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Monday, August 14, 2006

Dell recalls 4.1 Million laptop batteries

Dell Computer reported plans late today to recall 4.1m laptop batteries after a series of media reports in the media of systems catching fire.

The batteries in question were originally manufactured by Sony and used in laptops that were sold between April 1, 2004 and July 18, 2006.

Users of Dell Latitude, Inspiron and Precison notebook computers are urged to visit www.dellbatteryprogram.com, scheduled to go live Tuesday morning.

Until the battery issue is addressed, owners of these notebooks are advised to use an AC adapter with the battery removed.

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

Dell negotiated the terms of the recall with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. More information from the CPSC is available here.

A statement by the CPSC said that this will be the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry.

As this NYT article reports, this recall will bring renewed scrutiny to the potential of lithium-ion batteries to catch flame, especially in the context of plane travel. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many modern consumer devices, included power tools, cell phones, camcorders, digital cameras and MP3 players, including the iPod.

UPDATE: A Dell senior VP has posted this statement on the Dell One2One blog.

UPDATE: SearchCIO features this article on the Dell recall.

UPDATE: SearchCIO reports that the recall has may have an upside for Dell. After making the largest recall in computer history, could Dell actually come out of this ordeal looking better than ever? Read more...

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