HP has recalled tens of thousands of additional laptop batteries over fears they could catch fire.
The hardware giant is expanding an earlier recall to now include a further 28,500 lithium ion batteries, bringing the total number up to 78,500, according to an announcement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
It follows HP’s announcement last January that it was recalling some 50,000 batteries.
The announcement also marks the third time HP has issued a battery warning in the last four years.
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HP is expanding an earlier recall to now include a further 28,500 lithium ion batteries, bringing the total number up to 78,500. It follows an earlier recall last January of 50,000 batteries
WHICH MODELS ARE AFFECTED BY THE RECALL?
The recalled batteries were included in the following HP models:
- HP ProBooks – 64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series, 4xx G4 series
- HPx360 – 310 G2
- 11-inch Hp Pavilion x360 Notebook
- HP 11 Notebook
- HP ZBook – 17 G3, Studio G3, G4
- HP ProBook 4xx G5
- HP Envy 15
- HP Mobile Thin Clients – mt21, mt22, mt31
CPSC made the announcement on Tuesday, but HP actually made its latest recall public on January 17th.
The delayed announcement from the CPSC was due to the government shutdown, which lasted from December 22nd, 2018 until January 25th, 2019, making it the longest ever shutdown in U.S. history.
HP said it expanded the recall of laptop and mobile workstation batteries due to concerns about additional ‘fire and burn hazards.’
‘HP has received eight new reports of battery packs in the U.S. overheating, melting, or charring, including one report of minor injury and two reports of property damage totaling $1,100,’ CPSC explained.
The batteries were installed in notebook computers and mobile workstations sold between December 2015 and April 2018.
They were also sold separately from December 2015 through December 2018.
CPSC recommended that consumers ‘immediately’ visit HP’s website, where it has a dedicated page for users to check whether their battery is affected by the recall.
HP has also urged users not to attempt to remove the batteries themselves, as it could be hazardous.
HP expanded the recall of laptop and mobile workstation batteries due to concerns about additional ‘fire and burn hazards.’ The firm received eight new reports of overheating batteries
‘These batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers,’ the firm explained.
‘For this reason, it is essential to recheck your battery, even if you did so previously and were informed that it was not affected.
‘However, if you have already received a replacement battery, you are not affected by this expansion.’
HP said it’s providing battery replacement services by authorized technicians at no extra cost.
Additionally, the firm is releasing an update that puts affected hardware in ‘battery safety mode, so that the notebook or workstation can be safely used without the battery by connecting to an HP power adaptor.’
Instructions are available on HP’s website that explain how to active battery safety mode.
The firm recommends that users turn on battery safety mode immediately.
HOW DO LITHIUM ION BATTERIES WORK?
Batteries store and releases energy by moving electrons from one ‘end’ of the battery to the other.
We can use the energy from those moving electrons to do work for us, like power a drill.
These two battery ‘ends’ are known as electrodes. One is called the anode and the other is called the cathode.
Generally, the anode is made from carbon and the cathode from a chemical compound known as a metal oxide, like cobalt oxide.
The final battery ingredient is known as the electrolyte, and it sits in between the two electrodes.
In the case of lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte is a salt solution that contains lithium ions—hence the name.
When you place the battery in a device, the positively charged lithium ions are attracted to and move towards the cathode.
Once it is bombarded with these ions, the cathode becomes more positively charged than the anode, and this attracts negatively charged electrons.
As the electrons start moving toward the cathode, we force them to go through our device and use the energy of the electrons ‘flowing’ toward the cathode to generate power.
You can think of this like a water wheel, except instead of water flowing, electrons are flowing.
Lithium-ion batteries are especially useful because they are rechargeable.
When the battery is connected to a charger, the lithium ions move in the opposite direction as before.
As they move from the cathode to the anode, the battery is restored for another use.
Lithium ion batteries can also produce a lot more electrical power per unit of weight than other batteries.
This means that lithium-ion batteries can store the same amount of power as other batteries, but accomplish this in a lighter and smaller package.