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Dell representatives are not amused

While Dell may have announced new AMD-based desktops yesterday, the fallout over the 4.1 million notebooks batteries that were recalled last month still lingers in the air. Chairman Michael Dell says that it has no part in the blame for the faulty batteries and says that all of the blame falls on Sony.

A spokesman for Dell was even more blunt in comments made to ZDNET UK. "We know exactly why there was a problem. Sony had contaminated its cells in the manufacturing process. The batteries were contaminated and were no good no matter what you did with them. We know the batteries, under rare circumstances, catch fire, (which is why we recalled them)," said the spokesman.

A representative for Sony countered by saying that the full blame should not rest on its shoulders. "It is the configuration. We use the same batteries in our Vaios, and have our own safeguards against potential overheating. Other manufacturers which use the same cells haven't come forward with any issues," stated a Sony representative.

Sony has agreed to help cover some of the costs associated with Dell recall and Apple's recall of an additional 1.8 million notebook batteries. In the weeks following the recall, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission started an investigation into all of Sony's notebook batteries despite Sony’s assertion that no more recalls are necessary.



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No Part of the Blame?
By qdemn7 on 9/14/2006 4:01:43 PM , Rating: 3
So is Dell saying that his company does not QC any of his vendor's products? Because that's how his statement reads to me.




RE: No Part of the Blame?
By PurdueRy on 9/14/2006 4:09:17 PM , Rating: 4
No, of course they should QC products to the best of their ability. However, I do not think Dell has the facilities necessary to investigate the internals of lithium-ion batteries for defects. It is up to Sony to keep their QC high before delivery of their final product.


RE: No Part of the Blame?
By kamel5547 on 9/14/2006 4:14:53 PM , Rating: 3
Right, Sony's dodge seems to be -- Well you shouldn't count on our batteries functioning correctly, you should ahve other methods in place to keep them cool -- which is complete bs. A battery should function without overheating if used in a standard configuration.


RE: No Part of the Blame?
By marvdmartian on 9/15/2006 9:27:38 AM , Rating: 3
The way I read it, though, is that Sony's saying, "Look, our batteries work fine in our products, with ZERO instances of overheating leading to fires. Why, then, does it seem to be happening with Dell notebooks? Could it be that Dell uses an inferior charging system that could lead to premature failure of our batteries???"

It might be a bit of passing the buck, but I think they have a point. Dell is sitting back, acting like the injured party, and shunting 100% of the fault to Sony. Could it be we're only getting Dell's side of the story??


RE: No Part of the Blame?
By JeffDM on 9/15/2006 3:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
For one, not all Sony notebooks have Sony batteries, and another, the market share of Sony notebooks is a lot smaller than the major brands that I'm aware of.

It may also be luck because there were about ten notebooks that burned out of maybe five or so million.


RE: No Part of the Blame?
By Madellga on 9/15/2006 12:18:48 AM , Rating: 4
You mean supplier's, not vendor's. It common practice today in the "modern" industry. It's called self-certification: your supplier says it is ok and you believe it. Really.


VAIOs?
By plewis00 on 9/14/2006 5:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"It is the configuration. We use the same batteries in our Vaios, and have our own safeguards against potential overheating..."


I heard someone say the reason VAIOs were unaffected was because they used Matsushita/Panasonic or Mitsubishi cells. Then again, I would not be surprised what with Sony's arrogance in some cases for them to know the VAIOs had an issue but not recall them out of some misplaced pride.




RE: VAIOs?
By patentman on 9/14/2006 5:49:41 PM , Rating: 3
The important question is, which finger?


RE: VAIOs?
By Samus on 9/14/2006 8:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
That is true for me. My R505 Vaio has panasonic cell's in it. Sony may have assembled the battery, but it says "Made in China - Cells from Japan"


ejmmm
By das mod on 9/14/2006 5:23:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Other manufacturers which use the same cells haven't come forward with any issues


Apple did :)

so in a way, Dell is kind of right ....




The evidence
By mindless1 on 9/14/2006 6:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
Have any independent testing labs gotten ahold of Dell vs other Sony packs from these questionable (internally defective cell) lots?

It should be a pretty straightforward thing to test these, using Sony's max operating spec as applied to a Dell vs other pack with same cells. The remaining problem would be getting hold of a quantity of the Dell and non-Dell packs sufficient enough to observe the problem since the failure rate is still relatively low.

Even without a sufficiently large sample size of failing packs, it could be seen whether non-Dell packs are susceptible and whether any Dell packs are while within Sony's specs. Whatever Sony spec'd, Dell merely had to adhere to it, NOT operate them similar to how some other laptop manufacturer did.




Can't Wait for PS3 !!!!
By SuperNaruto on 9/15/06, Rating: 0
RE: Can't Wait for PS3 !!!!
By hstewarth on 9/16/2006 2:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
pretty silly - PS3 don't even use Batteries..


IBM Notebooks ignites bomb scare
By hstewarth on 9/16/2006 2:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
It looks we have another one and no words if its a sony batter - seriously doubt it because its from IBM. I don't IBM uses sony batteries..

http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/16/thinkpad-explod...

Not sure how reliable source - but the sight usely has valid information.




Keep it up!
By spindoc on 9/14/06, Rating: -1
RE: Keep it up!
By Schadenfroh on 9/14/2006 4:40:33 PM , Rating: 1
What are the chances of one of these apple or dell notebooks with the sony batteries going nova anyways?


RE: Keep it up!
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/14/2006 4:41:40 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately not very high. Would be a kickass lightshow if it did though, pull up a chair and grab a bag of popcorn.


RE: Keep it up!
By PrinceGaz on 9/14/2006 7:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
Probably very low indeed as they have none of the conditions necessary (large numbers of hydrogen ions compressed under extreme gravity such that a nuclear fusion reaction initiates) to cause a nova type eruption.

But if you meant a battery going up in smoke, or at least reaching temperatures outside what are specified, maybe one in a hundred thousand or so. You're more likely to win a decent prize on a lottery, or get run over by a bus (I must look up the odds of that). But that doesn't excuse Sony from blame for producing defective batteries any more than the fiasco last year when Sony manufactured CCDs used in many digital cameras were found to be defective over time.


Crapie Dell
By EclipsedAurora on 9/15/06, Rating: -1
RE: Crapie Dell
By laok on 9/15/2006 10:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think every notebook or battery manufacture should put in an overheat sensor inside the battery in case something goes wrong with the recharge circuit, battery cell itself etc.

Dell's quality is not that good, we know that. We buy it mostly because it is cheap.


RE: Crapie Dell
By DFranch on 9/15/2006 12:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
What about Apple, is apple cheap?


RE: Crapie Dell
By rcc on 9/15/2006 8:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
With all due respect to your degree, how do you prevent an internal short on the battery if it's already occuring. Sure you could disconnect totally, but the short is still going to be there generating heat.

Now, any good engineer builds the power source with a current limiter so that a short circuit downstream won't eath the power supply or battery, but that's the opposite problem.

I'm wondering if they surveyed usage on the flamers. Where these guys power users that had twice the number of cycles on the battery as the average user? i.e. would this have happened to all of them eventually if they hadn't been recalled.

Perhaps Dell's recharger charges the cells more quickly, but still within spec, than the Viaos, xyz's etc., and that is part of the problem.

However, as I see it, none of this would have been an issue if the cells hadn't been contaminated in the first place.

It's a bit like an auto manufacturer telling a truck driver "dude, you off-road so you'd eventually have hit a tree anyway; so we aren't responsible just because the brakes failed.


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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