View Full Version : Four million laptops recalled amid Dell fire hazard fears

22-08-06, 18:28
Don't know who owns a Dell here, but:

Four million laptops recalled amid Dell fire hazard fears:

MORE than four million laptops are at the centre of a global alert over batteries that can overheat and catch fire.

Dell issued the biggest product recall in computer history after video footage showed a laptop bursting into flames during a conference in Osaka, Japan.

Similar incidents have been reported across the world. Dell said it had been told of six instances of batteries overheating, causing damage to furniture and belongings but no personal injuries.

Consumers are being urged to stop using the batteries immediately and to get in touch to obtain replacements.

The company said yesterday it was recalling 4.1 million batteries for use in Latitude, Inspiron and Precision laptops. The batteries are also used by other companies including Apple, which said it was looking into the risk posed.

Dell blames the problem on the lithium-ion batteries made by Sony Energy Devices. This type of battery has been in use since the mid-Nineties and is often found in devices such as mobile phones and digital music players.

It is estimated the recall could cost Dell more than 157million, without taking into account damage to the firm's reputation.

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

Fears surrounding laptops emerged this month as pictures of some of the charred machines circulated on the internet.

One man from Singapore told an Australian newspaper how his laptop caught fire as he was working late in his office.

He said: "White smoke began to pour out of the machine, completely filling up the room, and there were flames coming up the sides of the laptop."

The recall involves 18 per cent of Dell's 22 million notebook computers sold between April 2004 and last month.

This is the third recall of Dell notebook batteries in the past five years.

In December it recalled 22,000 notebook computer batteries over similar fears. The company also recalled 284,000 batteries in 2001.

It comes as a major blow to Dell, which has recently lost ground to its leading rival Hewlett-Packard.

The words Dell and "Made in Japan" or "Made in China" or "Battery cell made in Japan, assembled in China" are printed on the back of the batteries. Dell stressed that the short-circuiting problem was rare.

A Sony spokesman said the two companies had studied problems with the battery packs for more than a month, after getting reports of about half-a-dozen fires or smoking laptops in the US.

Dell is urging customers to check via its website if their batteries are subject to the recall.

Customers whose battery identification numbers match those being recalled will be automatically connected to a replacement order form.

Affected battery packs should be returned to Dell for disposal. The company will supply free replacement batteries to affected customers.

22-08-06, 18:30
i dont own one,

didnt something similar happen to the xbox and its power cord or something?

Legend of Lara
22-08-06, 18:31
That's pretty scary. Good thing my home only has antiquated, weak and huge PCs. :D

22-08-06, 18:32
Same thing happened with the ps2 adapter things that came out with the slimline.

22-08-06, 18:33
Dell laptop exploding at a conference.

http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/dell%20banger1.jpg (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3681938.stm)


Great advert for Dell :)

22-08-06, 18:34
i thought you ment it catched fire, not exploded

Lara's Boy
22-08-06, 18:37
That is crazy....thank God no one was actually using it when it blew up!

22-08-06, 18:39
I have never seen anything like this, I would be terrified if I had one of them!

22-08-06, 18:50

Mah haha ha!!! Better than mines!!! seriously, im glad i dont have a laptop.

22-08-06, 18:51
Mah haha ha!!! Better than mines!!! seriously, im glad i dont have a laptop.
I just noticed, that man on the left, his arm appears to be on fire!

22-08-06, 19:13
Mah haha ha!!! Better than mines!!! seriously, im glad i dont have a laptop.

I've had a Dell laptop for several years, it's never had a problem.

Course my batteries weren't made by Sony.

22-08-06, 19:13
That could have been a trap in the Japan level in Legend!

22-08-06, 19:29
Snap. http://img181.imageshack.us/img181/5111/mellowqo4.gif

22-08-06, 19:39
*steps back from laptop*

Zep Girl
22-08-06, 22:11
i dont own one,

didnt something similar happen to the xbox and its power cord or something?

Dont you mean the new Xbox 360? That was uneven when you stood it up which ment the disc inside rubbed on somthing inside and scratched the disc.

22-08-06, 22:44
My Dell Latitude's really old... its battery doesn't even hold charge any more. Wonder if I could get a brand new free replacement... :whi:

22-08-06, 22:56
There were no Dell Laptops exploded, only overheated, causing light fire in some units. (A total of 7 laptops worldwide)
Dell and Sony were well aware of this problem, but after modifications and testing, they were confidend to continue with the combined laptop charger and (Sony) battery.
In rare cases it went wrong, so the 2 companies decided to call back all units, and are currently investigating what causes the problem.

25-08-06, 11:43
First Dell, now Apple:

Apple to recall 1.8 million notebook batteries

Ten days after Dell's record-setting notebook battery recall, Apple Computer Inc. told its customers Thursday to return 1.8 million batteries that could cause their Mac laptops to overheat and catch fire.

Both recalls involve lithium-ion batteries made by a Sony Corp. subsidiary in Japan, where the manufacturing process introduced metal particles into battery cells. Makers of battery cells strive to minimize or eliminate the presence of such particles, which can cause computers to short circuit, or, in extreme situations, catch fire.

In its recall announcement, Apple said it has received nine reports of lithium-ion battery packs overheating, including two cases in which users suffered minor burns and some involving minor property damage. The Apple recall only applies to older notebooks not the just-released MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

On Aug. 14, Dell Inc. recalled 4.1 million faulty laptop batteries the largest involving electronics in the history of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Sony Energy Devices Corp. said the Dell and Apple batteries were configured in slightly different ways. In a statement, Sony said the problems arise "on rare occasions" when microscopic metal particles hit other parts of the battery cell and lead to a short circuit.

Sony said the recalls will cost it between $172 million and $278 million. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said its recall was not expected to materially affect the company's results. Dell has said the recall would not affect earnings.

Apple shares closed Thursday at $67.81, up 50 cents. Dell shares closed at $21.78, up 14 cents.

Spokespeople at other large computer makers, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Gateway Inc. and Lenovo Group, the Chinese computer maker that bought IBM's PC business, said Thursday they did not expect to have problems with their batteries.

Although Lenovo uses Sony batteries, Lenovo engineers configured their battery packs differently than Dell or Apple. They also rigorously tested the battery packs with Sony engineers, and they're "highly confident" the laptops aren't going to overheat.

"Lenovo designs its battery packages a different way," said Lenovo spokesman Bob Page. "How close the battery pack is it to a heat source, how evenly can you keep the heat in battery cells, the basic geometric arrangement of the cell all those things affect whether there will be problems."

Analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies said investors wouldn't likely blame or punish Apple for the battery recall.

"When you view Apple, you've really got to see a company that's doing well on all levels of products," he said. "You've really got to judge them on the whole. Like with any company, you might have a hiccup here and there. What I really would have had a problem with was if they had covered it up."
Consumers may have a different opinion about whether the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics maker is at fault in the recall.

For years, the electronics industry has been aware for years that lithium-ion batteries could short-circuit when subjected to the fierce power consumption demands of laptop computers. In May 2005, Apple recalled 128,000 laptop batteries made by LG Chem Ltd. of South Korea because of overheating problems.

But the newest recall is much more far-reaching. The Dell recall affects less than 20 percent of the Dell laptops sold at the time, whereas the Apple recall affects more than 30 percent of the total number of laptops Apple sold in the period affected by the recall, according to IDC analyst Richard Shim.

The fact that Dell volunteered to recall its laptops nearly two weeks before Apple's recall could harm Apple's image as consumer-friendly and proactive in the face of problems, said Chris Le Tocq, an analyst with Guernsey Research.
"There's a follower image here that's potentially an issue," Le Tocq said. "Apple's position as a leader says they should have gone to market first with this. Dell comes out of the gate first, Apple is now second, and the conclusion is, 'We're not quite as consumer-friendly as Dell.'"

Apple's recall covers 1.1 million rechargeable batteries in the 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4 and 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptops sold in the United States from October 2003 through August 2006. The recall also covers an additional 700,000 batteries in laptops sold abroad, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The recall affects only laptops that run PowerPC chips built by IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. It does not affect Apple's Intel Corp.-based models, including the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Apple notebook owners were told to stop using the batteries and to remove them from their laptops. The machines can continue to be used as long as they're plugged into an AC power source.

Apple asked customers to consult a Web site (https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/) or call a toll-free hot line, 1-800-275-2273, to determine whether they have a battery that is covered by the recall. A free replacement will be shipped to affected customers.

Dell's recall covers about 14 percent of the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS and Precision notebooks sold between April 1, 2004, and July 18 of this year.

25-08-06, 12:08
Yep, I already heard about that. In my family, we have quite a lot of laptops with affected batteries. Of five batteries we checked, four are within the range that are to be recalled. One of them is old and nearly dead, I can get maybe twenty minutes out of it, and now they're gonna replace it with a new one for free. I can't say I'm unhappy about this.

25-08-06, 12:19
My god, what a safety hazard! You would have to take it everywhere with you just to make sure it did not burn down your house.

Dante Croft
25-08-06, 12:19
I have a dell laptop but mine is not on the list.
And a use it for my brother and just spare stuff.
Luck it not my major laptop that i use for nearly everything.

da tomb raider!
25-08-06, 12:58
Well, I'm alright, then, becuase I don't have a dell laptop. Mine's Packard Bell! :D

Tomb Raider Master
25-08-06, 13:40
Heard on the news today. :pi: