Dell Forced to Recall Batteries Due to Fire Risk

MATTHEW BEALE
The Dartmouth
Dartmouth University

(U-WIRE) HANOVER, N.H. — Dell Inc. announced Tuesday that it is recalling 4.1 million laptop batteries purchased between April 2004 and July 18 of this year because they could burst into flames.

The recall of Dell’s Sony-made batteries is the largest in the history of consumer electronics, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Theresa Woodward, manger of Dartmouth Computer Sales and Services, said that she only found out about the recall on Tuesday and was unsure of how many students had batteries that needed to be replaced. She added that students with Dells should visit the Computer Sales and Services Web site and follow the link there to Dell’s Web site to see if their particular computer model and battery model are potentially dangerous.

Aside from checking the Dell Web site to see if their computer models and battery models are affected, Woodward said that students should keep an eye on the heat level of their laptops.

Woodward said that while “all recalls should be looked upon and taken action,” she did not consider the recall a huge problem.
“It happens often; it’s not uncommon at all,” she said. “Right now there’s a repair extension on logic boards for Macs. A lot of them aren’t publicized, it’s just that whenever Dell has them they’re highly publicized.”

“Nothing is different about this recall than other recalls,” she added.

Essien Ukanna, a Dell owner who had not known about the recall, said that he would expect that a lot of students would never get around to checking the Dell Web site.

“It makes me nervous, I’m probably going to go and check my battery,” Ukanna said. “Perhaps switching to a Mac would be the thing to do at the moment.”

The CPSC warned that Sony’s lithium-ion batteries were used in other electronic products, which could also be affected. Tech analysts also expect Sony to absorb most of the costs of Dell’s recall. In an article in USA Today, tech analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates estimated that Sony will end up paying about $103 million in replacement costs.

The largest consumer electronics recall before Dell’s was one million Kyocera cell phone batteries in 2004.