be compromised. A product may work well when first used but could slowly degrade because of inferior choices based on the cost for material selection. Australian engineers usually do not allow this to happen because they are eventually going to be held responsible for the long-term suitability of their decisions. Overseas operators do not have the laws or the incentive to follow this path of choosing the best options.

It is what you don’t see that makes the difference

Not many consumers get to see these examples because you need to fully disassemble an expensive battery. Image 1 is an example of a highly-priced, fully imported, Chinese battery which is very common and sold under two different labels in the Australian market. Remember this is a top tier product and there are dozens that are cheaper and not as well built as this example. Many compromises have been made. Cable sizes for power current are one size smaller than currently used in Australian products. The BMS is glued to the top and the plastic standoffs are generic and actually don’t match the  BMS.

Image 2 shows an Australian made example. The PCB is locally made, and the copper tracks are 100% copper. Passive electronics and cell connections are built into a robust PCB.

Image 3 shows a direct comparison of the size of cable used internally. At least double the gauge is used in the Australian battery. This option is not cheap but is the right engineering choice. The chips used are US-based Texas Instruments chipsets and again not cheaper but the more reliable option.

What is value for money?

Value for money with electronics is about the dozens of decisions that get made during the design and construction stages of the product. In a transparent and regulated market, these decisions are usually made that ensure that safety and quality are the primary consideration. Imported batteries are often built around a price point and if decisions are made, they are usually around cost optimisation. 

When making a decision to purchase a Lithium Battery, we highly recommend that for your piece of mind, you speak to an Australian owned company, that provides Australian designed and assembled products.

Contact Bainbridge Technologies for further information

P. 07 3348 8082

E. sales@baintech.com.au

W. Baintech.com.au

Baintech is here to help. Contact our friendly team if you have questions about our products and best practices for lithium.

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