Lenovo recalls 500,000 notebook batteries

29 Sep 2006

Chinese computer hardware giant Lenovo’s PC division, which it bought from IBM last year, has become the latest notebook computer manufacturer to announce a recall of lithium-ion batteries manufactured worldwide by Sony Corporation. It emerged last night that 526,000 batteries are being recalled.

In the latest instalment of a saga that spells bad news for Sony, Lenovo became the fourth PC manufacturer to recall the faulty batteries.

The saga began back in August when Dell announced what was then the largest recall in computer industry history and began taking back 4.1 million units. This was followed a fortnight later by Apple with 1.8 million units recalled.

In recent weeks Japanese electronics firm Toshiba also announced a recall of 340,000 units.

Lenovo’s part in this tragedy began a month ago after it emerged that a Lenovo ThinkPad T43 caught fire at Los Angeles International Airport.

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.

In a statement last night, Lenovo said that it was recalling approximately 526,000 batteries in “the interests of public safety”.

The company said that it will offer customers free-of-charge replacement batteries for all recalled batteries.

The company also added: “Although no make or model of battery is immune from some overheating or failure, Lenovo has confirmed that these batteries can be subject to overheating, posing a potential fire hazard, and Lenovo is advising customers to check if they are using one of the affected batteries.”

The following notebook computer models were affected: the T Series (T43, T43p, T60); the X Series (X60, X60s) and the R Series (R51e, R52, R60, R60e).

Lenovo estimates that between five and 10pc of ThinkPad notebooks sold during period of February 2005 to September 2006 are affected by the recall.

The company said that Sony has agreed to financially support the recall.

By John Kennedy