Sony, HP, Dell, Toshiba Recall Thousands of Faulty Lithium-Ion Laptop Batteries

Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell are recalling as many as 100,000 laptops worldwide that used faulty Sony-made lithium-ion battery packs. In the U.S., this could impact about 35,000 notebooks that were sold between 2004 and 2006. So far, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said there have been 19 incidents of overheating and two people injured. The recall is similar to one in 2006 that involved millions of notebooks.

Sony, along with Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Toshiba, announced that recall of thousands of faulty Sony-made lithium-ion notebook battery backs after customers reported more than a dozen incidents of laptops bursting into flames.

All together, the three notebook vendors and Sony are recalling about 100,000 notebook battery packs worldwide. In the United States, about 35,000 notebooks shipped with these faulty lithium-ion battery packs between 2004 and 2006, according to an Oct. 30 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

To date, there have been 19 separate incidents of batteries overheating, according to the CPSC. Of those 19 incidents, 17 involved fire and flames, and 10 consumers also reported some minor property damage. At least two people suffered minor burns after the batteries caught on fire, according to the CPSC.

Click here for the full list of recalled laptop models.

The latest recall is reminiscent of similar incidents that were reported in the summer and fall of 2006. That recalled also involved Sony-made lithium-ion battery packs. In that case, Sony found a manufacturing defect in its lithium-ion cells. Due to the defect, some cells could short circuit and produce large amounts of heat and ultimately catch fire, although only a few incidents were reported.

The difference between this recall and the 2006 recall is size. While the Oct. 30 recall involves about 35,000 notebooks in the United States and another 65,000 throughout the world, the 2006 recall involved millions of notebooks and battery packs worldwide. Dell recalled about 4 million notebook battery packs by itself in 2006.

The latest recall, so far, involves only HP, Dell and Toshiba. HP sold about 32,000 notebooks with the faulty battery packs, while Toshiba sold about 3,000 and Dell accounted for only about 150 total notebooks.

The HP notebooks include the HP Pavilion dv1000, dv8000 and zd8000; the
Compaq Presario v2000 and v2400; and the HP Compaq nc6110, nc6120, nc6140, nc6220, nc6230, nx4800, nx4820, nx6110, nx6120 and nx9600. The recalled batteries include a bar code with the label A0, L0, L1 or GC.

The Toshiba notebooks include the Satellite A70/A75, P30/P5, M30X/M35X and M50/M55; and the Tecra A3, A5 and S2. The CPSC had no information concerning the battery pack label.

The Dell notebooks include the Latitude 110L and the Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150 and 5160. The faulty batteries are labeled with the code OU091.

All of the notebooks that were affected by the recall were sold either through retail stores or various Web sites. The laptops cost between $700 and $3,000, and the batteries were also sold between $100 and $160.

The CPSC, along with Sony, HP, Dell and Toshiba, is urging customers to check the battery packs in their notebooks. If a customer has a notebook with a faulty battery pack, the vendors will replace it for free.