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Quality control at Apple continues to go down hill

Reports are surfacing that laptop batteries have become a cause for concern. A report on CBS-affiliate WCCO talks about how a boy's Apple G4 iBook burst into flames. Dave Brown, an 11-year old boy left his iBook in the living room only to find that the carpet beneath the laptop had started to melt when he returned. In fear, his parents took the laptop outside only to find it in flames several minutes later. Other users on Apple's discussion boards have reported that their power adapters have caught on fire and even the FireWire ports on some units.

DailyTech previously reported that Apple had issued a recall for MacBook Pro batteries that were showing odd behavior. Although fires haven't broken out because of the batteries, the MacBook Pros have generated a great deal of press from the amount of heat that they release when operating. One MacBook Pro even had its MagSafe AC connector catch on fire, in which Apple was quick to have photos removed from various websites that were documenting the case.

Throughout Apple's own discussion boards, posts are abundant about Apple's recent quality control woes. Last weekend, an organized call center flood was organized by many Apple customers in an attempt to get Apple's attention about problems existing with products. Several recent reports also indicated that iPods have just only one year's worth of usable life. iPod batteries are well known to deplete after a while and lose charge capacity significantly. Because of this, the iPod battery replacement business has grown exponentially over the last two years.

It appears that OEM battery manufacturers are part of the bad equation of poor quality control. Many companies are finding more methods of cost reduction and attention to quality made electronics have gone by the wayside. Cell phones have been prone to fires and even explosions due to bad batteries. As reputable as Nokia is, some of its cell phones have been known to have bad lithium ion batteries. Nokia has stated that users with problems are more than likely to have installed counterfeit Nokia batteries.

Apple has not responded to questions about its batteries or quality control issues. There was also no feedback on whether or not the organized call center flood actually achieved a tangible reaction from Apple.

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Odd facts about the Reports
By InternetGeek on 5/30/2006 3:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
First: The kid had the laptop on the carpet's floor.
Second: If you follow link they reference a laptop initiating fire on a hotel's bed.

Both those positions don't allow fresh air into the laptop easily. The intakes are partially if not completely covered. The strange part is that the laptops never shut themselves down. A partially or completely covered air intake causes a gradual temperature build up. If the laptop catches fire under normal operation I suspect the thermal cut-outs were disabled.

I can understand there are no thermal detectors on batteries, but I'm sure there are on the chipsets, harddrives, CPUs and GPUs. Even in a laptop that doesn't have a discrete graphics card there are many thermal detectors. Why didn't the laptops shut down?

Rechargeable batteries in general warm up when charging. I've never heard of batteries warming up under normal operation. If you are like me you always leave the laptop plugged so the battery works as a backup in case of power failure. So the battery is warm (not hot) on a regular basis. A user has to suspect the battery if it gets hot. And should make sure to notice the difference to support.

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By trintron on 5/30/2006 4:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
First: The kid had the laptop on the carpet's floor.

Now imagine that laptop actually being on the lap..

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By IsDanReally on 5/30/2006 11:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
My Dell laptop never shuts down when it's overheated. Often (usually when a print job gets left in the queue and prevents XP from going to standby) my work laptop (a dell Latitude D810) gets left to bake itself for a few hours in the back of my trunk, inside it's computer bag. The CPU temps get up to 65+, the entire case is extremely hot to the touch, it's almost too hot to hold, it has an interesting smell, but it never shuts down. The fans run at full speed, but in an enclosed space the size of the laptop itself, that doesn't help much...except to drain the battery quicker so it will shut off sooner. Possibly the CPU is clocking down, but being a Pentium-M although, it mostly always runs at 782 Mhz anyways.

So, is it a fire hazard? I don't know...but I certainly don't leave it on the carpet or my bed unattended...the warning that come with the computer said not have it in such places at all!

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By goku on 5/31/2006 4:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
In case you didn't notice, the fire appeared to have started at the bottom part of the laptop, not somewhere the processor or any devices that would emit a lot of heat would be.. The bottom edges of a laptop are generally where optical drives and batteries would be..

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