Apple recalls 1.8M laptop batteries

Apple Computer has announced a voluntary recall of lithium ion battery packs used in certain Apple notebook computers. The recalled packs contain battery cells originally manufactured by Sony.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall today.

According to the announcement, the recall affects some 1.1 million battery packs in the United States and an additional 700,000 battery packs sold abroad. The faulty packs were assembled in Japan, Taiwan and China.

The CPSC said Apple has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two reports of minor burns from handling overheated computers and other reports of minor property damage. No serious injuries were reported.

The CPSC said the recalled lithium-ion batteries were used with the following computers: 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4 and 15-inch PowerBook G4.

Consumers should remove the battery from the computer to view the model and serial numbers labeled on the bottom of the unit, it said.

Computer model name Battery model number Battery serial numbers

ZZ338 through ZZ427
12-inch iBook G4 A1061 3K429 through 3K611
6C510 through 6C626

12-inch PowerBook G4 A1079 ZZ411 through ZZ427
3K428 through 3K611

3K425 through 3K601
15-inch PowerBook G4 A1078 and A1148 6N530 through 6N551
6N601
No other Apple notebook computers are involved in this recall.

Sony said on rare occasions microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell.

Typically, a battery pack will simply power off when a cell short circuits, Sony said in a statement. However, under certain rare conditions, an internal short circuit may lead to cell overheating and potentially flames. The potential for this to occur can be affected by variations in the system configurations found in different notebook computers.

Sony said it anticipates no further recalls of battery packs using these particular battery cells.

Sony has introduced a number of additional safeguards into its battery manufacturing process to address this condition and to provide a greater level of safety and security. 'We believe the issue has been addressed to the satisfaction of our customers,' the statement said.

According to the announcement, Sony expects the recall programs of Apple and Dell will cost the company between $172 million and $250 million.

Apple owners are asked to call (800) 275-2273 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. CT Monday through Sunday or log on to Apple's Web site at http://support.apple.com/batteryprogram to check the battery's serial number and request a replacement battery.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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