More laptop battery woes

Janet Babin Aug 25, 2006
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More laptop battery woes

Janet Babin Aug 25, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Last week, Dell recalled four million Sony batteries used in laptop computers.Now, Apple is telling people to return the batteries. 1.8 million of ’em. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: The Sony batteries were in Apple iBook G4 and Powerbook G4 computers sold from October 2003 through this month.

The batteries are made of lithium-ion. They’re popular because they’re powerful, but on rare occasions they can overheat.

Daniel Doughty is with Sandia National Labs. He spends much of his time blowing up lithium ion batteries. In the name of safety of course. He’s testing them for use in hybrid vehicles.

Doughty says lithium ion batteries also power some MP3 players and cell phones, but he doesn’t expect those to be recalled.

DANIEL DOUGHTY: “The batteries in those other applications are smaller and these types of problems are generally less severe.”

Apple documented nine instances where the laptop batteries overheated. In two of those cases users suffered minor injuries.

Sony expects the Apple and Dell recalls to cost it more than $172 million.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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