Acer Recalls Thousands Of Notebooks Over Burn Concerns

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Acer has issued a recall for 22,000 notebooks after admitting that some of them may pose a “burn hazard”

Acer has issued a recall for six its notebook models over burn hazard concerns that a microphone cable may overheat and melt the exterior casing.

Acer, along with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, said about 22,000 units would need to be recalled after the PC maker had received three reports of computers short circuiting, resulting in slight melting of the external casing. No incidents occurred in the United States and no injuries have been reported, the Safety Commission said.

Consumers with affected models are encouraged to contact Acer for a free repair. In October 2009 Acer issued a similar recall in Europe for its Aspire notebook models, which developed the same problem.

The commission also recommended consumers should immediately stop using recalled products unless otherwise instructed. The specific hazard was determined to be an internal microphone wire under the palm rest, which can short circuit and overheat. This poses a potential burn hazard to consumers.

The recalled notebook computer models are the Acer AS3410, AS3410T, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ and AS3810TZG.

The computer’s screen size is about 13.3 inches measured diagonally, and the commission noted not all units are affected. They recommend consumers contact Acer to determine if their specific unit is included in the recall. The affected notebooks were sold between June 2009 and October 2009 for between $650 (£402) and $1,150 (£712) at through various distribution channels and retail stores, including Tech Data Corp., Amazon.com and Radio Shack.

To determine whether a unit is affected and requires to be serviced, Acer is asking that notebook owners enter the serial number (22 digits alphanumeric code printed on the white label on the bottom of the product) or the SNID (11 digits numeric code, also located on the white label) on the support page of the website.

“In the affected units the microphone cable may overheat when extreme pressure is applied repeatedly to the left palm rest,” a statement on the Acer website explained. “As a result, the unit’s case may become deformed and the system may malfunction.”

The announcement represents Acer’s first major product recall in the US since 2007, when Acer joined a list of computer makers including HP, Dell, Apple and Gateway in recalling notebooks equipped with Sony lithium-ion batteries.

The 27,000 notebooks recalled by Acer were all sold in the United States between May 2004 and November 2006. Problems with the Sony battery packs occurred when microscopic particles in the battery cells came into contact with other parts of the battery cell, causing a short circuit in the cell.