Sony issues recall for own batteries

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By  Published  October 20, 2006

After weeks of speculation, electronics giant Sony recalled 60,000 of its own notebook batteries in Japan last week because of the potential danger of overheating.

The firm is following in the footsteps of a number of vendors who have reported problems with batteries it has manufactured.

While it is recalling a comparatively low number of batteries, media speculation has it that the Japanese vendor will end up recalling around 300,000 of its own batteries.

Sony also said it was reviewing its full-year earnings outlook in light of the recalls.

“We are in the process of determining whether a revision to our annual earnings outlook is necessary, taking into account various factors that could affect our group earnings,” the company said in a statement on its web site last week.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) has also added its name to the list, but did not reveal how many of its batteries would be affected, and Hitachi is recalling 16,000 batteries.

Fujitsu revealed on October 4 it was recalling 287,000 Sony-made batteries following its announcement at the end of September that it was issuing a recall, but not specifying how many were being pulled.

FSC, Fujitsu and Hitachi have all denied that there are any problems with their batteries and said they are just cooperating with Sony following its launch of a global replacement programme on September 28.

These latest figures, combined with those of Toshiba, Lenovo, Dell and Apple, put the total number of batteries affected to date at over 7.7 million.

HP is yet to recall its Sony-made notebook batteries and has gone so far as issuing a joint statement with Sony on October 2 claiming that its batteries have not been prone to any overheating issues.

HP said it had received no reports of overheating in any of its notebooks using batteries currently included in the global replacement programme.

The problems with the Sony batteries occur when, in rare circumstances, tiny metal particles in the battery cell come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell.

Sony said that normally when this happened a battery back will simply power off, but under certain conditions — which can be affected by variations in the configuration in different notebooks — the short circuit can lead to the cell overheating and setting itself alight.

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