Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?

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This issue was posted a while ago in this group but I noticed some
people are really jumping on it at various websites.

Ive read the articles and frankly theyve always said Lith Ion is
inherently dangerous though the probability of a problem is veryvery
low. So given the fact that at this price point with this technology
---- its considered an acceptable risk just like the fact we drive
around in gas powered cars that can burn us to a crisp in the right
crash etc. is it really that much of a story?  Almost all devices have
some degree of risk.

For one thing the articles admit laptop and other device fires have
been going on for years though its very rare compared to the tens of
millions of devices sold. Are the numbers way up this year? Some say
probably not. One article compares it to the shark stories where you
have the same very low number of shark attacks but if one gruesome
story is caught on film or pushed by the press then suddenly hysteria
about sharks ensues for that year.  The fact these fires are caught on
video and dumped on the net now make the dangers seem much more real.

Personally id like to see a Valence Lith Ion battery option if its
safer as they claim even at a slightly higher price but so far though
I thought people in this newsgroup were a bit quick on jumping on that
guy who wanted a "safer" battery for a laptop for his kid, when I see
the ridiculously idiotic hysterical posting at websites as if tens of
thousands of laptops are bursting into flames acting as if the
probability is as high as 80% , its getting ridiculous.

Just google exploding phones and probably other devices and youll see
stories going way back.

Here one example :

A string of laptop fires, sparked by faulty or overheated batteries,
is raising concern with industry experts and computer manufacturers.
As many as 43 laptop fires have been reported in the United States
since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission.

No one died, but some laptop users were severely injured, CPSC
spokesperson Julie Vallese said. To curb this trend, laptop companies
have recalled more than 150,000 batteries since Jan. 1, 2005.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)  recalled 15,700 of them in April alone.

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL)  recalled 22,000 batteries in December, and Apple
recalled about 120,000 batteries in 2005.

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 08:26:16 GMT, ""

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Consider that the car has to crash, but the laptop could be
sitting there innocently.  Also consider that laptops are
(as a %), more often owned by the rich than poor, so of
course there's more weight behind the paranoia.

Yes Li-Ion is an inherantly dangerous technology, requiring
every duck to be in a row in today's rapid-charge,
rapid-discharge, make-everything-small-as-possible, market.
Plus there's that issue that some of these devices are used
on laps or against ears, not just sittinng in a corner.

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The problem is that now internet news and general
communication has dramatically risen, we're exposed to news
we wouldn't have been a few short years ago.  Certainly Dell
et al. aren't going to be forthcoming about past battery
explosions if it's possible to conceil these product
failures, but today it's harder to hide it, AND notebooks
are ever more common... and at lower price-points, AND there
was a time not so long ago when notebooks didnt' even use
Lithium cells, so whether % of problems has gone up or not,
total # of explosions has, and that is a definite liability

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... but I don't know if they'd established that there are
more sharks, or more people in the water, while there are
certainly more laptops in use today than ever before.  As
for percentages, I think we still aren't seeing ALL the
news, only that which was captured with a camera at the

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I think the idea of a safter battery is a good one, but
practically speaking, we have to buy what the market is
selling.  We can desire a safer battery but when all is said
and done, most would gamble with a typical battery instead
of paying significantly more.

I have an entirely different take on batteries than some
people though, I wouldn't care if a laptop weighed two
pounds more and 10 cu. in. larger to use NiMH.  Going
further, I'd rather the entire laptop were 1/2" thicker and
5 lbs. heavier if it could then run for 8 hours per charge,
I consider it ridiculous that they are currently averaging
around 2.5-3.5 hours runtime unless lightly used.  Sure, I
could carry a spare battery or two or three but that goes
against the whole idea of a laptop, that it's all integrated
into one *piece* of gear.

My main use laptop has a 17" screen and they couldn't even
manage to fit a second battery bay in it... and while I
accept that a large screen may use more power, and that more
or larger batteries may raise the price $100, I still don't
see so many laptops offering real alternatives instead of 32
flavors of essentially the same thing, only built around a
different # of features and screen size, thickness.

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I think one of the key things right now is that Sony's cells
may have an internal defect, against what Sony had
originally suggested, that it was a Dell-unique battery
problem.  If this is the case, those same Sony cells may be
in a signfiicant % of laptops sold (and still running).

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems? wrote:
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I think SONY has a big problem. Apple is now recalling 1.8 MILLION Sony
batteries. And Dell just had an even bigger recall. The batteries
suffer from the same manufacturing defect.

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?


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Yeah as crazy as it seems I actually wonder about that.  On one hand
you would think no one would recall a product unless there was a
defect but I wonder if there was a defect. They also claimed it was
only certain batteries and yet they showed a laptop using another type
of battery not recalled that caught on fire and there have been a
string of fires in the past.

If there are defects that would suggest a lot higher rate this year
since the batteries were manufactured vs the past that certainly would
be clear proof. A recall and substitution would make people think they
got a "safe" product which would take the heat off the lith ion mkt in

Ive got to wonder if there will still be the 20-40 fires anyway per
year and if there would have been a significantly higher incidence  of
fires like thousands, tens of thousands with these defective

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?

On Sat, 26 Aug 2006 13:48:42 GMT, ""

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So far the evidence suggests Sony had changed their
manufacturing process and there was a change in internal
structure of the batteries which they later corrected, but
did not recall (at the time).

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?

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Yeah I read the metal flake explanation. The problem is others posted
stories about a Vaio catching on fire and they are supposed to not
have that battery and of course theyve been catching on fire for years
before these supposed batteries went on the mkt.

Heres a thing in the InfoWord article. If its so unique to Dell why
did Apple recall them? Its all a bit confusing. I think the Apple
recall happened after people started pointing to a story about an
Apple catching fire.  

Clancy said. "System related issues" that are unique to Dell came into
play to cause the fire, he said.

Re: Laptop Battery recalls moronic hysteria or actual big spike in problems?

On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 01:17:51 GMT, ""

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Well there's more than one way to burst a battery...

But no matter what else is working, if the cells themselves
are flawed, the rest many not matter.

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I wasn't convinced it was unique to Dell, only that it was
Dell batteries Sony _admitted_ were susceptible, possibly
because Dell was a large enough customer that they had a
little leverage.  If Sony had denied it all, would Dell buy
from then again?

On the other hand, certainly Sony doesn't want to implicate
their entire line of batteries, will try to imply the
problem is as limited as they can get away with suggesting.

Remember that Sony might be more interested in retaining
sales and limiting liability, than being forthright.

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Hard to say, even on the Dell batteries that are suspect, it
doesn't rule out some other failure mechanism causing a
failure before a cell flaw mattered.  

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