In a classic Friday the 13th spoil, Dell Computer announced the company has begun a voluntary recall of around 27,000 batteries used in a variety of Dell notebook computers. The batteries can potentially short-circuit, heat up very quickly, and begin to smoke or even catch fire.
Dell purchased the faulty batteries from Sanyo Electric, one of three battery suppliers to the computer maker, said Dell spokesperson T.R. Reid.
According to Reid, the batteries can possibly ignite even when the system they are being used in is turned off.
The first and, so far, only incident of a faulty battery bursting into flames was brought to the attention of Dell at the beginning of September.
Reid said from there Dell took a conservative approach, identifying the earliest possible date the company could have received the batteries from Sanyo in an effort to recall all of the bad batteries.
"We're alerting more customers than we are recalling batteries," explained Reid, who said Dell is using letters, phones calls, and emails to alert customers who have bought Dell laptops with the faulty Sanyo batteries inside.
"Because we own the relationship with our customers, we know who [the bad batteries] were sold to," Reid said.
The faulty batteries were mainly sold in laptop computers shipped directly to customers between June 22 and September 15 in North, Central, and South America, and from June 22 through October 4 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Dell and its authorized service providers also sold individual batteries from the faulty lot during the same time periods.
The identification numbers on the recalled batteries, displayed in a two-line series of characters on a white label on the battery areas, are as follows:
- "DP/N" followed by "01691P" or "001691P" or "0001691P"
- "42011," "42012," "42013," or "42014" as a separate code
- and one of the following codes: 06F, 06J, 06K, 06M, 06N, 06Q, 06S, 06T, 07I, 073, 074, 075, 07A, 07R, 081, 082, 083, 084, 087, 088, 089, 08A, 08B, 08C, or 08L.
A small piece of stray metal trapped inside the batteries is responsible for the potential danger, Reid said.