After the massive laptop-battery recalls undertaken by Dell and Apple, the recall announced by Toshiba is something of a minnow - if reports on the web (possibly based on other reports on the web) are correct. The baltimoresun site is one of many saying that 340,000 batteries will be recalled, though Toshiba's own recall page gives no mention of numbers.
Toshiba specifically says that the affected batteries "do not overheat or pose any safety related issue or concern". Significantly, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission appears not be involved in the recall, in contrast with the "voluntary" recalls undertaken by Dell and Apple.
According to Toshiba, problems are restricted to some batteries made between March and May of 2006. These simply stop working - they no longer accept a charge and so can't power the computer.
There's much speculation on the net that the battery maker is Sony, as with the duff Dell and Apple batteries. If that's right, then it's another big dent in Sony's profits, and unlikely to be the last.
But what nobody seems to be addressing is whether any UK laptop makers are using similar batteries to those that caused Dell and Apple to be caught short.
The Toshiba batteries subject to recall are from a limited range of computers (yet still covering about 130 models!) but apparently not all batteries supplied with those models are suspect. The model ranges listed are the Satellite A100/A105, M50/M55 and M100/M105; and Tecra A6 and A7.
Suspect batteries were also sold as accessories. The company says that some, but not all, the accessory batteries with the following model numbers are affected, PA3399U-2BRS; PA3400U-1BRS; PA3465U-1BRS.
Tosh reckons that the problem has been fixed by the third-party battery vendor - but doesn't name names - and that batteries made since June 1, 2006 are not affected.
We can find nothing yet on Toshiba UK's web site but would strongly recommend that UK owners check out the official recall page, since the swap-out does appear to be worldwide and the grace period ends on December 31.
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External.linksToshiba - battery recall page
Toshiba - battery recall FAQ
Toshiba - manual battery identification process
Toshiba UK - home page
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Recalls and product safety news
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Apple Announces Recall of Batteries Used in Previous iBook and PowerBook Computers Due To Fire Hazard
Apple - Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Apple - FAQ - Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Dell USA - Battery Recall page