You should check your Magneto light’s cable, lest it pop while charging

Last week a reader contacted Hypertext to alert us to a concerning incident that occurred while using a Tevo Magneto Rechargeable LED Lantern.

These rechargeable LED lights feature a massive 4Ah battery that when fully charged can provide light for up to 20 hours and even charge a smartphone, albeit rather slowly. Given the chokehold that loadshedding has on South Africa, a solution like this is very attractive and it helps that these lights are relatively affordable.

Last week however, a reader plugged their light in to recharge and a few seconds later, there was an audible pop and a plume of smoke. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the cable had worn away enough allowing the two wires in the cable to short.

While trawling the internet for other complaints, we happened upon a Reddit thread in the r/SouthAfrica board authored earlier this month in which many South Africans recounted similar stories.

“I had one that literally blew as I unplugged it, fortunately no burns or injuries just a heart rate that could add generating capacity to Eskom,” one user said.

“Same issue. Insulation tore at base of plug. Cores exposed. Waiting to pop. Luckily noticed it before fireworks. These lamps need a mass recall,” another Redditor added.

Concerned about the number of complaints we saw, we contacted Tevo in South Africa to ask if it was aware that its LED lamps were shorting. The good news is that the firm is aware of this. The bad news is that the firm says these incidents are a result of wear and tear.

“Tevo is aware of cases that have been brought to our attention regarding wear and tear at the base point of the Magneto Lantern charger cable and plug junction point. Tevo has already revised the design of the plug connector in early 2022 with a flexible protective sheath at the junction point between the cable and plug point which would further alleviate future issues,” product manager at Tevo, Warren Bernhardt told Hypertext via email.

The updated plug on Tevo Magneto LED lamps featuring a flexible protective sheath.

“Despite the fact that the previous plug on the Magneto LED Lantern passed all required testing, as well as the fact that the % of cable shorting incidents is minuscule compared to the number of units we have sold in totality, we decided to improve the plug with a flexible protective sheath. This aids to ensure that these isolated incidents don’t occur in future. The treatment of this new plug, like all electrical plugs on a household electrical product, will still require careful use and treatment,” says the product manager.

The firm also told Hypertext it had updated its user manual to caution users to treat the cable a bit better. The instructions now clearly state that users should plug and unplug the light using a socket which is turned off. In addition, and this goes for all electronics, users should pull on the plug and not the cable to remove it from the socket.

Of course, there are concerns that Tevo cut corners and used materials that weren’t up to scratch. Tevo however, is confident its product complies with the necessary standards.

“All of our products are required to pass rigorous testing on both international and local fronts. Our electrical products have passed the IEC standard (international standard) and are then further assessed in South Africa by the NRCS. The original version of the Magneto LED Lantern passed these tests with no issue at all,” Bernhardt told Hypertext.

Curious to see if this was the case, Hypertext examined the cable for two older Magento lights and while the cable felt rather thin, according to the information printed on the cable, it was well within the required specifications for the unit’s power draw.

What if your light is damaged?

Given that the Tevo Magneto lamp contains a 4Ah battery, you will definitely want to make sure it’s in good working condition, especially with loadshedding set to last for the next two years at least.

As such, Bernhardt recommends users regularly assess the condition of the cable. If damage is discovered, you should get in touch with Tevo.

“Tevo prides itself in the service offered to its customers and if wear and tear is observed customers are urged to book their device in to the closest Tevo service centre where the units will be assessed and repaired within warranty, or quoted on for repair if outside of warranty,” says the product manager.

In order to get a hold of a service centre you will need to head to the Tevo website and fill out a form on this page. You can also find a list of Tevo Factory outlets on that same page that you can visit if need be.

We urge our readers to check their Magneto lights for any signs of wear and tear and contact Tevo immediately should you discover any damage, no matter how small. It’s important that you immediately discontinue use of the light until it is assessed and repaired.

While the fact that the older cables wore out so easily is concerning, we commend Tevo for taking initiative and revising its design to make things a bit safer before there were more complaints.


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