(March 2007) JAKKS Pacific, Inc. voluntarily recalls 245,000 battery packs. The packs were used in the radio-controlled Fly Wheels XPV Xtreme Performance vehicle toy. The recall was prompted by 32 reports of the batteries melting or catching fire while charging, including three minor burns. In addition, there were 24 reports of property damage. The batteries can also ignite when charging. Fore more information call, 877-875-2557.
(March 2007) Lenovo recalls 2005 batteries for laptops. The recall includes 100,000 batteries in the U.S. and another 105,000 globally. The recall involves batteries made by Sanyo Electric of Japan. Four reports over overheating and one case of a person suffering from minor eye irritation prompted the recall.
(January 2007) Clarion Corporation, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, recalls 2,500 Lithium-ion batteries in its Clarion N.I.C.E. P200 Navigation and Entertainment systems in December 2006. These units can be attached for a vehicle’s windshield. Four reports were received of the unit melting or overheating. The batteries were “Made in Korea.” For more information check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
(June 2006) Laptop Batteries Can Catch Fire
CBS Channel 11 News in Dallas reported safety problems exemplified by real people experiencing computers catching fire. (Ed Note: not gentle ‘thermal runaways’ - real fires!)
As a service to viewers, CBS Channel 11 added recommendations of registering the products to help in receiving recall notices. They also provided public safety recommendations such as not placing laptops on flammable materials to support a burning computer and being aware of abnormal temperature increases in battery powered products.
CBS Channel 11 tried to obtain comments from Dell, Apple and HP. Dell and Apple had no comment and HP would not return calls.
(Ed. Note: Most media would not address safety sensitive topics for fear of loosing advertising revenues. BD commends CBS Channel 11 for placing the safety of its audience ahead of certain advertising dollars. BD has promoted battery safety as its primary priority since the November 1998 issue, p. 16.)
CBS 11tv.com, May 23, 2006
(June 2006) UNSAFE AT ANY AIRSPEED
Do cellphones and other battery powered personal electronic devices (PED) interfere with aircraft electronics? Passengers are using PEDs contrary to FCC and FAA regulation. Author’s Strauss, Morgan and Stancil performed scientifically sound measurements of the electronic environment on 37 U.S commercial flights and found one to four violations per flight. An analysis of the flight instruments at risk include those of navigation which are used in landings. The PED interference can compromise flight safety and lead to crashes. Probability of the possibility for accidents having been caused by such interference in the past is discussed. Recommendations for a joint FAA, FCC NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board,) airlines and aircraft manufacturers program should be pursued to correct the situation. Passengers should also be made aware of the hazards they impose on others with unapproved PED use.
IEEE Spectrum, March 2006, pp. 44-49
(May 2006) The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced three recalls of batteries from April 6 to April 20, 2006.
April 6 - ClearOne
Communications recalled 4,200 Nickel-metal hydride battery packs which were used as a power source for the MAX Wireless Conference Phone. The battery packs (with and without the phone) were sold between April 2005 and December 2005. These battery packs can short circuit, causing them to overheat and melt the protective plastic covering, posing a hazard to consumers. ClearOne Communications is an importer and did not list the origination of the batteries, except to note, “Manufactured in: China.”
April 13 - Memcorp Inc., recalled 102,000 battery packs sold with DisneyR-brand personal DVD players. The DVD players were sold at Disney theme parks and through the Disney catalog from April 2005 through March 2006. The company received 17 reports of batteries overheating. (BD note: Although not stated in the CPSC announcement, it is assumed the batteries were Lithium-ion.)
According to the National Button Battery Ingestion Hotline and Registry (NBBIHR) , there were 3,511 cases of people ingesting disc batteries in 2004. In 52 percent of the reported cases, the batteries were ingested immediately after removal from the product. In 41 percent of the cases, the batteries were out of the product for a period of time or ready for discard. About 62 percent of batteries swallowed involve children younger than five. Adults also swallow button batteries, especially the elderly who hold them in their mouth while changing watch or hearing-aid batteries. Nearly half of the ingested batteries are cells intended for hearing aids.
Button cells range in diameter from 6.8 mm to 23.0 mm. Ninety-seven percent of ingested button cells are less than 15 mm in diameter.
Most ingested batteries pass through the intestinal tract without problems, but there is a serious chance of injury if they lodge in the esophagus. Even if you suspect someone has swallowed a button battery, get medical help immediately.
The NBBIHR’s number is (202) 625-3333. The Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222. +
Memcorp, a distributor, noted that battery manufacturers were McNair Technology Co. Ltd. of China and Unitech Battery Ltd. of China. Upon the announcement of the recall, McNair Technology noted that it had not yet been proved that its products were used in the machines. The Company also said it had no business relationship with Memcorp. The CPSC notes that it has proof that McNair supplied most of the batteries to Memcorp. (BD note: The distributor is to be commended for noting the manufacturer of the batteries in China. Most businesses do not disclose this information on CPSC recalls.)
April 20 - Hewlett-Packard (HP) recalls approximately 4,100 (about 15,700 batteries worldwide) units. An internal failure can cause the Lithium-ion battery to overheat and melt or char the plastic case, posing a burn and fire hazard. HP has received 20 reports of batteries overheating, including two in the United States. One minor burn injury has been reported. The rechargeable batteries are used with various HP and Compaq notebook computers. The batteries (sold with the computers and sold separately) were on the market for consumer purchase between January 2005 and December 2005. HP is listed as the importer and the batteries are only listed as “Manufactured in: China.” (BD note: Unfortunately, HP, for whatever reason, does not disclose the source of its batteries.)
For specific information on all models from all three recalls, check the CPSC website at http://www.cpsc.gov.
(Feb 2006) The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recall of batteries in DVD players in Decmber 2005. External battery packs used with Polaroid-brand portable DVD players were recalled by the manufactuer/importer, Petters Consumer Brands, LLC of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Petters Consumer Brands received eight reports of Lithium-ion batteries overheating, melting the plastic case, or units smoking during the recharging process. The batteries were just listed as “made in China.”
XM Satellite Radio and some of its hardware partners also voluntarily recalled rechargeable batteries of older WM2go portable satellite radio devices after reported cases of overheating and melting. This recall was not listed by CPSC but by a website linked from XM’s front page.
(Jan 2006)Dell recalls batteries in notebook computers. Dell, along with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is recalling 22,000 batteries sold in notebooks as replacements between October 5, 2004 and October 13, 2005. Dell has received three reports of batteries overheating. The incidents involved damage to a tabletop, a desktop and minor damage to personal effects. To date, no injuries have been reported. The batteries were manufactured in Japan or China, but Dell has not named the manufacturers. For more information on the recall, see www.cpsc.gov or contact Dell toll-free at (866) 342-0011.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) Company, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CSPC), announces on Oct. 14, 2005 the voluntary recall of computer battery packs in both HP and Compaq notebook models. About 135,000 packs are involved worldwide, with 85,000 in the U.S. The Lithium-ion batteries are being recalled because of an internal short that can cause overheating and melt or char the plastic case, posing a burn and fire hazard. Sixteen injuries have been reported worldwide, including four in the U.S.
Hewlett Packard was the importer of the batteries which were manufactured in China and Taiwan. (BD note: Unfortunately, the battery manufacturers are not named or labeled.)
The computers having these batteries were sold in stores and on-line from March 2004 through May 2005 for between $1,000 and $3,000. The battery packs were also sold separately for between $100 and $130.
For information on the models and serial numbers of batteries, see CSPC website at http://www.cspc.gov. For battrery replacement , contact HP at (888) 404-7398.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission recalls avalanche transceivers and water scooters because of battery-related problems.
Ortovox USA manufactured transceivers in which the batteries can become dislodged when the transceiver is struck sharply and thus fail to function properly in the aftermath of an avalanche. Although no injuries have been reported, four consumer reports were filed which note the failure. The product was manufactured in Germany. The company will replace the battery door on the M1 and M2 models. Consumer contact in the U.S. is (888) 215-3131.
Aqua Scout’s water scooters are being recalled because hydrogen gas can build up in the battery compartment and cause the battery cover and battery package to forcefully expel from the product, posing a risk of injury to the user or bystanders. Aqua Scout has received five reports of the battery cover and/or the battery package being expelled from the water scooter, including two reports of minor injuries such as lacerations and bruising. The units were manufactured in China and were sold on eBay and on Aqua Scout’s website between May 2005 and July 2005. Consumer telephone contact for replacement in the U.S. is (315) 343--0369.
(Oct, 2005) Baxter receives FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) Class I designation for battery problems in its infusion pump. Specifically, the designation refers to Baxter’s February 25, 2005 voluntary notice to customers regarding the company’s COLLEAGUER Volumetric Infusion Pump. This classification does not require the return of infusion pumps currently in the market.
Class 1 recalls are the most serious type of recall and involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the affected product may cause serious injury or death if the problem is not corrected.
The problem exists because there have been reports of damage to the pump’s batteries, including swelling and excessive discharge. Both of these issues will result in irreversible damage to the battery. If either one of these situations occurs, the pump would be incapable of operating on battery power for the expected amount of time, thus leading to interruption or prevention of life-sustaining therapy and the possible death or serious injury of patients. To date, Baxter has received reports from customers of battery damage due to excessive discharge, which may have been associated with the four deaths and ten serious injuries.
Normally, a properly maintained battery will provide approximately 30 minutes of remaining infusion time during a “low battery” alert. This is then followed by a “battery depleted” alarm that will stop the infusion of therapy and trigger an audible tone. However, for a pump with a damaged battery, the time frame between a “low battery” alert and a “battery depleted” alert can be much shorter. It is also important to note that when the batteries become excessively discharged, the battery charge level indicator may overstate the amount of battery charge remaining.
In the Important Information Letter dated February 25, 2005, Baxter notified its users of the actions they can take to minimize the occurrence of these device failures, including proper battery maintenance procedures. The company informed users that a modified battery harness could be installed in the pumps to help prevent the batteries from swelling. The letter also stated that the future software updates would help address the issue of battery damage due to excessive discharge.
Earlier this year, Baxter announced the company would voluntarily hold shipments of new pumps until issues are resolved. Approximately 256,000 of the COLLEAGUE infusion pumps are currently in use, including 206,000 distributed in the United States.
The Editors of Consumer Reports note that “worldwide, more than 5 million phony cell-phone batteries and other accessories were destroyed by law-enforcement authorities in 2003.” (“Don’t get burned by phony cell batteries,” DailyBreeze,com, 04/25/05)To date, there are no standards for batteries for cell phones. However, the IEEE and the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association, with oversight from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, are developing voluntary design and performance stndards. The goal is to complete these standards by late 2005.
Nokia, the world’s largest cell phone manufacturer, has begun branding its batteries with difficult-to-reproduce holograms and a 20 digit code placed under a scratch-off label to tell consumers the batteries are not counterfeit.
On March 23, 3005, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the batteries from 47,000 RCA portable DVD players with a model number DRC600N. These units were sold in retail stores nationwide from September 2002 through July 2003.
The battery in the units can overheat and explode while recharging, posing a burn and fire hazard to consumers. Thompson Inc. of Indianapolis, IN, listed as the manufacturer/importer of the units, received 11 reports of batteries overheating and five reports of batteries exploding. Two individuals suffered burned fingers from picking up the battery after it overheated.The manufacturer of the battery is not noted, but the units were listed as “Manufactuered in China”.
(BD Note: Based on the application of the battery and the overheating and exploding problem, the chemistry is most likely Lithium-ion.)
Thompson Inc will replace the batteries in these units. The number to call is (800) 821-5875. +
Medtronic voluntarily recalls a limited number of LIFEPAK 500 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in late February. The AED may continue to display a “connect electrodes” message and may not analyze the patient’s heart rhythm even when the electrodes are properly connected. Failure to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm will inhibit defibrillation, if it is needed. This action affects 1,924 first-generation LIFEPAK 500 AEDs that were manufactured in 1997, representing about 1 percent of the series currently in use worldwide. Medtronic has notified customers via certified mail and the company will update or upgrade customer devices at no charge by March 31, 2005. More information can be obtained at www.medtronic-ers.com/500
Earlier in February, Medtronic issued notification to physicians regarding a potential battery shorting mechanism that may occur in a subset of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) models. In a letter to physicians, Medtronic reported that nine batteries (0.01 %) have experienced rapid battery depletion due to this shorting action. If shorting occurs, battery depletion can take place within a few hours to a few days, after which there is a loss of device function. Devices with this shorting action were manufactured between April 2001 and December 2003.
As a part of the company’s program to analyze products returned from physicians, Medtronic tested nine of the 87,000 implanted devices (0.01 percent) with a battery design that exhibited this shorting mechanism. Based on highly accelerated company testing, Medtronic estimates that this rate may increase to between 0.2 percent and 1.5 percent over the second half of device life.
In commenting on the recall, Steve Mahle, president of Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Management, said, “We were able to identify this possible risk through our stringent product testing. Even though the potential for rapid battery depletion is extremely low, we see it as our obligation to alert all implant physicians to the potential issue and provide ways to help them with their affected patients successfully manage the situation.”
Telecom in New Zealand recalls counterfeit batteries in certain models of KYocera cellphones. The models of concern are : Kyocera Phantom 414c, Kyocera Phantom 414g and the Kyocera 3245. According to the news report, Telecom said Kyocera advised that some of the mobiles had been supplied with a counterfeit battery by a former battery vendor.
(Febuary2004) Browning brand CR123A Lithium (3-Volt) Batteries have safety recall. The batteries were sold in two-packs and packed with the Black ICE 6V Xenon 6 LED Flashlights. Batteries are labeled “Mad in China.” Batteries can short out, resulting in a rupture of the flashlight canister and injury to the user. The flashlights with these batteries were sold at hunting and sporting-goods stores throughout the U.S. in December 2003 for about $50.00. In the recall of these 12,5000 batteries, consumers are asked to stop using these flashlights and remove the batteries. For replacement batteries, contact Browning at 1-800-637-0230.
SCI Promotion Group LLC and Script-Tokai, both distributors in California, have a recall of 448,000 mini-flashlights where the battery compartment can overheat. The mini-flashlights were provided to consumers as a free gift with the purchase of Aim n’ Flame II multi-purpose lighters, which were sold at home improvement, discount, convenient, grocery and drug stores nationwide in the U.S. from September 2003 through November 2003 for between $4 and $5. The units, manufactured in China, should have the batteries removed before discarding the flashlights. The consumer contact number at SCI Promotions Group, LLC is 887-746-7426.
(January 2003) Lithium-ion Battery Recall in Kyocera Wireless Corp.’s Smartphone Cell Phones
In voluntary cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, Kyocera Wireless Corp is recalling 140,000 Model 7135 Smartphones. The recalled batteries can short-circuit and erupt with force or emit excessive heat, posing a burn hazard to consumers. To date, Kyocera has received four reports of battery failures, including one minor burn injury.
The batteries were manufactured for Kyocera of San Diego by Cosolight International Group of Hong Kong.
The phones were sold at Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular and ALL TEL Corporation stores, in addition to Web site and telemarketing retailers nationwide. The cell phones with the -05 code printed on the underside of the battery were sold between September 2003 and December 2003 for about $500.00. Batteries were also sold separately during this time for approximately $21.00.
For recall information, contact Kyocera Wireless at (800) 349-4478.
(December 2003) SCI Promotion Group recalls 448,000 mini-flashlights because the battery compartment can overheat, presenting a possible burn hazard to consumers.
SCI, a distributor, received the flashlights with batteries from a manufacturer in China. The mini-flashlights were provided to consumers as a free gift with the purchase of Aim n’ Flame II multi-purpose lighters. Home improvement, discount, convenience grocery and drug stores nationwide sold the multipurpose lights with the flashlights from September 2003 through November 2003 for between $4.00 and $6.00. Consumers should remove the batteries and discard the mini-flashlights. A consumer contact number at SCI is 677-746-7426.
(Oct 2003) Nokia encounters more problems with fake batteries.
CPSC, Galls Announce Recall of Batteries Sold with Galls® H.A.L.O. Tactical Flashlights
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announces the following recall in voluntary cooperation with the firm below. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of product: Fuji Power and A&T Fuji Power CR123A 3-Volt lithium batteries originally provided with Galls® H.A.L.O. Tactical Flashlight.
Units: Approximately 10,084
Distributor: Galls Inc., of Lexington, Kentucky
Hazard: The batteries originally provided with the flashlight may overheat or explode presenting a potential for fire or personal injury.
Incidents/Injuries: Five reports of batteries overheating or exploding have been received, causing minor injuries such as burns and minor property damage from fire.
Description: The batteries were provided in pairs. Each is a 3-Volt lithium battery with a white label. The name “Fuji Power” or “A&T Fuji Power CR123A” is on the label.
Sold at: Galls catalog, Galls website www.galls.com and retail stores in Lexington, KY; Long Beach, CA; Riverside, CA; San Diego, CA; Orange County, CA; and Signal Hill, CA, from June 2001 through May 2003. The flashlight sold individually for about $49 and when bundled with other items for up to $99.
Manufactured in: Taiwan.
Remedy: Call Galls toll-free at 1-800-477-7766 to receive free replacement batteries for each pair of batteries originally received with your Galls® H.A.L.O. Tactical Flashlight purchased prior to June 2003. If you have already replaced the batteries (Galls recommends that Duracell Ultra 123 3-Volt lithium replacement batteries be used), Galls will provide an equivalent credit ($10.99 for each pair of Fuji Power or A&T Fuji Power lithium batteries) that can be redeemed towards the purchase of any other merchandise ordered from Galls
(September,03) IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) completes new draft of standard for mobile computer batteries.
(August,03) Battery Safety - An Issue Beyond Creating Safe Cells and PacksNews from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has batteries periodically appear several times a year when they are involved in a recall for a variety of reasons.
(10-02) Club Car Inc., a manufacturer of Pathways (General Motor’s neighborhood electrical vehicles), has safety recall . Some Pathways contain 12-Volt relays rather than the 48-Volt units that are specified. As a result, brake lights fail after the relays burn out, as stated on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) website. Late in July , A Chrysler GEM EV was blamed for a house fire in Florida. Veronica Webb, a well known supermodel, was charging her electric vehicle when the resulting fire sent flames through her air conditioning system, according to a report in the New York Post on July 30th..
(10-02) Kodak recalls 75,000 digital cameras. Users of Kodak’s DC Zoom Digital Camera can get a shock when charging batteries. Kodak spokesman, James Blamphin said, “It (the problem) is unique to this camera only, because of the way it is constructed. It has a rugged exterior with far more metal. It was built deliberately to take the abuse of being carried around in a tool box.”
1 “Interview -Auto boom a boon for Thai battery market” by Warapan Phungsuk, Reuters (Bangkok), 08/19/02
2 “High Tech Materials -China Corner,” Rare Earth Newsletter, 09/01/02 (Japan Metal Bulletin, 07/31/02)
(09-02) Mitsubishi Motors Corp recalls 676,741 Minica and Minica Toppo minivehicles to deal with a battery box problem. The vehicles, sold between 1993 and 1998 in Japan, have a battery box where rainwater can get in and cause fluid from the battery to splash onto the brake pipe and damage it.
(August 2002) Battery Safety/Quality/Testing and Materials
(March 2002) Physician Heal Thyself
(06-02) Consumer Reports, which has helped everyone by testing products, shot themselves in the foot when they gave 15,000 new subscribers a gift for signing up. This gift was a glove compartment organizer containing a battery powered flashlight that could overheat and start a fire and also included a defective tire gauge.
Although the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, spends $20 million a year testing all kinds of products, they did not test their gift before sending it out. Both the flashlight and gauge were made in China.
The Consumers Union has learned a valuable lesson. “We need to test any product that we offer as a premium in our own labs with the same rigor with which we rate the products you see in Consumer Reports,” stated Chief Executive Jim Guest. The Consumers Union has been very open about their mistake and is even running an article in their magazine entitled “Caveat Emptor Hits Home.”
Consumer Reports learned about the problems when they received eight complaints from subscribers. Two people said they had minor burns from the flashlight; others reported its case had melted and two complained about the tire gauge accuracy.
The magazine has now tested the flashlight and gauge in their labs and found both to be defective. The Consumers Union has notified the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, has sent letters to all subscribers and also urged the importer to do a recall on the devices. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned those who have the flashlights to remove the battery and throw it (and the tire gouge) away. (Ed. Note: Hopefully, these batteries will not tossed in the garbage, but put in recycling bins.)
DaimlerChrysler AG recalls approximately 65,000 1988-89 Mercedes C-Class cars. Five complaints were received of exploding batteries, resulting in one injury from flying acid and debris.
Aug 2001, p.42
(March 2002) One task too many
In a study carried out at Carnagie Mellon University, volunteers, dividing their time between two high level tasks, had reduced reaction times and created greater errors. The conclusion is that drivers talking on cell phones create greater road hazards than those not talking on cell phones. The author suggests that insurance companies give discounts to drivers not using cell phones or other distracting services.