Panasonic Issues Toughbook Battery Recall Over Fire Risk

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Panasonic is to recall over 43,000 Toughbook batteries because they pose a potential fire risk

Panasonic is to recall 43,140 Toughbook batteries due to a potential fire risk from overheating, following three incidents of the ruggedised tablets overheating and catching fire.

Two of the incidents took place in Thailand in 2013, and the third happened in Japan this year. Specifically, customers must return the batteries if they use the Toughbook CF-H2 tablet PC series manufactured from June 2011 through May 2012.

“Because of a manufacturing problem, these particular battery packs may overheat and, in rare instances, cause the notebook to ignite,” said the company.

Getting Hot In Here?

Panasonic Toughpad CF-H2 2Panasonic will replace the batteries free of charge, and has advised users to check the model number and lot number of their tablet PC battery pack. Details of how to check the battery can be found here.

The recall of faulty and potentially dangerous batteries and devices is nothing new to the tech industry.

In April this year, Sony warned of a serious risk of fire from its VAIO Fit 11A hybrid laptop. But this type of problem can affect all players. In March 2012 Lenovo recalled more than 160,000 of its all-in-one ThinkCentre PCs, due to a power supply that could burst into flames.

HP meanwhile was forced to recall 54,000 lithium ion batteries after they were deemed a fire hazard in May 2010, followed by another recall of 162,000 in June 2011, when a number of people began reporting incidents of injuries and burns.

In September 2010, Toshiba had to issue a recall for overheating notebooks after it received reports of the machines overheating and deforming the plastic casing area around the AC adapter plug.

It is worth noting that serious injuries caused by laptop battery fires tend to be very rare events, although in 2010, one user blamed her company’s laptop for causing a fire at her thatched cottage that resulted in more than £350,000 damages.

But perhaps the most serious injury from a laptop was an incident back in 2011, when a British man in New Zealand suffered a freak injury caused by his laptop computer. According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, 52 year old William Warner suffered a horrendous hand injury after the DVD drive of his Toshiba laptop fired out a piece of metal which impaled his palm.

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