Another Computer Battery Recall: This Time Apple
The Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced another recall of lithium-ion batteries, with components made by Sony.
This time, the recall affects batteries for Apple computers, specifically certain iBook G4 and Power Book G4 notebooks. About 1.8 million batteries are affected, including 700,000 battery packs sold outside the U.S. Apple has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two reports of minor burns from handling overheated computers and other reports of minor property damage. It is, however, unclear if these batteries ever caught on fire. When asked about that, CPSC spokeswman Julie Vallese said, "companies have the authority to determine how much information in a case can be publicly disclosed and Apple has chosen not to allow the CPSC to discuss that information." However, there have been no serious injuries reported.
The recall follows the Aug. 15 recall of 4.1 million lithium-ion batteries for Dell laptop computers (also with components made by Sony.) That was the largest recall in the electronic industry and has prompted a larger examination of batteries used in electronic gear.
Vallese said Sony has now identified which batch of battery cells had similar or the same possible hazard as the Dell batteries, and "at this time, limited" the problem to these two particular cases. "In the near future, the CPSC is not anticipating any more lithium-ion battery recalls related to this particular battery cell issue," she said.
The CPSC said consumers who have these batteries should stop using them immediately and contact Apple to arrange for a free replacement battery.
Meanwhile, Sony issued this statement:
"At this time, Sony anticipates no further recalls of battery packs using these particular battery cells. The recall arises because, on rare occasions, microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell. Typically, a battery pack will simply power off when a cell short circuit occurs. However, under certain rare conditions, an internal short circuit may lead to cell overheating and potentially flames. The potential for this to occur can be affected by variations in the system configurations found in different notebook computers."
Sony said it has introduced a number of additional safeguards into its battery manufacturing process to address this condition and to provide a greater level of safety and security. "We believe the issue has been addressed to the satisfaction of our customers," the company said..
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