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IBM & Lenovo recall over half a million fire-risk laptop batteries

by Bob Crabtree on 29 September 2006, 11:47

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qagxb

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Lenovo and IBM are the latest companies to instigate a recall of Sony-made laptop PC batteries - over half a million of them in this round. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the joint "voluntary" recall of lithium-ion battery packs for ThinkPad notebook computers is necessary because they pose a fire hazard. There's a surprise.

An estimated 526,000 lithium-ion battery packs are involved - 168,500 in the USA and 357,500 more worldwide. ThinkPad owners should check out Lenovo's Battery recall page.

The USCPSC says that:

The recalled lithium-ion batteries were sold with or sold separately to be used with the following ThinkPad notebook computers: T Series (T43, T43p, T60); R Series (R51e, R52, R60, R60e); and X Series (X60, X60s). The recalled batteries have the following part or model numbers, which can be found on the battery label:

Part/model number:

ASM P/N       FRU P/N
92P1072        92P1073
92P1088        92P1089
92P1142        92P1141
92P1170        92P1169 or 93P5028
92P1174        92P1173 or 93P5030

Sold Through:

Lenovo and IBM's Web sites, telephone and direct sales, and Lenovo and IBM authorized distributors between February 2005 and September 2006 as an accessory for between $150 and $180 and as part of a ThinkPad notebook computer for between $750 and $3500.

The USCPSC recommends that:

Consumers should stop using the recalled batteries immediately and contact Lenovo to receive a replacement battery, free-of-charge. Until a replacement battery arrives, consumers can continue to use their computer by turning off the system, removing the battery, and plugging in the AC adapter and power cord. Consumers should use only genuine ThinkPad batteries obtained from either Lenovo or an authorized reseller.

Let's do the sums - that's 526,000 on top of the 4.1 million batteries that Sony's going to have to replace for Dell, the 1.8 million involved in Apple's recall and the mere 340,000 for Toshiba's 'no-safety-risk' recall. So, coming up for seven million (well, over 6.75 million, any way). That's going to hit Sony hard in the pocket and who'd bet against there being more large-scale battery recalls to come?

So, millions of laptop batteries having to be swapped (what about Sony lithium-ion batteries used for other applications such as camcorders, are they immune?) and big losses likely for Sony from PS3 and Blu-ray Disc. Who'd be a Sony shareholder, eh?

Oh and sorry to bang on about this but the question that still seems unanswered is, when is someone going to start doing something about UK and EU laptop makers, some of whom, surely, must have been using similar batteries to those that caused all these big-name firms to be caught short (circuiting)?

These firms aren't under the watchful eye of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, but that doesn't mean there are no safety issues, just that nobody over here - at EU, national or local level - is taking responsibility.

Thoughts? Share them with us in this thread in the HEXUS.lifestyle news forum.

HEXUS.links

HEXUS.community :: discussion thread about this article
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Toshiba's turn to recall laptop batteries - but 'no safety risks'
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Apple recalls 1.8 million laptop batteries. But who's next? And what about UK-based laptop makers?
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Dell recalls 4.1 million notebook batteries worldwide
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Oz airline tells Dell owners to whip 'em out and tape 'em up

External.links

Lenovo - battery recall page
Lenovo - battery recall FAQ
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Lenovo and IBM Announce Recall of ThinkPad Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard
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
Toshiba - battery recall page



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Trading Standards publish information on product recalls, but if you have a look on their site ( http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/ ) there is NO information on the Dell, Apple, IBM OR Tosh recalls; and there appears to be no active enforcement. There's a bit on the DTI's site ( http://www.dti.gov.uk/consumers/Safety/index.html ), but again no apparent active enforcement and there appears to be no information on anything to do with UK OEMs.
I do hope Sony will suffer as a result of all these product recalls. I'm not a fan of Sony at all! Does anyone know who makes the batteries for Samsung and Acer laptops?
In other news, Sony announced that the PS3 will work ‘on the move’ with the help of a newly designed battery pack.

“We had all these spare batteries coming in” said Sony's chief hardware architect, “so we dedcided to put them to good use. Development turn around was rapid because we wanted to get something created before the whole project went up in smoke… literally.”

:lol:
cotswoldcs
I do hope Sony will suffer as a result of all these product recalls. I'm not a fan of Sony at all! Does anyone know who makes the batteries for Samsung and Acer laptops?

I think thats a quite blinkered and (sad to say) naive view to hold. Sony may not be either the best in your books, nor the most fluffy of corporations, but they do serve an important purpose.

Any Economist will tell you its no good having a monopoly, and having Sony competing is only good for us. Also there are going to be a lot of people left unemployed if Sony really suffers as a result. Not good, for us or for them.

Just my 2 cents :)

Dave

Steve
In other news, Sony announced that the PS3 will work ‘on the move’ with the help of a newly designed battery pack.

“We had all these spare batteries coming in” said Sony's chief hardware architect, “so we dedcided to put them to good use. Development turn around was rapid because we wanted to get something created before the whole project went up in smoke… literally.”

:bowdown:
I disagree; there are a great many companies competing in the laptop and AV/hifi markets, so the removal of Sony would not result in a monopoly by any means. I'd also note that Sony “suffering” as a result of these recalls wouldn't automatically result in their being removed as a player. I'd argue that Sony's ubiquity in the home entertainment segment, and their prominence in the laptop market has in fact led them to get away with charging rather a lot for kit that I simply don't think warrants the price premium. A good hard knock to their image and profit margin might actually cause them to re-evaluate their product line and attempt to produce better products that are actually worth the premium that's charged for having that Sony logo on the front. That's got to be good for us.