The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on January 4, 2018, that HP was recalling about 50,000 lithium-ion batteries for their notebook computers and mobile workstations. The batteries reportedly can overheat and potentially cause fires and/or burns.
According to the HP, the recall is effective worldwide and applies to computers and workstations sold between December 2015 and December 2017 at Best Buy and other authorized dealers nationwide, and at Amazon.com. The batteries were also sold separately. HP is providing battery replacement services by an authorized technician at no cost.
HP Advises Consumers to Put Products Into “Battery Safety Mode”
Customers who have one of the following products should contact HP immediately:
- HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series)
- HPx360 310 G2
- HP Envy m6
- HP Pavilion x360
- HP 11
- HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) Mobile Workstations
The batteries were also sold as replacement batteries for the HP Zbook Studio G4 mobile workstation. HP says that consumers should visit their website to see if their battery is included in the recall, and if so, learn how to enable the “Battery Safety Mode,” which prevents battery use, but still allows the computer or workstation to be used with a power adaptor. The company advises consumers to put their products into battery safety mode immediately to avoid overheating problems.
Many Companies Affected by Lithium-Ion Batteries that Overheat
According to the recall notice, HP received eight reports of these batteries overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500. In one report, there was a minor injury—a first-degree burn to the individual’s hand.
This is one of many such recalls of lithium-ion batteries because of fire and burn hazards. In addition to HP, other companies have been affected, including Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, Samsung, and more.
Last October, the Chicago Tribune reported that the U.S. government was urging the world airline community to “ban large, personal electronic devices like laptops from checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.”
The first HP lithium-ion battery recall occurred in June 2016, when the company recalled certain notebook computer batteries. They then expanded that recall in January 2017, to include batteries that were shipped with the same notebook products. All such products had the potential to overheat.
Lithium-Ion Batteries May Be Defectively Designed or Manufactured
Though lithium-ion batteries seem to be safe most of the time—they’re used in millions of technology products—they can sometimes fail because of defective design or other issues. They include two electrodes that are separated by a thin piece of plastic that keeps them from touching. If that plastic separator fails, the electrodes come into contact with one another and the battery short-circuits, which can cause overheating.
Batteries that are poorly designed or manufactured, that don’t receive the proper quality control inspection, or that are charged with a badly made or poorly insulated charger, can be vulnerable to problems.