August 14, 2006 3:17 PM PDT

Dell to recall 4 million batteries

Dell and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plan to recall 4.1 million notebook batteries on Tuesday, a company representative confirmed Monday.

The recall affects certain Inspiron, Latitude and Precision mobile workstations and XPS units shipped between April 2004 and July 18, 2006. Sony manufactured the batteries that are being recalled, the representative said. Click here to see photos of recalled batteries.

If they have one of the affected units, consumers are advised to eject the battery from the notebook after powering down and continue using the notebook with its AC power adapter, the CPSC said. Dell has so far received six reports of overheating units that caused property damage, but no injuries.

Dell has faced several issues this year related to exploding or flaming notebooks, and wants to ensure the safety of its customers, the representative said. The 4.1 million units is a subset of the 22 million units shipped during that time frame, he said. Dell said it doesn't expect the cost of the recall to materially affect its earnings. The company reports earnings for the previous quarter this Thursday.

At the moment, this looks like the largest battery recall in the history of the electronics industry, said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "The scale of it is phenomenal."

Sony will help pay the costs associated with the recall of 4.1 million batteries the company supplied to Dell, said Rick Clancy, a Sony spokesman.

"We are supporting Dell's recall," Clancy said. "There will be financial assistance and we are sharing engineering data and both doing further research." He declined to specify exactly how much assistance Sony would provide.

Tell us your story
Had a problem with a laptop battery? We want to hear about it. Just send us an e-mail.

Customers will be able to go to a Dell Web site or to the Consumer Product Safety Commission site to determine if they need a new battery. Dell also plans to launch a toll-free number, 1-866-342-0011, for people affected by the situation, IDC analyst Richard Shim said.

"It's a huge deal," Shim said, particularly for Dell customers with employees in remote locations or traveling. "If you have people all over the field, then you're asking folks to send in the batteries and run off just AC (alternating current power) until they can get new batteries shipped out to them."

Dell had only six incidents over millions of units, Shim said, but it's "a dangerous situation."

What causes the problem?
Lithium ion batteries have two to three times the energy density of nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries and four times the energy density of lead-acid batteries. Higher energy density translates to longer battery life. Lithium ion batteries are used in consumer electronics and notebooks, which only require a limited amount of energy. Hybrid cars and power tools, however, generally use more traditional batteries, in part because of the risk of explosion.

Dell battery packs

The problems Dell is having stem from impurities within the anode and cathode of the battery, said Kay, who was briefed on the problems by Dell executives. Over time, those impurities, usually tiny pieces of metal, can work their way to the edge of the anode or cathode and rupture the isolator that sits between the two, he said. Once that happens, you get a short circuit and possibly a fire.

In cell phones, lithium ion batteries can overheat because of a short circuit. If the temperature rises slowly, the battery case may melt. If it rises rapidly, however, enough pressure may be generated to create a small explosion in a lithium ion battery. Consumers have suffered severe burns as a result of these failures. The chemical reaction that produces energy in a lithium ion battery is considered quite violent.

Several companies, including Valence Technology and PowerGenix, are working on safer lithium ion batteries or batteries which rely on different chemicals.

"The timing of this does buy Dell goodwill with customers and potential customers," said Sam Bhavnani, an analyst with Current Analysis. The first pictures of exploding laptops were posted in June, and the company has moved fairly quickly to investigate whether or not the problems were isolated or more widespread, he said.

Models in the hot seat

Dell plans to announce a recall of 4.1 million batteries worldwide on Tuesday. Here's a list of the affected models.

D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810
6000, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 500m, 510m, 600m, 6400, E1505, 700m, 710m, 9400, E1705
Dell Precision
M20, M60, M70 and M90 mobile workstations
XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170 and XPS M1710

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

It's possible that other PC vendors are using the Sony batteries in their products, Kay said. Dell executives told Kay that the company was one of the first to begin using this type of battery, and that they think other problems will crop up down the road for other PC companies.

But even if two companies use the same batteries, they don't necessarily design the technology that connects the battery to the notebook in the same way, Kay said. For example, Lenovo's notebooks use software that's designed to shut down the battery if it notices a problem and they charge the batteries more slowly than others in the industry, a company representative said. A Dell representative was unable to comment on the specifc technology it uses to enclose its batteries.

Sony's lithium ion cells can be found in the battery packs used by other manufacturers, but at this point Sony and those manufacturers have not seen the same level of problems that affected the Dell notebooks with Sony's technology, Clancy said. "We are in close communication with our customers, and as appropriate we will work with them and the CPSC if needed," he said.

A Lenovo representative said the company has not seen an unusual pattern of problems with its notebook batteries, although no PC company is immune to battery issues from time to time. Lynn Fox, an Apple Computer spokeswoman, said, "We are currently investigating whether batteries that have been supplied to Apple for our current and previous notebook lines meet our high standards for battery safety and performance." Representatives for Hewlett-Packard and Gateway were not immediately available to comment.

CNET's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
Richard Shim, recall, battery, Dell, notebook computer


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Add your comment
Sony Notebook Batteries-Recall
I own a Sony VGN-S460 Notebook. Does anyone know if the battery in my notebook is affected by the recent recall of Sony batteries in Dell computers? I bought my notebook during the period covered by Dell's recall.
Posted by kiallan (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Try This....
Try checking your battery part number against those given on ..
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

The site explains where to find the information.
Posted by jeckp (2 comments )
Link Flag
Sony uses same batteries as Dell
According to the New York Times, exactly the same batteries are
used in Sony's own laptops. BUT, there are no known reports of
those batteries exploding or causing fires in Sony laptops. There
can be differences in how batteries function based on differences in
design of the computer.

However, remain aware of the issue in case the recall of the Dell
batteries, which are actually Sony batteries, expands.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
More to follow...
Expect Apple and HP to follow with battery recalls. They both use
the same batteries made by Sony.
Posted by lkrupp (1608 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hewlett-Packard does not use Sony batteries in its PCs
Why are you taking such a giant leap to put HP and Apple in the same event with Dell?

Nothing has been reported, in fact quite the opposite has been said. Please read on . . .

"Shares of rival Hewlett-Packard Co. spiked 70 cents, or 2.1 percent, to end at $33.99, just below its 52-week high of $34.52. Shares of Gateway Inc. surged 15 cents, or 11.3 percent, to close at $1.48, both on the New York Stock Exchange. Hewlett-Packard does not use Sony batteries in its PCs, and Gateway said it doesn't expect to experience Dell's battery problems".

By BY SHAILA DANI AP Business Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

Let's calm down until all the facts are in. Jeeeeesh!!
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Link Flag
Hewlett-Packard does not use Sony batteries in its PCs
Why are you taking such a giant leap to put HP and Apple in the same event with Dell?

Nothing has been reported, in fact quite the opposite has been said. Please read on . . .

"Shares of rival Hewlett-Packard Co. spiked 70 cents, or 2.1 percent, to end at $33.99, just below its 52-week high of $34.52. Shares of Gateway Inc. surged 15 cents, or 11.3 percent, to close at $1.48, both on the New York Stock Exchange. Hewlett-Packard does not use Sony batteries in its PCs, and Gateway said it doesn't expect to experience Dell's battery problems".

By BY SHAILA DANI AP Business Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

Let's calm down until all the facts are in. Jeeeeesh!!
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Link Flag
Sony's String of Bad Luck Continues
Let's see now:

1) Widespread problems with WEGA LCD projection TVs
2) PS3 delays
3) DRM/spyware fiasco
4) Walkman Bean failure
5) Connect failure
6) Continued unwillingness to recognize that *nobody* wants overpriced, underperforming Sony proprietary formats (MiniDisc, Memory Stick, UMD, etc.)

And now this? What happened to the creative, quality-oriented Sony I grew up with?!?!

The only great thing to come out of Sony in the last 10 years is SACD and I hope it doesn't die (it's not looking good right now for anyone other than classical music aficianados).

-Mister Winky
Posted by Mister Winky (301 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Almighty Dollar...
They have been spending all their time trying to figure out how to soak more money from us, yet still keep up from being able to use their product properly.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
Bad luck?
Those actions, or lack of, were all deliberate and thought out.

That is not bad luck, that is greed and stupidity catching up on them.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
For first-hand information on the battery recall, here's a link to the Dell blog and a copy of the Dell news release:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Dell Announces Battery Recall
Instructions On Companys Web Site Tuesday at 1 A.M. Central Daylight Time

ROUND ROCK, Texas, Aug. 14, 2006In cooperation with the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies worldwide, Dell is today announcing the voluntary recall of approximately 4.1 million Dell-branded lithium-ion batteries with cells manufactured by Sony. Under rare conditions, it is possible for these batteries to overheat, which could cause a risk of fire.
The recalled batteries were sold with the following Dell notebook computers: Dell Latitude" D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810; Inspiron" 6000, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 500m, 510m, 600m, 6400, E1505, 700m, 710m, 9400, E1705; and Dell Precision" M20, M60, M70 and M90 mobile workstations; and XPS", XPS Gen2, XPS M170 and XPS M1710. The batteries were also sold separately, including in response to service calls. Dell and one of the following are printed on the batteries: Made in Japan or Made in China or Battery Cell Made in Japan Assembled in China. The identification number for each battery appears on a white sticker. Customers should have this number available when they contact Dell to determine if their battery is part of the recall.
Dell sold or provided these batteries with the notebook computers, as part of a service replacement, and as individual units from April 1, 2004, through July 18, 2006. The computers with these batteries sold for between $500 and $2,850 (US) and individual batteries sold for between $60 and $180 (US).
Customers should contact Dell to determine if their notebook computer battery is part of this recall. Please visit the firms Web site at beginning at 1 a.m. Central Daylight Time Aug. 15 or call toll-free at 1-866-342-0011, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Customers may continue to use the notebook computers safely by turning the system off, ejecting the battery, and using the AC adapter and power cord to power the system until the replacement battery is received. Customers can also write to: Dell Inc., Attn: Battery Recall, 9701 Metric Blvd., Austin, Texas 78758.
Dell does not expect this recall to have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, financial position or cash flows.

About Dell
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL - News) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell sells more systems globally than any computer company, placing it No. 25 on the Fortune 500. Company revenue for the past four quarters was $56.7 billion. For more information, visit <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>. To get Dell news direct, visit <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>.

Special Note

Statements in this press release that relate to future results and events (including statements about Dells anticipated financial results) are forward-looking statements based on Dells current expectations. Actual results in future periods could differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including: general economic, business and industry conditions; the level and intensity of competition in the technology industry and the pricing pressures that have resulted; local economic and labor conditions, political instability, unexpected regulatory changes, trade protection measures, tax laws and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; the ability to accurately predict product, customer and geographic sales mix; the ability to timely and effectively manage periodic product transitions; reliance on third-party suppliers for product components, including dependence on several single-source supplier relationships; the ability to effectively manage operating costs; the failure to attract and retain qualified personnel; the level of demand for the products and services Dell offers; the ability to manage inventory levels to minimize excess inventory, declining inventory values and obsolescence; and the effect of armed hostilities, terrorism, natural disasters and public health issues on the economy generally, on the level of demand for Dell's products and services and on Dell's ability to manage its supply and delivery logistics in such an environment. Additional discussion of these and other factors affecting Dells business and prospects is contained in Dells periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Posted by mc at dell (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Need Details and Info, Click Here.
For first-hand information on the battery recall, here's a link to the Dell blog and a copy of the Dell news release:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by RBinny (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony's been making faulty L-Ion batteries for over 11 years has a "short" memory. Sony was the designer and
build partner for Apple's PowerBook 5300 battery - the original

Introduced in the fall of 1995, only about 1500 of the units had
shipped when the battery - again, designed and built by Sony -
caught fire in an Apple lab. A separate overheating incident at
Apple later that week caused the company to pull all the stops to
recall, replace, and destroy the Sony L-Ion cells with NiMH

Apple's new flagship laptop started life with a misstep because
of Sony - who Apple never explicitly named in the press.

What's Sony's problem? Have they figured L-Ion batteries out in
the past 11 years? Apparently not.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony Quality
A lot of recalls on devices have been related to Sony parts or Products. Their quality has been going downhill for year. I have been fighting for over a year to get my TV. However, the problem is related to a Sony design flaw, so it is seen as "normal" behavior for my model of TV. Appearently, "normal" operation for a Sony TV is a picture so blurry you can only stand to watch it for 30 minutes before you have a headache.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
Hmm, more bad press for SONY
Hmm, more bad press for SONY, yet again!

Will wonders never cease!, for the PR sails one way on an implausable mission statement, reality is 180 degrees about face!

Thankyou SONY, for demonstrating yet again, as to why one should always avoid purchasing anything with that brand label!

As any cynic would say, why am I not surprised!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
3 weeks for new battery
I just placed in the Battery Recall order and it will take at least 20 days for them to ship it. and some other battery type takes at least 79 days. never will i buy from Dell again.
Posted by phoinix3 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
make that a month
Dell say it is 20 business days. This usually means Mon to Fri, so that could be 28 days total. I tried to buy a spare battery on line for my Inspiron 600m. Delivery was quoted as 5 to 7 WEEKS. A battery to plug into the CD reader slot was quoted as 2 to 7 DAYS. Dell should be sending out whatever they have that will work with your laptop and replacing that when supplies allow.
Just glad I sold my Dell stock 18 months ago.
Posted by gpmboston (3 comments )
Link Flag
LOL... Dell Encourage's Service Renewal's...
Hmmm... Yeah I didnt think it was just a coincidence that 2-3 dell laptops at my job have battery issues. I'll be letting my I.T. Manager know about this first thing this morning.
Posted by clamarai (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Express Charge at fault
Dell won't admit it, but Dell's Express Charge technology is really at fault. Couple the serious overcharging of the battery with a battery made by the lowest bidder and you get fires! You'll notice Dell is the only company brazen enough to ignore good engineering sense and not over heat, over charge chemicals so users can save a mere hour on charge times. So sad that blatant disregard for public safety is ignored.
Posted by drudixon1 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does anyone need anymore proof about Sony quality?
Seriously, the string of news to come out of Sony in recent times should be a red flag to everyone: BEWARE OF CHEAP SONY QUALITY.

They are far from the king of electronics as they once were.
Posted by SonicV4 (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"The King is Dead"
Back in the '80s, when I worked for Panasonic, Sony was the big, bad monster whose quality and innovation drove us nuts-and kept us in the #2 slot among electronics mfrs. Well, Sony is still innovating: creating products nobody wants, and designing others that die horrible deaths.
You thought they would have learned from the American companies they supplanted. Arrogance will get you nowhere. In this industry, nobody cares what you did last year - it's what you're doing tomorrow that counts.
Posted by rrothfeldt (3 comments )
Link Flag
Recall all Sony products
Perhaps they tried to put DRM technology into their batteries. Maybe they will work better when the DRM is turned on by Vista when it comes out.

....and here I just bought a Dell laptop thinking how nice it was to screw Sony.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony quality (or lack thereof)
Sony adds poor quality to their lamentable customer service record. Way to go!
Posted by P. Jackson (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell's problem with handling Sony battery
To me, it seems it's Dell's fault on engineering the way to handle the battery. Many laptop manufacturers use Sony battery with different way (software) to handle the battery under certain circumstances such as charging and emergency stopping. I wonder if that's the reason why only Dell's laptop burns so far.
Posted by leojei (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ya....there is so many product using sony's battery as well, even sony own products. But, we never have seen issue like this. This may be design or handle issue between Dell and Sony. I think they will find out their solution and other PC brand will not have the same issue. :) Don worry
Posted by davidcplee (2 comments )
Link Flag
"Dell to recall "4.1" million batteries"
Not that Cnet is biased or anything, but when taking repeated
stabs at Mac computers in the past, they would go into precise

Example, "Apple to recall 3 million, three hundred and thirty
four thousand, six huntred and twenty one free sample
notepads, and then they'd plaster every page with "3,334,621
free sample notepads being recalled"

So, your title is misleading, it's actually 4."1" million, not 4
million, your off by one hundred thousand, which makes your

Posted by D_av1d (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Analyst briefed by DELL, not Sony. WHO is at fault??
- If the Dell Executives knew of the problem, how and when did
they know?
- Who briefed them? Sony?
- What is _Sony's_ official response about thier batteries??
- What was the probability that the batteries could become
- Under what conditions?? Is the design of the enclosure a factor?
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Recall Dell!
You get what you pay for people.

Recall all Dells, sell the stock &#38; give all the money back to their shareholders &#38; customers...

Cut corners on time, quality &#38; quality &#38; this is what you get...people want a great computer for about 300 dollars, you get what you pay for.

Legacy grey market compoments assembled by underpaid worker drones with lousy customer service...

Ding Dong Dell's Dead.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell design, and Dell's Battery Specs.
&gt;For example, Lenovo's notebooks use software that's designed to shut down the battery if it notices a problem and they charge the batteries more slowly than others in the industry,...&lt;

In addition, are Dell's batteries comparable to the competition, or did they order an "extra cheap model" from Sony?
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NYT: Dell Lie/Coverup (Link)
From the New York Times:

"Although Dell told the agency that only six incidents had occurred, a reporter viewed almost 100 photos of melted notebooks that were returned to the company between 2002 and 2004.

The photos, from a Dell database, were supplied by a former Dell technician, Robert Day, who said such damage was more of a common thing than they are letting on. As many as several hundred a year were returned. Mr. Day said, I did see so many pallets of stuff coming in that they had to use my lab for overflow storage.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And you believe NY Times
How is it you can put any trust in what the NY Times says. Look at all the problems with thier reporting, especially when it comes to pictures. I have a question, do you think that there is more smoke in the Dell pictures or about what one would expect. Maybe they doctored the pictures with PS.

Well.... [food for thought]
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Link Flag
Rest of the story ...
As a Dell employee, I found it interesting how you chose to excerpt the Times' article. To be fair and balanced, the Times' next paragraph reads as follows:

But David Lear, the director of environmental affairs and product safety at Dell, said most of the damage to those notebooks was unrelated to battery issues. Ninety-nine percent of the time they are not safety issues, he said.

When the final story is written on this issue, it will be apparent that Dell was on top of the situation and acted proactively and responsibly to resolve it.
Posted by johnqpope (13 comments )
Link Flag
It's a "Feature"! ...
Retail sale scenario:
"May I direct you over here to the exploding models"

"It's called the "shuffle". You never know when it will explode."

"This computer has a unique light emitting technology and built in
hibachis for camping trips."

"These Dells over here are experiencing explosive growth."
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The truth be told - who uses what!
"Well-made lithium-ion batteries are perfectly safe," he said. "This is a manufacturing problem and not an indictment of lithium-ion technology."

Sony provides battery components for other computer makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd., which said it gets a "handful" of reports each year of overheated batteries but does not plan a recall. Spokesman Bob Page said Lenovo's machines have other features, including software that disables the machine if it detects unsafe conditions.

Dell has been using Sony battery parts longer than other manufacturers, and Lenovo and others may eventually develop similar problems, Kay said.

Apple, which analysts say also uses Sony battery cells, said it was investigating the situation. Hewlett-Packard Co. said it does not use Sony batteries and was not affected by the recall. Fujitsu said it builds its own batteries.

By DAVID KOENIG AP Business Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

To read the entire article go here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let's hope...
...that manufacturers take note and stop using Sony products.
Posted by SonicV4 (37 comments )
Link Flag
SONY Laps run pretty hot, too
I've retired 4 ThinkPads honorably (I kid you not, not one of them bluescreen'd--ever) but have switched to a VAIO, bought last month on sale. I noticed on Day One that whoo wee this battery cooks, I mean cooks, as in you can't touch the coffee table surface it was sitting on until it cools off a bit. I love this laptop--and the chances are small it will pull a HAL9000--but I wonder about the problem expanding. It could create a new meaning for anything that explodes into a blaze:
"It's a SONY!"
Kidding. I'm a kidder.
Posted by RedAIert (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Friends don't let friends buy Dells
Or HP, Compaq, Gateway, ect.

Haven't people had enough of these crappy computer makers yet?

Buy from a real company, or better yet build your own, it is very simple.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Name more than one uncrappy computer maker? No name One!
I have to know, what computer maker are you refering to that is not crappy?
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Link Flag
Friends dont let friends etc.
And which computer company do you recommend. And, just perhaps, do you work for that company?
Posted by inrpce (1 comment )
Link Flag
New battery received in less than 48 hours
I filled in the battery replacement form at 8:30am on Aug 15. My request number was a few hundred digits less than 20,000(I don't want to give the exact number).
At 8.15am on Aug 17, a packaged was dropped at my door containing a replacement battery and return instructions and post free address label.
All I can say is thanks Dell, way to go. And no, I do not work for Dell and as my previous post stated, I sold my shares at a high some time ago.
Posted by gpmboston (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hello...Dell Customer Support
OOOOHHHH! You wanted the NON-instantaneous-random-combustible battery in your Dell laptop?

That will be extra for that. Would you like the What-The-Dell-extended-warranty with that as well?

Sell all of your Dell stock &#38; fire Michael Dell!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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