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by Mike Zazaian September 19, 2006 - 12:22pm, 1 Comment

Battery for a Toshiba notebook

Toshiba has offered replacements to owners who bought one of 340,000 notebooks equipped with defective Sony batteries, but insists there’s no risk of explosion.

According to Toshiba, the Sony batteries in question have shown a history of not charging at all, thereby cutting power to the laptop when the power adapter is removed. According to a Sony spokesman, the defect is caused by a chemical in the insulating paper used in these batteries, which may corrode the circuitry inside the battery, rendering it useless.

Citing recent incidents in which Sony Batteries have exploded or caught fire, Toshiba can’t stress enough that their batteries don’t pose an explosion risk. Said Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori:

Toshiba’s batteries are not at risk of starting a fire. There is no such hazardous or related issue.

The notebooks in question include 28 different models sold throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S., including the Tecra A7, Satellite A100, Satellite M50 and Satellite pro M70. Toshiba has provided a complete list of exchange-eligible notebook models on their website.

Despite the fact that Toshiba’s laptops likely don’t pose a threat beyond possible data loss, consumers will likely associate the exchange offer with the other, more hazardous instances of defective Sony batteries, including an explosion last week at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Airlines such as Qantas, Air Korea and Virgin Atlantic have banned the use of Sony batteries on their flights, causing problems for owners of Apple and Dell notebooks. If further problems are found with the Toshiba batteries, their laptops may be blacklisted as well.

Sony has already recalled 1.8 million batteries that were used in Apple notebooks and a record-breaking 4.1 million batteries for Dell computers. Recall efforts have already cost Sony an estimated $175 to $282 million, and as battery issues continue to mount, it doesn’t seem like that number will lessen anytime soon.

[via ITworld]