Battery recall: some numbers

Discussion in 'Dell' started by David Harper, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. David Harper

    David Harper Guest

    Highlights from the Houston Chronicle, Wednesday, August 16, 2006:

    1) Dell will recall 4.1 million laptop batteries made by Sony.

    2) This recall is the largest ever in the consumer-electronics industry.

    3) The expenses probably will be split evenly between Dell and Sony.

    4) Sony said the problem appeared to be related to the combination of the
    battery and the charger used by Dell. Experts said the problem appears to
    stem from flaws in the production of the laptop batteries. Tiny shards of
    metal were loose in the cells which could cause short-circuits.

    5) Cost estimates range from $25-$100 per battery. Some are out of
    production. $20-$35 for round-trip shipping and disposal of the old
    battery. Plus about $2.50 per battery to broadcast the recall.

    - David Harper
     
    David Harper, Aug 16, 2006
    #1
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  2. David Harper

    MZB Guest

    I wonder what Dell will do about the computers that have been
    ruined?????????

    Mel
     
    MZB, Aug 16, 2006
    #2
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  3. David Harper

    Tom Simchak Guest

    Ummm...6 computers (the reported figure) is not a lot of damage. I
    "think" Dell can absorb that cost.

    I see where Sony is trying to spin this to their advantage by saying the
    problem was a combination of the faulty battery and the charging unit.

    My guess is that both companies have some sort of product liability
    insurance to cover this sort of event.

    Tom S.
    Houston, TX
     
    Tom Simchak, Aug 16, 2006
    #3
  4. David Harper

    MZB Guest

    Tom:

    You think only six???

    Wanna buy a bridge???

    Mel
     
    MZB, Aug 16, 2006
    #4
  5. David Harper

    W Guest

    Saw a blurb on either ABC or NBC last night from an X Dell employee who said
    there were a significant number of laptops destroyed, and he showed archived
    pictures he found at Dell before leaving...

    So more than 6? I think so

    Bill
     
    W, Aug 16, 2006
    #5
  6. David Harper

    Tom Scales Guest

    I have no idea how many there are, but please

    "he showed archived pictures he found at Dell before leaving..."

    Yeah, always trust the fired employee with pictures.
     
    Tom Scales, Aug 16, 2006
    #6
  7. David Harper

    W Guest

    who then can we trust? Its just a conversation



     
    W, Aug 16, 2006
    #7
  8. David Harper

    Tom Scales Guest

    To be honest, we'll never know. I'm sure Dell considers it confidential
     
    Tom Scales, Aug 16, 2006
    #8
  9. David Harper

    Ben Myers Guest

    And a ruined truck. A guy left his Dell notebook in his truck while fishing.
    The notebook caught fire, set off a lot of bullets in the glove compartment, and
    set the gasoline on fire. So the fellow claimed on national TV last night.

    .... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Aug 16, 2006
    #9
  10. David Harper

    WSZsr Guest

    Just the facts, ma'am....
     
    WSZsr, Aug 16, 2006
    #10
  11. David Harper

    MZB Guest

    Ben:

    IF quite a few laptops caught fire then I'm sure there is quite a bit of
    collateral damage.

    Mel
     
    MZB, Aug 17, 2006
    #11
  12. David Harper

    User N Guest

    I would have expected you to be less outrightly dismissive given how the
    Japan story broke in this group. In any case, you suggest this guy was
    fired and his claims/statements are not trustworthy by extension and/or for
    some other reason. That's something you should backup. What do you
    have?

    FWIW, I believe this insider information was first reported by CRN back
    in July:

    http://www.crn.com/sections/breakingnews/dailyarchives.jhtml?articleId=190600070

    If you read that you'll see they seem to say that most of the evidence they were
    given showed externally visible charring/melting in areas some distance from the
    battery. Which may not in all cases rule out a battery related overheating problem,
    but probably does in most of them.

    Numerous other articles have reported on, and I believe named the source
    of, the insider information... including the recently referenced NY Times article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/14/t...&en=499692c95b993103&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    which said:

    'The current recall also leaves many questioned unanswered on how Dell, as well
    as the product safety commission, deals with information about fire-damaged
    notebooks. Although Dell told the agency that only six incidents had occurred, a
    reporter viewed almost 100 photos of melted notebooks that were returned to the
    company from 2002 to 2004. The photos, from a Dell database, were supplied by
    a former Dell technician, Robert Day, who said such damage “was more of a
    common thing than they are letting on.” As many as several hundred a year were
    returned. Mr. Day said, “I did see so many pallets of stuff coming in that they had
    to use my lab for overflow storage.” '

    Now in the recent CPSC release:

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06231.html

    it says:

    "Dell has received six reports of batteries overheating, resulting in property damage
    to furniture and personal effects. No injuries have been reported."

    So the six reported incidents [mentioned in the NYT article] were just those cases
    involving batteries overheating. The way Robert Day's comments are presented,
    many might think that he was disputing that there were only six *battery related*
    cases. In fact, he might simply have been referring to the total number of notebooks
    that had some kind of charring/melting damage, regardless of the cause. I've seen a
    number of outlets present his comments in a way which doesn't make clear which
    he was commenting on, and that is hugely important. I've tried digging for things
    that would shed more direct light on the subject and so far the best I've found is
    this ABC article:

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/story?id=2314891

    which states:

    "A former Dell employee, Robert Day, who quit after an unrelated dispute with
    the company, says he saw many more melted laptops at company headquarters
    than Dell has acknowledged"

    "He doesn't know whether they were caused by battery problems."

    "Basically I saw an increase of product coming from the field for safety issues,"
    Day said. "But some of the laptops I saw did have some battery damage, did
    have some thermal damage as far as melting."

    This seems to support the idea that when Robert Day has talked of there being
    more notebooks with such damage, he wasn't actually disputing the numbers
    that Dell supposedly provided to the CPSC... he was just pointing out the
    broader problem of charred/melted notebooks. Which, according to numerous
    articles I've read, Dell actually has declined to comment on. Melting and charring
    due to NON battery related issues is a whole other can of worms I'm sure they
    could do without right now.

    Uh... did anyone follow this? I bothered because I think it is important to know
    exactly what this guy said/meant. It not only bears on the question of whether
    Dell has been honest in reporting numbers to the likes of the CPSC, it also bears
    on this guy's reputation. Conceptually, he could have just felt it appropriate to
    make public more info about safety issues and it may be he has been honest
    about what he knew, didn't know, suspected, etc as well as accurate. That
    possibility should *not* be dismissed without good evidence to the contrary.

    I've shared what I've found so far. If anyone has come across addition info
    which sheds more light on the subject, please post it [with links if possible].
     
    User N, Aug 17, 2006
    #12
  13. David Harper

    budgie Guest

    budgie, Aug 17, 2006
    #13
  14. David Harper

    Tom Scales Guest

    Tom Scales, Aug 17, 2006
    #14
  15. David Harper

    Tom Simchak Guest

    I'm thinking I'm the "Tom" he was referring to. My sig is Tom S. I
    presume he thought that I was you, or something like that. Part of what
    we have to deal with by having fairly common first names, and last names
    that start with the same letter.

    Anyway...

    Early reports had 6 laptops catching fire. someone asked how replacing
    all those computers would affect Dell's bottom line. I said they could
    probably afford to replace 6.

    Even if it's 6,000 (and I "seriously" doubt it's that many or else there
    would have been a LOT of press about that) I would venture to guess that
    Dell has insurance in place to cover such events, and that the carrier
    would bear the brunt of the loss after the deductible is exhausted.

    Tom S.
    Houston, TX
     
    Tom Simchak, Aug 17, 2006
    #15
  16. David Harper

    David Harper Guest

    The "other" Tom S. wrote:


    I would doubt that a computer company would carry that kind of insurance.
    They would instead "self insure", i.e. putting aside a few million dollars
    or so for contingences. However, they more than likely have Business
    Liability insurance in case they get sued for 2.7 billion dollars by a woman
    in Wyoming whose computer burned down her house and killed her dog.

    - David Harper
     
    David Harper, Aug 17, 2006
    #16
  17. David Harper

    paulmd Guest

    And signifigant fire/water damage to a dorm room.
     
    paulmd, Aug 18, 2006
    #17
  18. David Harper

    MZB Guest

    No it was another Tom

    Mel
     
    MZB, Aug 18, 2006
    #18
  19. The truck was parked in his dorm room?
     
    Sparky Spartacus, Aug 19, 2006
    #19
  20. David Harper

    Tom Scales Guest

    Fishing in the bathtub?
     
    Tom Scales, Aug 19, 2006
    #20
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