Dell recall affects 57,000 in Europe

The fault in 284,000 Dell notebook batteries that could spark a fire affects 57,000 batteries in Europe

Dell Computer will recall more than 50,000 notebook batteries from Europe as part of a global recall of about 284,000 due to a flaw that has caused at least one notebook to catch fire, the company confirmed today.

A Dell UK spokesman previously said that the recall is a "global initiative" and that the company is preparing letters to go out to EMEA customers this week. The flaw, initially discovered by one of Dell's customers more than a month ago, affects about 57,000 laptops in Europe, or roughly 20 percent of the total, sent from Dell's European base in Ireland.

As reported earlier, the recall centres on a design flaw in batteries incorporated in Inspiron 5000 and 5000(e) notebooks, according to sources. The flaw resides in the battery packaging and can cause the notebooks to overheat, sources said.

Dell has since confirmed that a design flaw in the batteries, combined with a flaw in the batteries' manufacturing process, leaves them subject to overcharging.

To date, one notebook has caught fire because of the problem, prompting the recall. Panasonic manufactured the batteries.

"We learned about it in late March, and have been working with customers and the battery supplier to take corrective action," the spokesman told ZDNet UK. He confirmed that the recall process began on Thursday, after a month in which Dell worked with an independent laboratory to identify the problem and who might be affected by it.

The Inspiron 5000 and 5000(e) came to the market in January 2000 and was retired in March 2001. The flawed batteries are found in some, but not all, Inspiron 5000s.

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