Dell Battery Recall May Not End Explosions

Even if you sent your Dell battery back before it could explode and tear off half your face, you still may not be in the clear. Some computer engineers are pointing out that computer architecture might have just as much to do with the exploding Dell laptop.

“You need to know how much energy the computer extracts from the battery, and how a system is designed to manage the current flow that generates heat inside the battery. Knowing the limitation at the critical temperature is important,” said the improbably named Bodo Arlt, publisher of Bodo’s Power Systems Magazine in Germany.

The problem with the architecture is that Dell places the battery near the hottest areas of the computer, where as other laptop companies try to put it someplace… you know…. cooler. Where it won’t explode.And, of course, there is no thermometer that automatically shuts down the computer either.

As if to emphasize the rareness of a battery defect causing a Dell to explode, the truck of Thomas Forqueran was burnt to a cinder by a laptop not recalled by Dell. But “Sony screwed up their batteries” is always a better excuse than “We don’t know how to make our product.”

Dell Battery Recall May Not Be The Answer [Consumer Affairs]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Thanks to all of Consumerist’s coverage on this, I actually had a dream last night that I was working on a laptop, and obsessively kept checking if it was getting too hot.

    So now you guys are even in my subconscious. Thanks?

  2. AcidReign says:

    …..Crap. Our Acer Aspire 1360i has the battery right under the touchpad. Of course, when the Acer gets too hot, it fries DDR dimms. A pair of 512 MB’s runs about $100 these days. I’ve got a freeware app called Speedfan running to keep track of internal temps.

  3. AcidReign says:

    …..I’d recommend the Antec cooling mat. Yeah, it plugs into a usb port and eats a little more battery, but it dropped all temps about 15 degrees F.

  4. Triteon says:

    Low-tech option: My Dell rests on a wire rack for cooling cookies…it keeps the laptop about a half-inch above the desk. I’m eating fewer cookies these days, but my computer hasn’t tried to fry me either.