In the latest instalment of our Tech Talk series, Tony Coleman, Technical Manager at Makita, details the importance of using genuine batteries.
Sadly, the increased popularity of online shopping has generated a platform for opportunistic and criminal behaviours from sellers and scammers looking to take advantage of consumers. It is, therefore, vital that any purchase is made with assurance and confidence in order to avoid risk of costly pitfalls. This reaches beyond protecting oneself from fraud, credit card scams and data breeches, but also being mindful of the authenticity of the product and seller. Unfortunately, non-genuine construction products are becoming more common online, particularly through online auction sites that provide anonymity, and their use can lead to serious issues.
In many cases, counterfeit products have not been manufactured and tested to the quality and safety standards required by law and, in particular, non-genuine batteries, that have not been manufactured with the correct materials and technologies, pose significant risks. This includes the danger of permanent damage to the product as a result of leaking or over-heating to such an extent they catch fire, as well as personal safety risk.
Lithium-ion batteries specifically, are precision engineered to control charge and discharge current, cell voltage and temperature – a combination that requires critical manufacturing technologies and processes to ensure the battery performs as required and, importantly, remains stable. If the temperature of a Lithium-ion battery is not controlled accurately, a ‘thermal runaway’ can occur, triggering a chain of events that can cause the battery to catch fire or, in severe cases, explode – risking injuries to the user.
Applying a counterfeit or untested battery sold by a third party to a Makita product may also lead to a thermal runaway, as the cells may be incompatible and cause the battery to heat up quickly.
The quality of a counterfeit battery cannot be guaranteed to provide the correct levels of performance. There are non-genuine batteries on the market that claim to have the same Amp hour (Ah) rating as our genuine solutions yet are significantly less powerful. To ensure the battery performs as desired, look for test standard IEC 61960. This is equivalent to the UK BS EN61960 standard. Without the necessary testing and accreditation, non-genuine solutions can claim performance standards that can never be achieved.
A genuine Makita battery will also include an in-built communication chip that optimises battery life, protecting the battery cells during the charging process, as well as when in use with a tool. This device is designed to protect the cells against overload, over-discharge, and overheating. Therefore, not only does opting for a non-genuine battery solution represent a more dangerous decision, but also something of a false economy.
Additionally, whereas all Makita products are backed by a long-term, reliable warranty, non-genuine and third-party refurbished solutions are not.
How to identify non-genuine battery products
When buying products, especially online, it is important to recognise the warning signs that signal the product is non-genuine or counterfeit. Firstly, buying from authorised Makita UK distributors and merchants can help ensure your purchase is from a trusted provider. Be cautious of sellers with unusually low prices. Cheap imitations are available on-line, even from internet sites that seem ‘safe’.
Genuine Maita battery products will always include the Makita trademark logo, and the STAR connectivity mark. Further indications can present themselves on the packaging, spelling errors, variations on logo design or an image that doesn’t look right or match the images on Makita’s website.
If you think you may have purchased a non-genuine battery, we will be more than happy to arrange for the battery to be inspected, with its proof of purchase, at one of our Factory Service Centres. Ultimately, if in any doubt do not use or charge the battery as the risks are clear.
For more information about Makita, visit https://www.makitauk.com/