Computers are becoming a fire hazard

According to an official Dell blog, the company has enlisted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to help find out just what went wrong with a laptop that exploded several weeks ago. According to the original report on the laptop, a Dell laptop exploded into flames at a press conference but luckily no one was hurt.

Lionel Menchaca, a Dell manager for its Digital Media division, said that Dell has been investigating the situation very seriously. According to Menchaca, Dell has already discovered that the cause of the explosion was due to a battery issue. Menchaca however, said that lithium ion batteries like the one used in that particular Dell laptop is just like any other lithium battery used in billions of consumer electronics worldwide. From the blog:

We replaced the customer’s computer and are still investigating the cause. We think it was a fault in a lithium ion battery cell.  Dell's engineering teams are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a third-party failure analysis lab to determine the root cause of this failure and to ensure we take all appropriate measures to help prevent a recurrence. By the way, lithium ion batteries are used in billions of notebooks, mp3 players, PDAs and cell phones these days.

Exploding batteries, flaming laptops and other fire related computer issues are becoming an increasing problem recently. DailyTech last reported that cell phone users in Brazil are experiencing problems with their phones exploding. Some of Apple's own products such as the MagSafe connector in the MacBook Pro and MacBook laptops have been reported to be catching on fire recently.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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