Dell wowed the world in a bad way yesterday, when the company announced the largest recall in computer history
. It called back over 4.1 million batteries for laptops that were sold between April 2004 and July of this year. Many of the laptops that function with Li-Ion batteries (which is to say, all laptops period) purchased during this time are subject to the recall.
The fires are reported to be caused by a short-circuit, which causes the battery to heat up incredibly as it tries to discharge enough power - enough to burst into flames. Videos of these instances have popped up in places all over the net and the world, from conferences in Osaka, Japan to kitchen tables in Illinois, USA. The news isn't all bad for Dell, though - the batteries were actually manufactured by Sony.
Many users of laptops during this time have had various power problems, which Dell has taken flak for previously in regards to its customer service on the issue. Fires would (hopefully) be considered the most extreme of these incidents, but the fact that Dell has had to finally issue the recall probably means there's a more widespread issue with the particular battery batch than is being let on.
If you think your laptop might be affected, take a look at Dell's rather comprehensive list
. It includes all model types that have certain serial numbers and battery identifications, so if you own a Dell laptop, it's worth checking out even if you don't think you have a problem.
Have the laptop fires got you hot under the collar? Drop in our forums
and let us know.