RACHEL-Plus Battery Issue category

A place to discuss the battery issue reported by World Possible on July 27, 2017.

RACHEL Community,

Please read this important message.

World Possible has recently become aware of reports of battery issues affecting the batteries contained within RACHEL-Plus, reports which have been confirmed by our vendor.

At this point, reports suggest the batteries can swell significantly within their packaging, leading to increased heat and potential melting of units. We believe this is a potentially significant fire hazard.

While we investigate this issue further we recommend you discontinue using the device and disconnect it from power. If you notice your device appearing to bulge at the back, please inform us as soon as possible.

We are not experts in the subject, but are working with Intel and our manufacturer to identify the appropriate next steps and will update everyone at once when we have new information.

Please take extreme caution to keep the device out of curious hands and away from flammable goods. Please do not mail the device. Please do not throw away the device where someone could potentially find it.

We do not recommend you open the device. The battery may have toxic elements inside it, please leave it alone until we have further instructions.

We are extremely disappointed to be sharing this news and understand many of you will be disappointed also. For the time being, we hope to use our community forums to discuss the problem, but will also update you with any significant news via e-mail.

Please participate with any anecdotes, questions, or concerns on our forums here: http://community.worldpossible.org/c/rachel-plus-battery-issue

Please bear with us as we work for additional information.

Thank you,
Jeremy Schwartz

Executive Director
World Possible
A 501©3 nonprofit organization

Hey Jeremy- Thanks for the update. Are you aware of any catching on fire that you’ve distributed? Have you heard any stories thus far outside of from the manufacturer?

The best data we are getting comes from the State of Oregon, they have found 3 with extremely swollen batteries and have them in possession. Two other staffers at remote sites say the plastic has melted on the casing. They believe the failure rate is currently around 50%.

Researching the issues seems to imply that units left on, fully charged, with power plugged in are more likely to have the problem.

1 Like

An update from the manufacturer. Our recommendation is unchanged from our original message until we investigate further.

Dear Customers,

From now on, we will add warning label(Picture 1) pasting on the product surface and attaching Quick Start Guide with smart tips(Picture 2) in order for extending battery life.
Please be noted and follow the tips as possible as you can, please also assist to share the information to the end users.

  1. Avoid shocks or vibrations in power on mode.
  2. Extend battery life by turning off the device after use.
  3. Use battery power supply once a week by unplugging the adapter.

Picture 1:

Picture 2:

Is there any talks about replacing the batteries on the devices for a better quality battery? FYI We purchased 16 of these. In the mean time I think we will stall our deployment of these to our users for now.

Nothing yet, we were just alerted to the danger yesterday afternoon. We are going to work towards the best possible solution.

Thank you for the prompt action, I will monitor this page for updates.

Another question just came up:

What is the date range for this issue of batteries? Is it a recent purchase? or something that was made months ago?

As far as we know, unfortunately this issue affects all RACHEL Plus devices purchased at any time.

Another question by e-mail (we are posting all questions and answers here):

Jeremy, it would be good to know (as I am sure you agree) if replacing the batteries resolves the issue.

We do not believe replacing the battery is currently an option, but we do not know if it will be down the line.

Another question:

Can the RACHEL-Plus device run without a battery?

Yes, RACHEL can run if you choose to remove the battery. Currently, we are not recommending people attempt to remove the battery because we are concerned about potentially puncturing the battery, the pressure on the case, and a host of other unknown potential consequences we do have the expertise to identify.

Here’s another:

“I’m not sure exactly which one we have…”

If you aren’t sure which type of RACHEL you have, you can find pictures and a description of the RACHEL-Plus on our website here.

The RACHEL-Pi and RACHEL USB are not affected by this battery issue. Only the RACHEL-Plus is affected.


I have those devices in schools in Kenya that I can’t even reach now.
uh oh.

We understand this is likely to be common. The best thing would be if we can get school names and locations. We have many partners and some staff on the ground worldwide. We can hopefully find someone in Kenya to go retrieve the devices and secure them if we know where to send our partners or staff. Can you provide additional details?

I bought a RACHEL Plus several months ago and planned to deploy it next week when I leave for Guatemala. The recipient is an elementary school in Guatemala and I am in the US. It sounds as if I should leave it at home!

Once the issue is resolved, will you be distributing safe RACHEL Plus units to Mundo Posible – such that they could possibly arrange to deploy the unit I purchased originally? I have already spoken with Romeo in Guatemala and he and the school contacts had already discussed training and everything.

I’m disappointed, of course, but thankful that you did the morally upright thing and alerted us of the potential danger. I will look forward to resolution.

Thanks @guatsp – I think the ultimate short-term resolution will be to remove the batteries entirely and use the units without batteries. We currently do not recommend users try to do this themselves until we have evaluated further.

I do believe Mundo Posible will attempt to start removing batteries from stock on hand as they have sufficient training and expertise to do this themselves. I have a hard time seeing a long-term resolution right now that includes a unit with a functioning battery that we will have confidence to distribute.

Please note, I’m just trying to provide the best information I have available, but nothing other than the first e-mail should constitute our recommendation for the time being.

Thank you for your reply. I’m sure you are very busy today! Would my recipient ultimately get a unit without batteries from the stock that may exist in Guatemala, or should I take the one I purchased with me and just instruct them not to use it. (I could even arrange to meet with Romeo to drop it off in his office.)

I know you said not to mail it… what that warning include packing it in checked or carry-on luggage?

I would not travel with the unit you have. If your project is near term, I would like to arrange you to get one from the stock in Guatemala without a battery. If we have some more time, we may reach a near-term fix or instructions that allow you to remove the battery yourself. The battery removal process is not overly complicated, but until we can be sure the battery has maintained its integrity, removal should not yet be attempted.

Correct, please do not travel with it for the time being. We are making that recommendation based on what we know to have happened with the Galaxy Note 7 and hoverboards. We do not know if our issue is the same, but out of an abundance of caution, we are following that lead and ask that you not travel with the device.

I am personally delivering 25 tablets to the school on August 7th. I had planned on having the RACHEL Plus with me. Romeo had communicated with the assistant principal at the school in Guatemala and had discussed training dates. I don’t know if a specific date was arranged.

I had also planned on meeting Romeo in person just to introduce myself on August 14th.

I will follow your advice and not travel with the unit I have.

User submission, unconfirmed by World Possible

3 different batteries. Left one normal, center expanded, right one 3x the normal thickness.