In what is likely one of the largest consumer electronics product recalls in history, computer maker Dell is voluntarily recalling some 4.1 million batteries sold with its notebook systems from April 1, 2004 through July, 18, 2006, due to a risk of fire. Dell is offering free replacement batteries to affected consumers.
According to Dell,the batteries can overheat under rare conditions, presenting a risk of fire, property damage, and injury to users—one of these batteries is the cause of the “flaming Dell” pictures which have been circulating around the Internet for the last few weeks. Dell says customers should not use recalled batteries, but power notebooks from their AC adapters until replacement batteries arrive. Dell says it has received six reports of the batteries overheating, causing damage to furniture and personal belongings. The company has received no reports of injuries caused by the recalled batteries.
The recalled batteries were manufactured for Dell by Sony; both Sony and Dell are cooperating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Dell believes approximately 2.7 million of the recalled batteries are in the United States.
Dell has set up a Web site dedicated to the battery return program at https://www.dellbatteryprogram.com/ for users to determine if their battery is part of the recall. Figuring out whether a given battery is subject to the recall is a little tricky since the batteries were sold over such a long period of time in many Dell systems using many different model numbers, and only some batteries in particular model numbers are affected. Some recalled batteries were also sold as stand-alone accessories, and provided to customers on service calls and through maintenance and repair programs.
Systems which potentially shipped with the recalled batteries span Dell’s Latitude, Inspiron, Precision, and XPS notebook lines, including the following models:
- D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810
- 500M, 510M, 600M, 700M, 710M, 6000, 6400, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 9400, E1505, E1705
- M20, M60, M70, M90
- XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170, XPS M1710
Users will need to have access to the Internet (to access the recall site) and be able to read the part numbers printed on the back of the battery to determine if a battery is part of the recall program—this might be a little tricky. If the potentially affected notebook is the only means of accessing the Internet, users should get the supplied AC adapter ready to go, then power down the laptop, remove the battery, and start up using the AC adapter. If users can’t access the Internet, they may contact Dell Support for their region, or write Dell at:
Attn: Battery Recall
9701 Metric Blvd.
Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758
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