Laptop battery fires spreading

It's been a bad year for laptop batteries. Apple, of course, has its "you can fry an egg on it" MacBooks, but the problem is clearly not brand-specific. In a widely syndicated report, the Toronto Globe and Mail recently tallied up the recall numbers, finding that "laptop companies have recalled more than 150,000 batteries since Jan. 1, 2005. Hewlett-Packard recalled 15,700 of them in April alone. Dell recalled 22,000 batteries in December and Apple recalled about 120,000 batteries in 2005."

Boing Boing resurfaced the flaming-laptops story this weekend, running some gory photos of "self-immolating" Dells. Even more worrisome, the problems don't seem to be limited to laptops. One singed Boing Boing reader tells of his near miss with a flammable PDA: "I can tell you that a PDA with a lithium-ion battery burst into flames without any warning, apparent cause or reason while I was wearing it, lighting my shirt on fire and singing some chest hairs before I quickly ripped my shirt off and tossed the whole thing into the kitchen sink."

Ouch. No wonder consumers' tempers are getting heated up. Lithium-ions are also suspected in the case of the UPS airplane that caught fire in February. Here's the irony of the situation: Just when laptops and PDAs had reached the pinnacle of svelteness, they suddenly require a bulky new peripheral: a fire extinguisher.

Photo by sizemoresr
Posted by Oliver Ryan 11:02 PM 1 Comments comment | Add a Comment

Hot laptops can pose a number of hazards for users (see http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/hotlaptops.html). For this reason I worked with an industrial designer to create a simple and inexpensive answer to this problem with a product called LapTraxx (www.laptraxx.com). There is no need for anyone to experience a hot laptop or for laptop fires to occur if the laptop is properly cooled.
Posted By Alan Hedge, Ithaca, NY : 7:51 AM  

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.