Lenovo Recalls 209,000 Notebook Batteries

In conjucntion with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, computer maker Lenovo is recalling some 205,000 notebook computer batteries manufactured for its systems by Sanyo. If struck on a corner (perhaps by a fall or accident), in some cases the batteries can overheat and pose a fire hazard.

The recall affects 9-cell lithium ion batteries which shipped with Lenovo ThinkPad notebook computers worldwide between November 2005 and February 2007. The batteries were standard or optional accessories on R60 and R60e systems, T60 and T60ps, and Z60m, Z61e, Z61m, and Z61p notebooks. These notebooks may have shipped with either 6-cell or 9-cell batteries; however, only the 9-cell batteries are being recalled, and all recalled batteries feature the part number FRU P/N 92P1131 on the battery label.

Lenovo is offering tools and information on its Web site for customers to determine if their battery is part of the recall; customers can also call Lenovo at 800/426-7378 for help determining if their battery is being recalled. Lenovo is offering free replacement batteries to impacted customers; Lenovo recommends impacted customers remove the batteries from their computers and power the systems using the AC adapter until a replacement battery arrives.

Lenovo estimates about 100,000 affected batteries were sold in the United States, while the rest were sold worldwide. The company has received four reports of the batteries overheating and damaging notebook computers, causing minor property damage, and in one case causing eye irritation to a user.

Both Lenovo and Sanyo are trying keep this recall from being lumped together with the massive Sony battery recall in 2006, which involved some 10 million batteries. The companies emphasize the hazard from these batteries is not due to a manufacturing defect in the battery cells themselves, whereas Sony’s recall stemmed from internal battery cells being contaminated with small bits of metal. Sanyo is picking up the cost of replacing the batteries.