Toshiba and Fujitsu join Sony laptop battery recall

By Sarah Falson

TOKYO: Toshiba and Fujitsu PC have joined Dell, Apple Computer and IBM’s Lenovo in recalling Sony lithium-ion batteries which now represents over six million units in the last month and represents the largest recall of its kind in the world.

The scare comes off the back of a well-reported incident two weeks ago when a passenger boarding an aircraft in Los Angeles found his Lenovo ThinkPad T47 sparking and smoking in his carry-on bag.

In a statement released by Sony on 29 September, microscopic metal particles included in the Sony batteries in question can short circuit when they come in contact with other parts of the battery cell.

Neither Toshiba nor Fujitsu PC have reported incidents of battery malfunctions, but both companies have released statements announcing that they’re complying with a global, Sony-funded replacement-program that will see Sony consult with its OEM customers to ascertain the quantities needed and the scheduling of replacement batteries.

“As of this time, we are not aware of any instances of battery pack problems involving Fujitsu notebook PCs similar to those that have been announced by Dell and Apple Computer,” said a statement posted on the Fujitsu PC website.

Fujitsu said it has chosen to comply with Sony’s battery replacement program and is recalling Lifebook P Series (P1510, P1510D, P7120 and P7120D), S Series (S7020, S7020D, S7025 and S7025D) and C Series (C1320 and C1320D) notebooks sold in Australia and around the globe.

The total number of Fujitsu PC notebooks to be recalled is yet to be confirmed.

Reports that Toshiba, on the other hand, has had to recall 830,000 faulty Sony notebook batteries, is hearsay, according to Mark Whittard, General Manager for Toshiba PC, in a statement he made to Current.com.au today.

“Our system design and safety issues means there is no risk of overheating,” Whittard told Current.com.au.

“Our system design is safe: the way we charge our batteries is different from other vendors. Users can continue to use Toshiba notebooks with peace of mind,” he said.

As for the number of Toshiba notebooks recalled, Whittard said: “I don’t know the exact number worldwide – I don’t think Toshiba has published a number. We haven’t announced a recall, all we’re saying is we’re cooperating with Sony.”

When asked if Toshiba would continue working with Sony in the future, Whittard commented, “Yes, we will. There shouldn’t be any problems. The batteries they make for us are of certain specifications. We use protection mechanisms; the way we charge and draw charge from the batteries is different from other vendors.”

Sony Australia has not made a formal statement regarding the latest battery-recall, and representatives were unavailable for comment today.

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