My Jawbone Melted

UPDATE: Aliph Quicly Replaces Melted Jawbone

Smoke began pouring out of Marc’s Jawbone cellphone headset last night:

I purchased a new Aliph Jawbone 2 directly from Aliph back in July. I owned an original Jawbone and was happy to see it shrink in size. It’s been working extremely well and I haven’t had any issues with it…until last night.

I connected my charger to a USB port on my computer and I charged my headset like I have any other time. I was on my computer doing some web surfing when I noticed a burning smell. I look over at my headset and saw smoke coming out of it.

I immediately disconnected it from the charger but the smoke kept coming. I noticed that it was also getting hotter. I didn’t want it to burst into flames so I ran into the bathroom and ran it under the faucet. I’ve attached some photos showing what ended up happening to the headset.

I contacted Aliph support and was told that since it’s not a technical issue that they could fix (really?) that my issue would be forwarded to a specialist. I’m still waiting to get a call back and will update once I do.

Must have been one too many steamy calls on the $.99 per minute lines.


Edit Your Comment

  1. zigziggityzoo says:

    lol. Did they order batteries from Sony by chance?

  2. juri squared says:

    On the bright side, at least it didn’t happen while you were wearing it!

  3. chrisjames says:

    Don’t send it in until you are assured a replacement, otherwise you’ll get the “water damage” brush-off.

  4. Mikestan says:

    I think bluetooth headsets are ridiculous. People walk around wearing them all day and night.

    I’ve even seen people wearing them around out at bars and lounges. You could never lose them in the crowd though because of that blinking light.

    This may be the single best thing that has ever happened to Marc

    • MrFalcon says:

      @Mikestan: Yeah, I don’t see a lot of use for them in public places – but they still have a use and a place. Plus, with the noise canceling this unit is supposed to have, it really would be a unit that could be worn in a bar or club!

      • vinhpoo says:

        @MrFalcon: The first weekend I got mine, I tested it out by using it in the concourse at a baseball game. The person I was talking to didn’t realize I was using a headset.

    • topernicus says:

      @Mikestan: I agree that wearing a bluetooth headset in public makes you into an insta-douche, but there are reasonable times to wear one… Or at least one reasonable time to wear one.

      I only wear mine while driving. I have occasionally worn it around the house while cleaning up, but I’m not usually on the phone while performing other tasks.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      This may be the single best thing that has ever happened to Marc

      @Mikestan: I hope not. He’d have to have a very sad life indeed if an expensive headset melting is the best thing to ever happen to him. It shouldn’t even qualify as a good thing.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @Mikestan: I use one for handsfree while driving. Other than that, yeah, bluetooth is generally worn by douches in fairly douchey situations.

      That being said… whatever product you buy, you expect it not to light on fire on you.

    • tc4b says:

      @Mikestan: Doesn’t matter what you think of the product, it was faulty merchandise. No matter what you buy, you ought to get what you paid for.

    • shufflemoomin says:

      @Mikestan: Yeah, when I see people using them walking down the street I just want to rip if off and throw it away. It’s designed as a ‘hands-free’ kit. Using it when your hands are free just makes you look like a vain, lazy, doubebag.

    • tmlfan81 says:

      @Mikestan: OK, I wear my BT headset a lot. I guess that makes me an insta-douche from the moment I step out of my house. I guess its the fact that I might – just might – get a call while I’m doing something that would require the use of both hands. I also attribute it to the fact I have a really oily face and I like to avoid getting the screen on my phone dirty.

    • Imakeholesinu says:


      You must be one of those people who drives with cellphone attached to your ear and a cigarette in the other hand then.

      These devices do a have a time and a place for usage. I use mine when I am carrying a lot of things after shopping or I am working.

      I work in IT so in order for me to do some tasks I need both hand free. I wish my work would go to some sort of bluetooth solution for the phones, then I could stop getting a crick in my neck each time a customer calls and I have to make a change.

      • Thain says:

        @Imakeholesinu: If you have to use a cellular for work, that’s one thing, but if you’re using VOIP or a traditional landline, get your company to invest in some Plantronics headsets with automatic-answering capabilities. Much more comfortable than bluetooth, much better range, and much better sound quality.

      • Mikestan says:

        @Imakeholesinu: I don’t drive.

        I see nothing wrong with using BT headsets at the appropriate times and places. Work is a completely acceptable place because its not really a public place.

    • ideagirl says:

      @Mikestan: Wow, thanks for sharing. My brother is a cab driver, on call 12 hours a day. He wears his when on call so he doesn’t miss a fare. I work in IT, and am on call on weekends. If I didn’t wear mine when I am on call, there is no way I could do anything other than sit and wait for the phone to ring. The other alternative is never go out in public where I might not hear my phone.

      At least this “douche” has a job, I will put up with wearing a BT when necessary.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      We like to refer to the BT headsets as “Urban Fashion Accessories”.

    • Anonymous says:

      @undefined: Can we quit the judgment, people?! I wear one when walking home from class so that I can talk to my mom for an extended period of time *without getting brain cancer!* How would it be less “douchey” to forgo the headset and just hold the phone up to my ear for 30 minutes?

  5. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Makes me wonder… if you have to ship it back to them, are they going to notice that it has obviously been wet and blame the fire on the fact that it was wet, thereby voiding your warranty? Or will they do the right thing and replace it?

  6. pb5000 says:

    Not too long ago I saw a woman in church with her bluetooth still on, come on, seriously, in CHURCH!

  7. shorty63136 says:

    If you connected it to your USB cable on your computer to charge it (although I’m sure you have many other times in the past), my guess is going to be that it was your USB that fried it and not an issue with the headset itself. But that would depend on your computer and what kind of output you were getting from the USB port.

    I’ve had that happen to a Bluetooth headset before (Motorola H570, I believe it was) but I was able to get them to replace it. It was a iBook G3 that I later found was one that had a logic board issue.

    Hope they’ll replace it. Crazy photos though – melty plastic…

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @shorty63136: USB has a maximum output of 5.25V at 500mA.

      If it went over those specifications, windows starts warning you -in no uncertain terms- about power surges.

      If your device fries on USB power and you’re not recieving this message, it’s almost certainly the device’s fault, not the computer’s.

      • shepd says:


        For those wondering, the maximum heat you can generate with 2.5 watts (ie: The above) is equivalent to the heat output by a flashlight lightbulb. Place anything on there and see if it will melt. Even M&Ms. :-)

      • acknight says:

        @WiglyWorm: As does the Mac side (just noting since the parent post indicated it happening on a Mac)

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @myself clearly I have no idea how to post an image in these comments. It’s not just the HTML image tag? :(

      • shorty63136 says:

        @WiglyWorm: No – I haven’t figured out how to post an image either.

        • selianth says:

          @shorty63136: It basically just HTML. < img src=””

          Obviously no space between the first bracket and “img.” The tricky part is leave out the last > that you think should be there at the end. It’s bizarre but it works. “Preview Comment” is your friend.

  8. mbz32190 says:

    That is the ugliest looking headset I ever seen…I thought I was looking at a shoe when I first saw the pic

  9. SWBLOOPERS says:

    They said this was a “hot item.” What did he expect?

  10. Fist-o™ says:

    I don’t care if people think I’m a douche, or have no class or style. I wear it when and where I want to. Blinking blue LED and all. ESPECIALLY at the starbucks at the mall as I carry on a conversation so that it looks like I’m talking to myself!

    Don’t care about other’s opinion in that regard AT ALL.

    HA HA HA HAAAAA!!!!!

  11. SecureLocation says:

    No fashion accessory says “I’m an ass bubble” quite as well as a bluetooth earpiece.

    • barty says:

      @SecureLocation: If you wear it all the time, yes. Mine stays in my car for the times my boss decides to have a conference call when I’m on my way to work or during the time I’m normally driving home.

  12. AnxiousDemographic says:

    The photo and the headline make perfect sense… but I confess thinking: “That is one ugly looking shoe, but shouldn’t the risk be to the ankle instead of the jawbone?”

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    These things do come in handy though. I contemplated getting my mom one for her CrackBerry but I think she wants to hold the phone…I think to her, there’s a surrealness about having a headset, but I’ll see if she wants one if there are good deals around.

  14. HogwartsAlum says:

    I have read that studies done on cell phone use while driving have shown that it’s not using a hand-held set that is the problem; it’s the CONVERSATION that is the distraction. And what’s the number one cause of accidents?


    That’s why they restrict the amount of people that are in the car for teenage drivers. Cell phones have voice mail. Let it take a message.

    That said, Bluetooth sets remind me of “Farenheit 451,” where the protagonist’s wife and everyone else walked around with the little shell thing in their ears and paid no attention to the people around them. People were afraid Big Brother would come true, but the “Farenheit 451” thing DEFINITELY did!

  15. bastion72 says:

    I have the same headset. It was a birthday present from my GF when california pased the handsfree driving law. I plug mine into the wall though. BTW This particular model has a white LED.

  16. KarbonKopy says:

    @Mikestan: @Mikestan:

    Living in California, I don’t have much of a option anymore since it’s the law while driving, so just about everyone has one.

  17. Red_Eye says:

    Welcome to the world of lithium battery technology. It charge the batter had an issue and nearly caught fire. Lucky.

  18. Schizohedron says:

    I was rather hoping this would be a story in which some hapless prescription-drug user had their actual jawbone melted in a hideous reaction to the chemicals, and that the black thing in the photo was the prosthetic cyber-jaw they had to stick in their face so they could go out in public again.

  19. Nerdhouse1 says:

    Whenever you see a guy wearing one, you never see him near any goodlookin broads, I think there’s a reason for that

  20. HotTubber says:

    I’m surprised that there are so many negative reactions to wearing a bluetooth headset. Here in NY, a headset or some other hands free solution is the law when driving. Frankly, I’m glad it is, too.
    I don’t make a habit of always having mine on but if I’m on the road and have to make a few stops, I leave it on.
    Do the flashing blue lights really bug everyone that much? Come on…

  21. SkokieGuy says:

    I just wonder since laptops, cellphone and now headsets seem to catch fire – exactly how long will it be before we have instances of hybrid cars (or future all-electrics cars like the Tesla) self-combust?

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      @SkokieGuy: Well, currently, I’m not sure they use Lithium Ion batteries for cars… once they start, though, expect it unless they go with the proven techs. These companies get in to trouble because they’re always willing to go with new untested designs to try and get better battery life than their competitor.

  22. SkokieGuy says:

    And to all those who find wearing a headset ‘douchey’, please submit photos of yourself so we can evaluate your public appearance and comment appropriately.

    I find giant earings and status purses douchey.
    I find men with conspicuously expensive shoes douchey.
    I find expensive pre-damaged denim douchey.
    I find public texting douchey.
    I find low-rise jeans on either gender douchey.

    I could go on and on, but to criticize others, is oh, I don’t know, maybe a bit douchey?

    So should the manufacturer Aliph not stand behind their product because actually using it in its intended manner can be perceived (by some) as douchey?

  23. maevro says:

    Used to sell original Jawbone and Jawbone II’s. The original would break and come back at least 50% of the time, it was insane.

  24. Venkman says:

    I’ve had a few technical issues with my Jawbone 2– mind you, nothing this severe– but notably, I’ve had problems with the charger maintaining a solid connection. I took this up with Aliph customer service and found them to be very proactive as they sent me a new charger cable with no further questions asked. Overall, I give Aliph an A+ for service but I give the Jawbone itself a C+. Fact of the matter is that the thing has crappy range (2-4 feet) when paired with an iPhone 3G– their explanation is that the range problem is caused by the Apple wifi antenna, their solution was to tell me to turn off the wifi on my phone. lame.

  25. TVarmy says:

    It’s either a short or a burning lithium ion battery. My guess is the lithium ion battery.

  26. Gatcha_Journalism says:

    Careful fellow consumers, these devices can produce brain and ear tumors. Take it from someone who’s worked within the MRI department. I almost never use these types of devices, for that reason.

  27. DopplerInterrogation says:

    I have a name for people who wear their Bluetooth in inappropriate situations: BlueTool.
    I also have invented a new drinking game “Find the BlueTool.” Whoever is last in our group to spot a BlueTool in a bar has to buy the next round.

    • ZukeZuke says:

      @DopplerInterrogation: LOVE THAT!

      I especially hate it when you’re in the store or something and someone walks behind me and starts talking at the top of their lungs, scaring the piss out of me… until I see the f-ing DOUCHEBAG is on their BT headset. Makes me wanna punch them in the face. Seriously.

  28. dottat1 says:

    So I wonder what would happen to one of these things if you were to drop it into water normally.. having a lithium battery and all…

  29. glucoseboy says:

    I think the problem was that you plugged in the jawbone to your USB port to charge. The USB port on your PC puts out 1500 mA on the power leads. If you look at the AC adapter that came with your Jawbone, I’ll bet you’ll see the output amperage around 180 mA.

    Yes, the connector does fit and it does work (albeit briefly). You were definitely charging at too high a rate.

    • shepd says:


      I doubt the adapter is current limited. If that were the case, the voltage would have to swing wildly to deal with any possible current changes, and some sort of load resistor (for 5V, it would be ~28 ohm, 1 watt, HUGE for a device this size) would need to be switched in once the battery is charged to keep the current flowing at a reasonable voltage. It *is* possible to build a current limited supply, but the only cases I’ve seen that used is to charge car batteries and on bench test supplies so a shorted device doesn’t blow up. :-) Of course, the internal circuitry likely uses current limiting, but the external supply? Not likely.

      If the supply were marked “constant current” or something like that, sure. But if it has any voltage output marking other than DC and a maximum AND minimum output voltage (since the output voltage might have limits, but for a constant current supply you can never guarantee what it is), it’s going to be voltage regulated.

  30. nsv says:

    My mother (help me please) insists on wearing her BT headset while she drives. She assures me that it’s safe and legal.

    The problem: mom is DEAF IN ONE EAR!

    How will you hear sirens? I asked. No problem, she assured me, she can hear them through the headset.

    Until the first time I was riding with her while she yakked on the phone… and couldn’t hear oncoming sirens.

    Mom and I don’t go anywhere together anymore…

    • FLConsumer says:

      @nsv: How can you hear sirens in a car with a big stereo (or one right next to you) or in a well-padded luxury car to begin with? Non-issue because the surrounding environment’s already filtered out any usable sounds of sirens.

      • nsv says:

        @FLConsumer: I don’t know. I don’t blast my stereo because I want to hear what’s going on around me.

        Mom does have the big luxury car, but I could hear sirens, even if she was too busy on the phone to hear them.

  31. Meathamper says:

    I’m a fan of the Blueant. I bought a new Blueant V1 Voice Control Headset, and I love it. I can use more than one device via multiple pairings, I can accept calls without buttons (trust me, it’s no gimmick), and I can do loads of cool things with it. I had the old Jawbone (in fact, that was what I used before the V1) but I changed it because the charger was screwed up, and it wouldn’t pair with my iPhone at all for some weird reason. But I know the Logitech is a good choice too.

  32. Novaload says:

    @Mikestan: That’s why we call the people sporting them “Blue Tools.”