According to a recent article in Business Week Online, The Truth About Fiery Laptops, the recent Sony recall of six million laptop batteries for Dell and Apple laptop computers brings to light an inherent danger in lithium batteries. Although the risk of laptops bursting into flames is relatively small, a large amount of power packed into a very small space does create a potentially dangerous situation. An explosion fire can develop in any of the following situations: overcharging the battery, electrical fault such as short circuit, combination of oxygen, fuel and heat inside the cells, or physical damage to the battery.
Lithium batteries apparently are the only real choices for laptop batteries. Consumers should minimize their risks by treating the batteries gently, protecting them from overheating, and removing batteries while traveling. To verify whether your laptop battery is affected by the recent recall, check one of the following press releases by the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- The U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) press release of August 15, 2006 provides details about the Dell laptop computers affected by the recall and contact information for Dell.
- The U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) press release of August 24, 2006 provides details about the specific batteries included in the recall and contact information for Apple.