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Safety concerns loom over Sony batteries by HP says "it's just a Dell issue"

Sony could very well be forced to announce a major recall on a large number of or all of the batteries that it manufactures. From laptops to hand held devices, Sony's batteries are now under heavy investigation by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission citing safety concerns. The investigation started after Dell's recent 4.1 million battery recall.  The Commission however says that hazardous situations are not limited to just Dell laptops -- Sony batteries are used in other computers by Apple, HP and Lenovo. HP responded by saying that "it's a Dell issue" and that it's not affected by the investigation.

Dell's recall of 4.1 million batteries however is an indication that the situation is more severe than at first appears. Earlier this month Apple issued a recall for certain batteries that shipped with its MacBook Pro notebook computer. Apple said that the batteries did not perform up to expectations but otherwise did not pose serious threat to users.

Analysts say that Dell's recall of 4.1 million batteries could cost up to $300 million depending on how many users actually send in their batteries. Lenovo told reporters that it was not recalling any batteries yet and Apple said it would look into the situation. Out of all the manufacturers using batteries from Sony, only Dell has issued a recall. Interestingly, a Sony representative told reporters that Sony believes the problem to be isolated to just Dell.

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uh oh....
By Xavian on 8/17/2006 6:43:20 AM , Rating: 2
Sony under serious investigation and a large portion of Sony-made batteries could be recalled?

Something tells me those who use Sony Batteries in their laptops wont be buying from the said manufacturer again.

All things considered, Sony seems to have bad press after bad press, i really do wonder how long Sony can endure it without starting to lose serious business to its competitors.

RE: uh oh....
By plewis00 on 8/17/2006 7:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
I was more surprised to hear no-one mention Sony VAIO laptops - like the one I'm typing on now. Do Sony even use their own cells in their machines? I know some companies don't, like I'd seen Toshiba laptops with Fujitsu and HGST hard disks installed out of the box.

To be honest, 3 fires in batteries is, of course, a big deal and very unfortunate but in the scheme of things and given the number of machines out there it is a tiny percentage, and it possibly won't happen again (touch wood). Who knows if these fried/exploding batteries hadn't been dropped by the users and the protective circuitry malfunctioned? People dropping their computers isn't that out of the ordinary.

RE: uh oh....
By LtFarva on 8/17/2006 7:51:32 AM , Rating: 2
Someone mentioned on another article thread (I believe the one about the recall) that their VAIO did not have a sony battery.

RE: uh oh....
By Johnmcl7 on 8/17/2006 8:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
In another thread someone said it was Mitsubishi who make the batteries for the Vaios.


RE: uh oh....
By Reflex on 8/17/2006 12:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
Just a couple points here. The issue is definatly not Dell, at my work one of these batteries literally exploded in the hands of a developer and set his office on fire, it was brand new and had yet to be charged. Secondly, there is no way there are less than a half a dozen cases of this, I personally am aware of two cases, and this article implies its only happened three times. There is no way that I have witnessed or been aware of 2/3 of the cases, that would just be way too coincidental...

RE: uh oh....
By creathir on 8/17/2006 1:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
Consider yourself... lucky?

Out of the 4 millions, less than 15 have exploded...
You have gotten to see this... very cool.

- Creathir

RE: uh oh....
By TomZ on 8/17/2006 8:30:29 AM , Rating: 4
Sony under serious investigation and a large portion of Sony-made batteries could be recalled?

Something tells me those who use Sony Batteries in their laptops wont be buying from the said manufacturer again.

At these types of manufacturing quantities, the batteries that Dell and the other laptop vendors order from Sony are most likely customized for their particular application, although based on common components. Therefore, it is possible that this is a Dell-only issue, due to the particular configuration Dell ordered, and may not necessarily affect other computer makers that use Sony batteries.

RE: uh oh....
By heulenwolf on 8/17/2006 9:25:02 AM , Rating: 1
The problem likely has more to do with the monitoring/charging chip built into the battery case. If you overheat Li-ion battery cells, they will melt down or explode. There's a chip in the battery case that is supposed to monitor the temp and prevent overheating and overcharging. It could be that the chip or temp monitor was improperly designed or it could be that it was designed well but fab'd poorly. The only folks who know work for Dell, Sony, and whatever company(ies) actually built the things. The individual Li-ion cells are probably as good as any others out there.

RE: uh oh....
By TomZ on 8/17/06, Rating: 0
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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