September 20, 2006 3:10 PM PDT

Flaming LAX laptop was a ThinkPad

A burning laptop that frightened passengers at Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend was a ThinkPad, Lenovo confirmed Wednesday, and that notebook ships with Sony's battery technology.

The incident, described by a poster at the Web site Something Awful, involved a passenger running back up the jetway as a plane was boarding with a smoking laptop that eventually caught fire. Lenovo dispatched a team of investigators to Los Angeles within 12 hours of the incident, and confirmed that the laptop was a ThinkPad T43, said Ray Gorman, a company spokesman.

Because the area of the computer containing the battery was severely burned as a result of the incident, Lenovo has yet to confirm that the ThinkPad T43 was using one of Sony's batteries, Gorman said. That model does ship with Sony's batteries, but some notebook users choose to use different batteries after they purchase the system, he said.

Lenovo still has not seen an unusual number of incidents involving its notebooks and Sony's batteries, Gorman said. PC and consumer electronics companies have always had problems with batteries on occasion, but Sony's batteries were at the heart of two huge battery recalls announced by Dell and Apple Computer in August. That particular recall was caused by Sony battery cells that could potentially cause a short circuit if tiny shards of metal left over from the manufacturing process worked holes in the battery cells.

At the time of the Dell and Apple recalls, Lenovo took great pains to distance itself from its competitors, saying it uses a different charging voltage in its notebooks and has a different design for its battery casing.

Lenovo and Sony are working together to determine if the battery involved in last weekend's incident was one of the ones involved in the recall, and more information is expected over the next couple of days, Lenovo's Gorman said.

See more CNET content tagged:
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11 comments

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Not a good year for Sony
Sony first loaded their music cds with drm that used a rootkit, then they made that horrible racists white psp ad, then their batteries start exploding on people, forcing Dell and Apple to recall batteries by the millions. Did I miss anything? Maybe a Sony van ran over a little old lady and her girl scout troop as they were collecting money for blind lesbian albino ducks?

Maybe the last one didn't happen but right now, I think anything can happen.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yup, you forgot one.
Toshiba just issued a battery recall for batteries that would not charge properly. No fire issue, but they have to be replaced as well. And the batteries were made by .... SONY.
Posted by Mycroft_514 (19 comments )
Link Flag
The problem is Software, not batteries
It really surprises me that people haven't talked about the fact that the real reason behind these fires is that the software to put the computer on stand-by fails frequently and if you put your laptop into your briefcase when it is still humming away, of course it is going to cause a fire !! This isn't a problem with Sonys batteries. It is any laptop which does not go on Standby when you request it to. This happens so much with my IBM that it is maddening !!!
Posted by tlasater (3 comments )
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its not the software
the problem is the batteries not the software. software cant make a laptop get on fire
Posted by superman9956 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Faulty Logic
Your IBM catches fire a lot?

There's a flaw somewhere in your argument...
Posted by lobsterman (5 comments )
Link Flag
CONFIRMED: the battery was indeed from Sony
And the PROBLEM is definitely with the Sony batteries themselves. It's been identified as being a manufacturing flaw that, given enough voltage from the battery charger, will cause the internal materials of battery to ignite and subsequently explode.

Whatever issues you have with standby mode on your ThinkPad is not related to the identified problem that causes the cascade failure of these Sony batteries.
Posted by make_or_break (3747 comments )
Link Flag
So what they are saying is...
That laptop is hot! hot! hot!

Good thing it was on a plane at 30,000 feet! Maybe until the battery problem is corrected (software or battery issue) notebooks shouldn't be allowed on the plane as carry on or cargo.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Contradiction in story
The first paragraph says:

"was a ThinkPad, Lenovo confirmed Wednesday, and that notebook ships with Sony's battery technology."

Yet the 3rd paragraph says:

"That model does ship with Sony's batteries"

Which is it??

- rmjb
Posted by rmjb (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No contradiction
Read the lines you quoted again - they both say the same thing. I think you must be imagining a "not" in the second line (it does sound almost as if there should be one, but there's... not).
Posted by Boinng (2 comments )
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