Overheating power chargers for some Hewlett-Packard Chromebook 11 machines has spurred a recall of the chargers after some owners reported problems with the units. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the recall Dec. 17 and is advising Chromebook 11 owners to immediately contact HP and Google for a free replacement charging unit.
The overheating charger problem with the Chromebook 11 machines arose in November when Google and HP halted sales of the devices after reports came in about overheating issues for some users, according to a Nov. 13 post on the Google Chrome Blog.
In an update to the original post Dec. 17, Google announced the charger recall for all HP Chromebook 11 units that have been sold so far. “Customers should visit http://chromebook.com/hp11chargerform to request a free replacement charger. We apologize again for the inconvenience this has caused. Your safety is our top priority.”
Google also announced that sales of the Chromebook 11 devices will again resume and that they will ship with improved chargers that aren’t affected by the recall.
Google has provided a detailed FAQ page for consumers to answer many questions about the recall and how users can get their replacement charger for their device. The recall affects all units that were purchased before Dec. 1, 2013. Even if the existing chargers do not appear to have a problem, they should not be used and a free replacement should be ordered, according to the CSPS.
While waiting for their replacement chargers, customers can safely use “any other certified micro-USB charger, for example one provided with a tablet or smartphone,” to charge their Chromebook 11, according to Google. Customers can also call a toll-free hotline in the United States at 866-628-1371 for more information.
In the United Kingdom, customers can call 0-800-026-0613, while in Ireland users can call 1-800-832-664. In Australia, customers can call 1-800-067-460 for more information.
Customers do not need to produce a copy of their Chromebook 11 purchase receipt to get a replacement charger. The new replacement charger will be sent within 30 days of the customer’s request.
The charger was manufactured in China by a third party, according to Google and HP. The CSPC recall number for the chargers is 14-061. The recall is being conducted because the affected chargers can overheat and melt, causing burns to users, according to the agency. Some 145,000 chargers are affected by the action.
The affected chargers are black and measure about 1.75 inches by 0.75 inches, with a 6-foot-long cord with a micro-USB connector on the end. The model number of the charger is MU15-N1052-A00S, which is stamped on the face of the battery charger that has the outlet pins, according to the recall notice.
“Google has received nine reports of chargers overheating and melting during use,” the agency stated. “There is one report of a small burn to a consumer and one report of minor property damage to a pillow from an overheating charger.”
HP Chromebook 11 Defective Charger Cords Are Recalled
The devices were sold for about $280 each at Best Buy stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, Google Play at Play.google.com, and HP Shopping at Shopping.hp.com from October 2013 through November 2013, and included with the Chromebook 11, according to the CPSC.
The Chromebook 11 debuted in October, featuring an 11.6-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen with a 176-degree wide viewing angle, a magnesium frame for strength, a quiet fanless chassis, an Exynos 5250 GAIA ARM processor, 2GB of DDR RAM, a 16GB solid-state hard drive, WiFi, speakers mounted under the keyboard and about six hours of battery life on a full charge.
In June, Google expanded its network of dealers for its Chromebooks by beginning to sell them through Walmart and Staples stores, raising the number of outlets for the devices to some 6,600 stores. The move added Walmart and Staples stores to the existing Chromebook retail outlets through Best Buy and Amazon.com. Consumers are also able to purchase the machines via Staples online, while business users will be able to buy them through the Staples Advantage B2B program. Additional retailers are also expected to be unveiled in the coming months, including select Office Depot, OfficeMax, Fry’s and TigerDirect stores.
Chromebooks and their desktop brethren Chromeboxes run Google’s Chrome operating system and feature a wide range of preinstalled, cloud-based Google services and products, including Google Docs and Google Calendar. Chromebooks allow users to do their work online with less need for on-machine storage for large applications and files.
Back in March, Google had unveiled an earlier expansion of Chromebook sales to six more nations and to additional Best Buy stores in the United States. At that time, the smaller, lighter and inexpensive Internet-centric computers were being rolled out by Acer, HP and Samsung in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.
In May, Google began testing Chromebook-equipped store kiosks to make it easier for businesses to help their customers and employees check merchandise stock, place orders or get more information while shopping or working. The kiosks use something Google calls “Managed Public Sessions” to allow employee and customer use of the devices without the need for logging in.