Sony has recalled a further 340,000 notebook computer batteries because it is feared they present a fire hazard. The batteries were used in machines from Fujitsu, Toshiba, Gateway and Sony’s own notebook range.
In a statement yesterday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said that lithium ion batteries in certain notebook computers sold between 2004 and this year.
The commission said that there have been 16 reports of computer batteries overheating, causing minor property damage and two minor burns.
It went on to recommend customers of Toshiba, Gateway, Sony and Fujitsu contact the manufacturer of their notebook computer to determine if their battery is covered by the recall programme.
The problem first came to light in mid August when Dell was forced to recall 4.1 million notebook computers when it was discovered that some units were capable of going on fire. The batteries were manufactured by Sony.
Two weeks later Apple Computer announced that it was going to recall 1.8 million faulty notebooks.
Weeks later Toshiba announced a recall of 340,000 batteries, followed shortly by Lenovo which was recalling 500,000.
In all it is believed that Sony has had to recall over nine million batteries.
The recall has cast a spotlight on the use of lithium-ion technology, which consist of sheets of rolled up metal that sometimes contain loose particles that cause the batteries to short circuit.
Pressure to keep up with demand for rechargeable batteries for greater numbers of mobile phones, portable music players and notebook computers could mean that the delicate batteries aren’t being made to the proper standards, it has been suggested.
As a result, energy can be released rapidly in an uncontrolled fashion causing the devices to ignite.
By John Kennedy