Apple Battery Recalls Encourage Prolonging Immolation Risk

Tyler writes:

My wife just (six weeks later) got her new battery from Apple for her Powerbook G4. The instructions on the printed materials that came with the new battery stated that the old battery had to be drained prior returning. Suggested ways to do this: play a dvd, play a CD or play the Chess game computer vs. computer.

The battery is a potential fire hazard… so the best thing to do, to make things easier for Apple, is to prolong the possibility that it will will spontaneously combust.

Awesome opossum.


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  1. Falconfire says:

    so the best thing to do, to make things easier for Apple, is to prolong the possibility that it will will spontaneously combust.

    Or you know, to prevent there being a charge that potentially could make the battery combust in the mail, destroying everyone elses stuff with it.

    Give me a break, this isnt even remotely a issue and is common practice with ANYTHING that can hold a charge.

  2. Mike_ says:

    I’ve had two Apple notebooks that were affected by battery recalls (PBG4 and Macbook Pro). In both cases, I filled out a form on their web site, and within a few days (not weeks), DHL dropped off my replacement. I was surprised at how quickly they arrived, actually.

    For the PBG4 recall, the instructions did ask that the battery be discharged before it is returned. It wasn’t a big deal, and my Mac did not burst into flames while I let it run Chess and play a DVD. The flyer included with the Macbook battery didn’t say anything about discharging the battery, so I didn’t.

    I’m not aware of any automotive recall notice (even one where the vehicle could potentially catch fire) that advises the owner to put the car in park, disconnect the battery and have it towed to the dealer. Are you?

    The odds that your Mac could be affected are high enough that Apple wants to send you a replacement battery, but low enough that they don’t think it’s necessary to power off your notebook until the new battery shows up.

    IMO, Apple’s handling of these recalls has indeed been awesome. And not in a sarcastic just-trying-to-look-for-an-excuse-to-badmouth-Apple sort of way.

  3. Uh there’s a simple solution here: Don’t do it. They’re just trying to avoid liability and the chances of the battery exploding (since they seem to be related to the overheating of said laptops themselves) is practically zero, or, the same as any other battery exploding in the mail.

    Oh yeah, pack em well too.

  4. nweaver says:

    Shipping a charged battery is FAR more hazardous, eg if the person screws up and shorts the terminal. The instructions are perfectly sensible.

  5. Falconfire says:

    Just a FYI, Dell also asked us to discharge all of our batteries. considering that was about 350 of them… it was kinda a chore, but the reason is very clear.

  6. Plaid Rabbit says:

    Yea, really didn’t think it was such a bad idea when I did it. I mean, as long as you don’t put it in the baby’s room or walk away from it, you’re still able to hold them liable for any damage.

    I don’t want to be responsible for making Joe at the post office both the holder of a crappy job AND armless.

  7. Christopher says:

    What’s funny is that Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries are more unstable when discharged than charged because the internal circuitry requires some electricity to function & insure the lithium remains stable. Most LiIon batteries will report as being 100% depleted when they still have a 5%+ charge to prevent a full, critical depletion, but still.

  8. brokenboy says:

    Lithium batteries get permanently damaged by over-discharge and will hold less in the future after an under-voltage event, but they are not more unstable in this state. By definition they have a lot less energy to do anything bad when discharged.

  9. notlazyjustdontcare says:

    Never leave your discharging battery unattended, even if your child’s school is nearby.

  10. Treved says:

    First off, it took me weeks to get my replacement. And the instructions to discharge seemed silly, and despite what others have said, gave no explanation.

    So I didn’t do. Screw ’em. They’re lucky they got the battery back.

  11. Jeff said “Screw ’em. They’re lucky they got the battery back.”

    yes, because (a) keeping a possibly hazardous battery is a helluva way to get back at a company, and (b) if you did keep it, then you’d be bitching and moaning about how this weird charge showed up on your credit card bill.

    and “it took me weeks” OH NOES! Stop the presses! I’d like to see you pull a few million batteries out of your rear end, and see how fast you can do it.


  12. Falconfire says:

    1) I doubt it took you weeks.

    2) if you didnt read the fine print, if you didnt return the battery they would have charged you for the replacement.

  13. bobznc says:

    Weeks, yes, it took me weeks as well. I applied for the recall just about when it was announced and recieved my new battery on 10/11. But it ended up coming the day after my birthday, also when my current battery was showing obvious signs on life decay, so I concidered it a birthday gift from Apple that I had nearly forgotten about requesting.