Apple recalls old power adapters

Responding to reports that the power adapters used on some older PowerBook models can overheat, creating a potential fire hazard, Apple offers to replace them for free.

Apple Computer is recalling 570,000 power adapters used on some older PowerBook models after reports that the brick-shaped units can overheat, creating a potential fire hazard.

The recall affects cords for the PowerBook G3 notebooks shipped from May 1998 until March 2000, but not those used for the iBook consumer laptops or the newer Titanium PowerBook G4. Apple is providing a free replacement power adapter.

Apple spokeswoman Nathalie Welch would not say Friday how much the recall will cost the company. But the power adapters sold for $69 when purchased separately from a computer, she said.

Although the company's Web site states that Apple has only six reports of the units overheating and that no injuries have been reported, the company urges customers to "order a replacement adapter immediately and not to leave (their) current AC adapter unattended while plugged into any power outlet."

The recall only includes AC adapters with a two-prong connection, which were designed for use in North America, Japan, Latin America and Asia. Apple is not recalling another adapter, one with a three-prong connection, that was used in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The label located on the side of the adapter being recalled reads, "Macintosh PowerBook 45W AC Adapter" and lists the model number as M4402.

Those with the recalled adapter are asked to enter their laptop's serial number on Apple's Web site and provide a mailing address where a replacement can be sent.

Apple's Web site said the recall is voluntary, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other international safety authorities.

Two months ago, Dell Computer announced a recall of about 284,000 notebook batteries due to a flaw that caused at least one notebook to catch fire. And in October, Dell recalled as many as 27,000 notebook batteries, stating that the batteries could short circuit and cause fires.

Also in October, Compaq Computer recalled 55,000 battery packs sold with two of its notebook models because of an overheating problem.


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