Sony Recalls 100,000 Lithium-Ion Batteries Due to Fire Hazard

Sony is recalling more <"">lithium-ion batteries used in Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell laptop computers because  they pose a fire hazard.  According to the company, the batteries can overheat and cause a fire.

The Sony recall includes 35,000 lithium-ion batteries in the United States and, and an addition 65,000 worldwide.  According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC),  there have been 19 reports of the batteries overheating, including 17 reports of flames/fire (10 resulting in minor property damage). Two consumers experienced minor burns.  According to Sony,  the problem stemmed from a manufacturing problem that caused defects.

Specifically, the recall covers 32,000 batteries sold by Hewlett-Packard, from Dec. 2004 through June 2006. The models affected include the HP Pavilion, the dv1000, dv8000 and zd8000; the Compaq Presario, models v2000 and v2400; and HP Compaq notebooks including thenc6110, nc6120, nc6140, nc6220, nc6230, nx4800, nx4820, nx6110, nx6120, and nx9600. Affected customers can visit HP’s battery-replacement Web site or call (800) 889-2031 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, HP said.

At Toshiba, the recall covers laptops or batteries sold between April 2005 and October 2005. Models affected include the Satellite, models A70/A75, P30/P5, M30X/M35X, and M50/M55; as well as the Tecra, including the A3, A5, and S2. Customers can contact Toshiba at its battery-replacement site or call (800) 457-7777 anytime, Toshiba said.

The Dell laptops covered by the recall were sold between Nov. 2004 and Nov. 2005. They include the Latitude 110L and the Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150, and 5160. Dell customers can contact Dell via the company’s dedicated battery-recall site or call toll-free (866) 342-0011 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, Dell said.

Consumers should immediately remove the recalled battery from their notebook computer, and contact their computer manufacturer to determine if their battery is included in the recall and to request a free replacement battery. After removing the recalled battery from their notebook computer, consumers may use the AC adapter to power the computer until a replacement battery arrives. Consumers should only use batteries obtained from their computer manufacturer or an authorized reseller.

Lithium batteries have been a known fire risk.  On August 24, 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Apple issued a recall of rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries made by Sony for certain iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 notebook computers. The recall was based on nine reports of batteries overheating, two of which involved minor burns.

Last August, Finnish phone maker Nokia recalled some 300 million batteries made by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006. In December that same year, Sanyo recalled 1.3 million mobile phone handset batteries for safety reasons.

Sony’s announcement comes a month after it said it was recalling 438,000 of its own Vaio laptops, also due to concerns about overheating.  In 2006, Sony recalled another 10 million defective lithium batteries because of a risk of short circuit and fire.

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