Monday, September 25, 2006

Lithium battery in ThinkPad catches fire at LAX

Further to the subject of fires in lithium ion batteries, CRN reported:

A Lenovo Group spokesman on Sept. 25 pledged that public safety will be the company's first priority as it weighs what steps to take after a Lenovo ThinkPad T43 laptop with a Sony battery cell caught fire on Sept. 16 at Los Angeles International Airport.

Ray Gorman confirmed the ThinkPad T43 used the same Sony battery cells that were at the center of a recall of nearly 6 million Dell and Apple laptops earlier this year. However, he stressed that Lenovo has a different battery pack design than Apple and Dell.

The report of the burning ThinkPad in the Los Angeles airport comes as airlines Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air and Qantas placed restrictions on passengers that have Apple or Dell notebooks. Virgin requires passengers to remove the battery packs from those laptops.

IPBiz notes the CRN report did not have any possible causes of the lithium battery malfunction. In fact, the CRN report did not use the word "lithium."


Bloomberg later noted:

On Sept. 28, Lenovo and IBM recalled the batteries used in its Thinkpad notebook computers after one of them caught fire in a Los Angeles airport terminal as the user was boarding an airplane. There were no reported injuries. When Apple Computer Inc. withdrew 1.8 million batteries in August, Sony released a statement saying it did not anticipate further recalls.

``We cannot disclose the names of client PC makers to whom we supply our batteries - that's for those companies to do,'' said Sony spokesman Takashi Uehara. ``We will start discussions with those companies as soon as possible.''

Of other companies using Sony-made lithium ion batteries:

Fujitsu Ltd., Japan's third-largest personal computer maker, said it will announce Sept. 29 which of its computers contain Sony batteries.

Hewlett-Packard Co. acknowledged using Sony-made cells in its battery packs, but said it does not know how many of its notebooks could be affected. ``Sony told us that the cells in the batteries provided from the vendor have no problem,'' Spokesman Satoshi Nakajima said,


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