Acer recalls 27,000 laptop batteries

More fallout from the Sony battery fiasco as Acer announces a voluntary battery replacement programme, involving TravelMate and Aspire machines sold between May 2004 and November 2006.

More bad news for Sony as the fallout from its overheating battery packs spreads even further.

Just when we were beginning to think the story had died, Taiwanese manufacture Acer has now announced a global battery replacement programme, involving certain TravelMate and Aspire machines.

The company describes it as a free-of-charge 'voluntary recall programme' and 27,000 machines are believed to be affected. Why now? Acer says it was 'invited' to initiate the programme yesterday by Sony, and that it has worked in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

As with previous cases - most notably Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo - the overheating batteries pose a potential fire hazard. Specifically, it involves certain battery packs containing lithium-ion cells manufactured by Sony. Potentially affected notebooks, says Acer, were sold between May 2004 and November 2006.

In total there have been 16 reports of Sony laptop batteries overheating, all associated with earlier recalls by other manufacturers. The CPSC states that none involved batteries in Acer notebook computers.

'Although there have been no reports of injury or fire involving Acer notebook computers containing the affected Sony battery packs, Acer is offering this free-of-charge battery replacement program to all users who have an affected product,' reads the Acer statement.

You can read the full available information, including a definitive list of affected model numbers, on the UK Acer website.

This information is replicated on the site www.acerbatteryrecall.com/AcerWeb/, which also includes telephone contact details for UK consumers: 0808 238 0024

Affected users should only use the computer using AC power until a replacement battery pack is received.

Sony has blamed a manufacturing defect for the overheating problem that caused Dell, alone, to recall more than four million laptop batteries. The company explained that during manufacture tiny shards of metal were left in the battery cells, some of which caused a short-circuit leading to overheating.

It said that shard deposits are not uncommon as they are caused when crimping the tiny rolls of metal that make up the cells. While Sony said that it was taking action to prevent the problem recurring, it stressed that the underlying Lithium-Ion technology is perfectly safe.

Notoriously, videos of several of Dell's laptops bursting into flame have been posted on the Internet.

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