Got an old laptop still in use? While you may love your old, reliable computer, scratched case, sticky keyboard and all, you may be in danger of setting your lap on fire.
In October 2008, history repeated itself when Sony issued another recall on certain batteries manufactured in 2004 and 2005. Back in 2006, a massive lithium-ion battery recall took place after reports of overheating. More than 10 million Sony laptop batteries were recalled, hitting most major computer manufacturers. Another recall, albeit smaller, occurred in 2007.
This time around there were 19 reports of overheated batteries with 17 of those instances ending up with flames. Ten of the incidents resulted in minor property damage and two people experienced minor burns. While this recall is smaller than the 2006 situation, affecting 100,000 batteries worldwide, with 35,000 of those in the United States, it’s worth double-checking to make sure your laptop doesn’t contain the overheating culprits.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that users should immediately remove the offending battery, contact the laptop manufacturer to take part in its battery exchange program, and then rely on your AC adapter while a new battery is being shipped to you. The new battery should be free of charge, including all shipping and handling.
Here’s the skinny on the laptop models affected by the most recent recall:
- Dell: Very few Dell laptops contain the defective batteries; but if you bought a Latitude 110L or an Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5150, or 5160 between November 2004 and November 2005, get on over to the Dell battery exchange site. The battery should have a label with the model number OU091 on it.
- Toshiba: Toshiba also has a small amount of affected units. Be on the lookout for Tecra A3, A5, and S2 models, as well as Satellite A70/A74, P30/P5, M30X/M35X, and M50/M55 sold between April 2005 and October 2005. Some batteries sold separately as accessories during that time are also being recalled. Visit the Toshiba battery site for the full list.
- Hewlett-Packard: HP was hit the hardest with about 32,000 U.S. units recalled. If you bought one of the following models between December 2004 and June 2006, pop open your laptop to check whether your battery has a bar code that begins with A0, L0, L1, or GC. The models are HP Pavilion dv1000, dv8000, and zd8000; Compaq Presario v2000 and v24000; and HP Compaq nc6110, nc6120, nc6140, nc6620, nc6230, nx4800, nx4820, nx6110, nx6120, and nx9600.
With major battery recalls occurring each of the past three years, if you purchased your laptop or an accessory battery prior to 2007, it’s worth visiting the laptop manufacturer’s battery exchange site just to be safe:
There have also been laptop-related recalls outside of the Sony battery debacle, including entire laptops and AC adapters. Search the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site for your particular model. Flaming pants rarely impress your clients or your local emergency room doctor.