Lenovo to Recall Batteries Used in Some ThinkPad Notebooks

The company said the recall only affects about 200,000 ThinkPad notebooks worldwide that use 9-cell, lithium-ion battery packs manufactured by Sanyo Electric.

Lenovo Group is voluntarily recalling about 200,000 ThinkPad notebook battery packs that contain faulty Sanyo Electronic lithium-ion batteries, the company announced on March 1.

Lenovo, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., will replace the faulty battery packs that were used in some of its ThinkPad R, T and Z series notebooks. These notebooks were sold between November 2005 and February 2007.

Lenovo, which is working with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), announced that about 100,000 of these battery packs were sold with its ThinkPad notebooks in the United States. In addition, about 105,000 battery backs were sold worldwide.

The recall specifically targets those notebooks that were sold with extended life, 9-cell lithium-ion battery packs. It appears that if the notebook is struck with "significant force" on its corner, the battery pack can overheat and possibly catch fire, a Lenovo spokesman said.

According to the CPSC, Lenovo has received four reports of batteries overheating and damaging the notebook. There were also reports of minor property damage. In one case, a user suffered a "minor" eye injury.

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"Our number one priority is safety," said Ray Gorman, Lenovos spokesman. "We have identified the problem and we are working right now to correct that problem."

The recall is not related to the much larger recall of faulty Sony lithium-ion battery packs that started on Aug. 16, when Dell announced that it would recall more than 4 million notebooks that used the batteries. Other PC vendors, including Lenovo, were eventually forced to recall notebooks that also used the same faulty battery packs.

With the Sony battery packs, problems occurred when microscopic particles in the battery cells came into contact with other parts of the battery cell. This would then cause a short circuit in the cell.

In announcing the latest battery pack recall, Lenovo, which acquired the ThinkPad brand when it purchased IBMs Personal Computing Division in 2005, said the problem was not related to an internal battery cell defect. Since discovering the problem, Lenovo and Sanyo have started to redesign the battery pack to re-enforce the plastic casing.

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Lenovo sold the ThinkPad notebooks with the extended-life battery packs as either an option or a replacement. The ThinkPad brands that came with the battery packs included the R60, R60e, T60, T60p, Z60m, Z61e, Z61m and the Z61p. The faulty battery packs contained the following identification number: FRU P/N 92P1131.

In a statement, Lenovo urged customers to stop using the battery packs immediately and to contact the company to order a free replacement battery pack.

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