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Dude, you're getting a lame joke about the Dell battery recall!
August 15, 2006 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Due to recent fires, Dell is recalling over four million laptop batteries manufactured by Sony and sold worldwide in the past two years. Pictures of computers on fire (as well as their charred remains) circulated widely online, not allowing the company to easily dismiss the problem as an isolated incident. Other companies claim their products aren't affected by the same issues, but the nightmare might not be limited to Dell. The future of laptops on airplanes is not looking so good.
posted by kyleg (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Jimmy's gonna send his laptop battery back to Dell. Jimmy isn't sweet on this.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


The future of laptops on airplanes is not looking so good.

I want these motherf*ckin' laptops off my motherf*ckin' plane!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2006


There's motherfucking laptops on this motherfucking plane!

... Sorry I couldn't resist.
posted by vodkadin at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2006


On the plus side it makes fuel cells look comparitively safe.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2006


Damn! Beaten by a second.
posted by vodkadin at 10:43 AM on August 15, 2006


I purchased a Dell E1705 in early June 2006. I used their handy online site to see if my battery was one of the defective parts. Turns out it wasnt. Still, as the slashdot thread points out, this isn't the first time Sony batteries have had problems.
posted by LoopyG at 10:43 AM on August 15, 2006


Pictures of computers on fire (as well as their charred remains) circulated widely online

What, no Flickr pool?
posted by Zozo at 10:45 AM on August 15, 2006


Batteries degrade over time, so a new one for free is cool.

I wish my iPod had a battery recall.
posted by smackfu at 10:47 AM on August 15, 2006


When YouTube goes back up, could somebody do a video montage of Dell laptops blowing up to Strauss's Blue Danube? That would be really good.
posted by randomination at 10:48 AM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


My favorite Dell fire photo has to be this one from today's nytimes.com.
posted by birdherder at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2006


Batteries degrade over time, so a new one for free is cool.

Yeah I know, this is a good thing. I'm just in the middle of a thesis crunch...so...it's not handy right now. The thing does get incredibly hot, though, and it might be a good thing to not have it blow lithium all over me jubblies.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2006


The site I was reading this on earlier actually noted the irony that water is now banned on airplanes but not 4 million laptops that can potentially explode. Yay, America.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:58 AM on August 15, 2006


The thing does get incredibly hot, though, and it might be a good thing to not have it blow lithium all over me jubblies.

The dog notebook ate my homework balls.
posted by eriko at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2006


Plane! Laptops! Mofo!
posted by jon_kill at 11:01 AM on August 15, 2006


It's a price blowout.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2006


But seriously -- I'm thinking the quest for runtime has maybe run too far. Lithium Ion batteries are certainly the line between safe and unsafe batteries in portable electronics. The question, and I'm not sure of the answer, is which side of the line are they one?

Thankfully, research continues. Lithium Polymer seems to avoid most of the problems of LiIon -- the internal resistance is high, though, which makes powering notebooks complicated. I expect that to be resolved in time -- they run iPods and cellphones just fine now.
posted by eriko at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2006


Here's how you can tell if your Dell laptop battery is part of the recall.
posted by justkevin at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2006


Dude, you're getting a lame joke about the Dell battery recall!

Self-referential jokes make me laugh, not on the outside, but in my SOUL.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2006


If only cell phones would do it too! Wouldn't it be fun to see that annoying S.O.B. in line in front of you at the coffee shop (or in the car) who can't be bothered to get off the phone while he/she orders suddenly have their head burst into flames. Yeah, that would be friggin' awesome!
posted by wavespy at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2006


This is just one more reason to protect the "royal family" when using a laptop. Ever since I heard about the issues affecting motility and *ahem* overall production in men, I've used a lapdesk in between the 'puter and my 'cash and prizes' Because, y'know... you GOTTA be safe, yo.
posted by indiebass at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2006


The battery on my Dell isn't one that needs recall, which means that I only have to deal with the fact that it's too hot to actually use on my lap (FWIW, Lapinator makes a fine pad).

Someone mentioned on TWiT that the really crazy thing about this problem is that it can happen while the computer is asleep, which makes it exponentially more dangerous. If my computer is on fire, is it better that it happens:

(a) While on your lap
(b) While you're asleep
(c) While you're away
posted by mkultra at 11:56 AM on August 15, 2006


The site I was reading this on earlier actually noted the irony that water is now banned on airplanes but not 4 million laptops that can potentially explode. Yay, America.

I was thinking about this moronic arbitrariness when I was flying last Thursday. They made the usual announcement about turning iPods and all other electronics off during takeoff and landing.

So--over half the people on the plane, probably, were allowed to waltz right on carrying devices that could interfere with the plane's electronics during takeoff and landing.

But no potentially epxlosive baby food or insulin. Jeebus save us.

I give it another year, maybe, before iPods are gone.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:56 AM on August 15, 2006


iPods aren't prohibited because of interference - it so you can hear the cabin crew in case something goes down.

Like, say... snakes.
posted by GuyZero at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2006


Is there any way to tell if I'm affected without, like, taking out the battery and having a look? Because to do that I have to print out the frickin' page, obviously...
posted by reklaw at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2006


Plug your laptop in while viewing the page and take out your battery? Worked for me a few hours ago.
posted by GuyZero at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2006


It's shit like this that makes me glad I still just use my desktop CPU on airplanes.
posted by NationalKato at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]



This is a 1992 study on these batteries in emergency locator beacons. Not a new problem...

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/
rgTSO.nsf/0/0f451b230d34559f86256dac0068f32a!
OpenDocument
posted by shnarg at 12:26 PM on August 15, 2006


Plug your laptop in while viewing the page and take out your battery?

Fair point.
posted by reklaw at 12:34 PM on August 15, 2006


Why do I get the uneasy feeling my wife would take the million dollar settlement over my permanently disfigured genitals.
posted by any major dude at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2006


I just found out about this yesterday, but apparently my inspiron 1300 isn't part of the recall. I even checked the battery number at that site.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2006


“This is just one more reason to protect the "royal family" when using a laptop. Ever since I heard about the issues affecting motility and *ahem* overall production in men, I've used a lapdesk in between the 'puter and my 'cash and prizes' Because, y'know... you GOTTA be safe, yo.” - posted by indiebass

Are you... are you talking about: the penis?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2006


...and chums.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on August 15, 2006


A Dell notebook computer in Thomas Forqueran’s pickup truck caught fire in July, igniting ammunition in the glove box and then the gas tanks.

Must we keep our ammo in our glove box?
posted by snofoam at 1:08 PM on August 15, 2006


He kept ammunition in the gas tanks, too? That's just asking for trouble.
posted by pracowity at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2006


snofoam writes "Must we keep our ammo in our glove box?"

What, you just want to leave it laying on the passenger seat?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:05 PM on August 15, 2006


That depends on what it's laying. Your don't want ammo eggs rolling around on your passenger seat and onto the floor. They might break, and then you've got shells everywhere.
posted by Spire at 2:44 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


i happen to work with batteries and for a company that takes those lithium ion cells and puts them in cards. the cards make a string then the strings are run in parrallel. it's basically a bomb if handled incorrectly. (also funny is that it is a mil application).

funny to think that the longer these things are used in everyday devices, the more regulated by the DOT they get. time was that lithium cells were allowed on commercial planes in bulk. then that ended.

now it's just cargo and even then certain conditions have to be met for them to be excepted. and basically the exceptions were written so that the laptop companies could get away with shipping them inside their devices.

ever wonder why you can't get more hours out of your battery? the battery companies can make batteries that will last a lot longer. problem is they get more dangerous and are no longer excepted from being shipped as a dangerous good.

i personally think they should be totally banned from all aircraft, they're that dangerous.

the other funny thing about lithium fires is that they are not going to be put out by water. in fact, water will induce more fire.

i always thought that the terrorists would figure out that a bomb is on a plane everyday. take all the consumer electronics on a plane. take the batteries out of them. string 'em all up, short 'em. ba-boom!
posted by oliver_crunk at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2006


thanks for the insight oliver_crunk.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2006


Spire writes "That depends on what it's laying. "

Fuck. And that's one that I've been trying to get right.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2006


Next get Apple to fix their grotesque laptop power adapters that are designed to lock you in to one adapter and then break. The one that looks like an eight inch audio cable and an RCA cable mated and had horrible children.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:25 PM on August 15, 2006


*eighth inch
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:25 PM on August 15, 2006


I have an Inspiron 9400 I bought in February. This morning I went to the Battery Recall page linked above and discovered that I have one of the affected batteries: C5446.

So I clicked the Identify Recalled Battery button at the bottom of the page. I had to use a magnifying glass to read the number on the battery. As I was doing this, a client called to discuss her résumé and my mom came on IM to ask if I'd heard about the recall. I dealt with both of them while I filled the PPID. I Then I clicked the Submit PPID Number(s) button and then the Order Replacement Battery button which became available.

On the next page I filled in the form with my shipping and contact information. Except, it wouldn't let me pick my state. That menu just didn't work; but, it wasn't a required field so I figured my zip code (which was required) would be enough.

I got it all done and when I clciked the button to submit it, instead of taking me to a page that said "job well done" or something swell, it took me back to the page for entering the PPID. I thought that seemed odd.

I called Dell and told the nice man what had happened. He took my information and went to the web site on his computer and entered the informatioin. He had the same problem with the state menu. But, when he submitted it, he got a confirmation page and a confirmation number which he gave me on the phone.

I asked him what browser he used and he said IE. I asked him to put in a report to the appropriate persons that the Battery Recall web site doesn't work in Firefox. Then I posted a link to a MeFi thread, turned off my computer and took it with me to an appoinment with a client.

I just got home and had dinner. There was a message on my answering machine from the Dell guy as well as some articles about the recall in my RSS feeds; so, I thought I'd see if anyone FP'd this story and kyleg had. I looked to see if anyone else had mentioned a similar experience but no one had. I thought I'd share...
posted by taosbat at 6:46 PM on August 15, 2006


I bought a Dell laptop late last year, I am not sure what type it is, but I ordered a faux carbon fiber clip-on panel to go with it, which makes it look a bit stupid.

My girlfriend is away at the moment, so yesterday afternoon I made a post on metatalk, looked up porn on the internet, and masturbated with my Dell resting warmly on my hairy legs.

There was an article in the local paper this morning about the recall, which prompted me to read this fpp. I have found the dangerous nature of lithium ion batteries surprising and being slightly paranoid (and over insured), I went home at lunch today to check whether my laptop battery had exploded and my apartment burnt down (it hasn’t).

Now I am back in the office and having read taosbat’s rather neat post I am thinking a better plan would have been to have also checked to see whether my laptop has one of the batteries affected, so I don’t have to do the whole, "has it/hasn’t it gone up in flames" again, when I get home tonight. I thought I’d share too…
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:05 PM on August 15, 2006


yeah, the apple power adapter was having so many problems they had to start using dc inboards to keep from replacing the entire logic board every time one of those got fried.... but the new adapter on the macbooks rocks.
posted by phaedon at 9:40 PM on August 15, 2006


I just wanted to say this is a great example of a breaking news post done right. That last link (from July) about a possible laptop fire in a cargo hold in February provides some really interesting context.

"Must we keep our ammo in our glove box?"

Keith Olberman had a hilarious interview with Thomas Forqueran tonight, who said the gas tank was clearly ignited by the 3-foot flames from the Dell, not his ammo, which I think he said just "popped" in the absence of a gun barrel. Forqueran also said Dell told him to rent a truck and send him the bill, and they'd discuss the rest later.
posted by mediareport at 9:48 PM on August 15, 2006


Do not taunt happy fun laptop battery.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:23 PM on August 15, 2006


Date: 8/16/2006 6:23:29 AM

Dear Customer,

Thank you for participating in the Dell recall of certain Sony batteries. Your replacement order has been received and you can expect to receive your new battery within 20 business days. You may continue to use your notebook computer safely by turning the system off, ejecting the battery, and using the AC adapter and power cord to power your system until your replacement battery is received.

US customers may check the status of this order at www.dellbatteryprogram.com. All customers will receive email confirmation when their replacement battery is shipped. With that shipment, Dell will also provide a means for you to return the affected batteries for proper disposal. If you have additional questions not covered on the recall website, or cannot access the website, please call Dell toll-free at 1-866-342-0011, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST.

Customers also can write to the company at Dell, Attn: Battery Recall, 9701 Metric Blvd., Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this issue. Shipment of quality products always has been and continues to be our foremost concern. As always, if you have questions or concerns about this or any other subject, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Dell
Attn: Battery Recall
9701 Metric Blvd., Suite 200
Austin, TX 78758
USA
posted by taosbat at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2006


Apple recalls 1.8 million Sony batteries
By RACHEL KONRAD, AP Technology Writer 7 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Computer Inc. on Thursday recalled 1.8 million Sony-built notebook batteries that could overheat and catch fire, just 10 days after Dell Inc.'s record-setting recall involving the same problem and the same supplier.

Apple said it has received nine reports of lithium-ion battery packs overheating, including two cases in which users suffered minor burns. There have been instances of minor property damage, Apple said...
posted by taosbat at 11:56 AM on August 24, 2006


And the Apple site for their recall:
https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/
posted by kyleg at 4:47 PM on August 24, 2006


I received my replacement battery today. Tomorrow I'll drop my old battery in the mail. I hope this goes well for all of us.
posted by taosbat at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2006


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