In what may turn out to be one of the largest consumer electronics product recalls in history, computer maker Dell is voluntarily recalling some 4.1 million batteries sold with a wide range of its notebook systems over a more-than-two-year period ranging from 01-Apr-04 through 18-Jul-06. Dell is offering free replacement batteries to affected consumers via a Battery Return Program Web site.
According to Dell, the recalled batteries can overheat under rare conditions, presenting a risk of fire, property damage, and/or injury: the company has received six reports of the batteries overheating and causing damage to furniture and personal belongings. The company has received no reports of injuries caused by the recalled batteries. Dell says customers should not use recalled batteries, but power notebooks from their AC adapters until replacement batteries arrive.
Why are we noting a Dell battery recall here? First, many Mac owners also use “those other” computers and may be directly affected by Dell’s recall. Second, the recalled batteries were manufactured for Dell by Sony, and Sony also manufactures batteries for Hewlett-Packard and Apple. HP has already said none of its products are impacted by the issues forcing Dell to recall batteries; so far, Apple is still investigating whether any of its products might be impacted. Apple instituted a recall of MacBook Pro batteries at the end of July 2006 due to performance issues, not overheating problem (see “Apple Recalls Underperforming MacBook Pro Batteries”).