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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Dell laptop battery recall

Our planes are safer now, according to this story:

Dell Inc. said Monday it will recall 4.1 million notebook computer batteries because they can overheat and catch fire. Dell negotiated conditions of the recall with the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, which called it the largest electronics-related recall ever conducted by the agency.

A Dell spokesman said the batteries were made by Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news). and placed in notebooks that were shipped between April 1, 2004, and July 18 of this year.

"In rare cases, a short-circuit could cause the battery to overheat, causing a risk of smoke and/or fire," said the spokesman, Ira Williams. "It happens in rare cases, but we opted to take this broad action immediately."

The battery packs were included in some models of Dell's Latitude, Inspiron, XTS and precision mobile workstation notebooks. Dell planned to launch a Web site overnight that would describe the affected models. Williams said the Web site would tell how consumers to get free replacement batteries from Dell.

There have been numerous recent news reports about Dell laptops bursting into flames, and pictures of some of the charred machines have circulated on the Internet.

Dell, the world's largest maker of personal computers, confirmed that two weeks ago, one of its laptops caught fire in Illinois, and the owner dunked it in water to douse the flames. Other reports have surfaced from as far away as Japan and Singapore.


The proximity between the laptop carry-on ban and this action is, of course, mere coincidence.

Carmi Levy was the first to discuss exploding laptops on planes, by the way. See here and here (latter link still works as of August 14, 2006).

Press Release Source: Info-Tech Research Group

Exploding Laptops Pose Potential Hazard for Air Travel and Personal Safety says Info-Tech Research Group
Wednesday June 28, 3:46 pm ET
Personal Computing Industry must Address the Issues

LONDON, ON, June 28 /PRNewswire/ - Incidents of computer batteries erupting in smoke, fire and even explosions have caused numerous laptop recalls within the last year and pose a threat to personal safety by users especially during air travel, Info-Tech Research Group stated today.

"The most recent event we're aware of involved a Dell laptop exploding and bursting into flames at a business meeting in Osaka, Japan," said Info-Tech's Senior Analyst Carmi Levy. "The potential for an in-flight incident of this nature when travelers are using battery power for portable PCs certainly exists. Everyone worries about covert explosives being taken on board planes, but what about the average laptop that could be just as dangerous?"

Recalls related to computer batteries overheating have been issued by at least three computer equipment manufacturers within the last year. Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced a recall of some 15,700 HP and Compaq notebook computer batteries in April this year after 20 reports of batteries overheating. Dell announced a recall of about 22,000 of its notebook computer batteries in December, 2005. And Apple Computer recalled 128,000 batteries shipped in its PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 laptops in the spring of 2005.

"The propensity for these devices to explode has been known for some time, and regulatory bodies and manufacturers need to turn up the heat on solving these issues rather than using recalls as a band-aid solution," said Levy.

Info-Tech is urging vendors to be more proactive in their approach to the issue of overheating laptops to avoid a future catastrophe.

"Computer vendors need to ensure more rigorous testing of batteries before deploying them in their computers and should be working closely with safety organizations to raise the bar on regulations for the industry," said Info-Tech's Levy.

About Info-Tech Research Group

With a paid membership of over 20,000 worldwide, Info-Tech Research Group (www.infotech.com) is the global leader in providing information technology research and analysis to the mid-sized enterprise market. It is North America's fastest growing full-service IT analyst firm.

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Source: Info-Tech Research Group

3 Comments:

Blogger Carmi said...

It's nice to be proven right.

4.1 million...a pretty impressive number.

Thanks for the followup! I'm back at work tomorrow after a week's vacation. This latest Dell recall announcement should make it an interesting return indeed.

21:56  
Blogger Carmi said...

More news on my blog. It's been a big day...

19:29  
Blogger Ontario Emperor said...

Hmm...my Sony camera has Sony batteries...

22:33  

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