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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Market indexes 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. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.