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Acer Recalls 22,000 Notebooks Due To Burn Hazard 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the hot-product dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Acer, today announced a voluntary recall of 22,000 notebook computers. Acer has received three reports of computers short circuiting, resulting in slight melting of the external casing. No incidents occurred in the United States. No injuries have been reported."
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Acer Recalls 22,000 Notebooks Due To Burn Hazard

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  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 08, 2010 @07:57PM (#30702236) Journal

    That means they could duplicate it rather easily.

    If you've got one of those notebooks, DEFINATELY return it.

    • Kudos to Acer. 3 instances, and they care enough to do something about it. As opposed to all those Apple devices which have been documented, and Apple just says, "Not our fault - buy another (new and improved) iPhone/iPod or whatever.

      When I'm ready to buy again, I will remember that Acer is more concerned with my safety than some of the competition. That is enough incentive to forego some other enticing feature on a similar product.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        I fail to see how Apple's marketing of iPods and iPhones has anything to do with consumer safety.

        What, we had one kid who speared his iPod battery with a screwdriver, and a guy who sat on his iPhone and cracked the screen and battery and you use that as an excuse to claim Apple is not concerned with consumer safety because they didn't issue a recall?

        Whatever happened to common sense? Back in the old days if you did something silly like driving on a highway with the sliding door on your MPV in the "open" pos

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Presumably the people that had faults with Apple power adapters and iBook logic (and thermal paste jizzing [macrumors.com]) were merely imagining the issues as well, right up to the point where Apple admitted them, at which time they became real.

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            Right, after Apple tested and reproduced the faults (to confirm that it's not just user misuse and an actual fault) they issued a recall. No different to any other company when something like this comes up.

            Well, except perhaps Ford and the Pinto fuel tank, but they gambled and lost on that one.

            There's a long history of many manufacturers not "admitting" there is a fault with a product unless they have something in place to deal with it - eg, a recall if it actually is faulty, or a replacement part, or some

        • by sjames (1099)

          Or the guy who dropped his daughter's iPod, heard it sizzling and threw it into his back yard where it went BOOM, or the guy whose Nano "vented with flame" in his pants pocket, etc. etc. etc.

          Lets face it, venting toxic gasses with fire or going boom! because you dropped it is not really acceptable. Broken gadgets are expected to no longer work, but shouldn't do anything explosion like. They especially shouldn't do that as the first sign that they were damaged by a drop.

          The elephant in the room is that, in t

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            What do you think is in there? I have disassembled many Apple devices over the years - they tend to be reasonably well protected for such small things.

            Of course it shouldn't burst into flame at the first sign of a drop, but it's what all the fuss is about - how do you know that was the first time he dropped it? Perhaps it experienced some other trauma before the "small drop" that finally set it off. Perhaps it was a one off in the batch.

            When companies hear about this of course they test to see if it is a wi

            • by sjames (1099)

              Of course it shouldn't burst into flame at the first sign of a drop, but it's what all the fuss is about - how do you know that was the first time he dropped it? Perhaps it experienced some other trauma before the "small drop" that finally set it off. Perhaps it was a one off in the batch.

              It really doesn't matter if he dropped it once or a thousand times, exploding is an unacceptable response.

              Apple products are far from unique in using LiIon batteries, but they sure do seem to explode a lot more often than those other devices. Clearly, it is possible to design such devices to properly protect the battery.

              True, not many Apple products burst into flames, and even less explode, but in what should be the equivalent of a fender bender, there should never be any fires or explosions.

              • by jo_ham (604554)

                What about all the Sony batteries? And this current Acer recall?

                Apple devices only seem to explode more than others due to the enormously out of proportion response that issues like this cause regarding Apple products. They are no more or less likely than any other small electronic device that has a lithium battery (after all, the battery itself is not unique to apple - they buy them from 3rd party manufacturers that also sell them to others).

                Of course it shouldn't explode, but you cannot ever remove that r

                • by sjames (1099)

                  Drop a one gallon can of gasoline from head high as many times as you like, I'll bet it never explodes.

                  What about all the Sony batteries? And this current Acer recall?

                  The answer is in your question. They have been recalled because it shouldn't happen.

                  Now if the producer of the devices that are supposed to be the best of the best (and are priced accordingly) would do the same.

                  • by jo_ham (604554)

                    Light a thousand cigarettes near a boxed iPod that is open. I bet it never explodes. You know very well what I mean when I talk about contained chemical energy and the safe handling of such. You can drop a can of hairspray from head height as often as you like too and it likely won't explode, but if you punctured it with a screwdriver, you won't be pleased with the results. This is about safe precautions for things that can harm you. No one stores open cans of gasoline next to their bench grinder, or by the

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      So the moral is that the iPhone should be stored in a fireproof box? Note that I do not consider the one case where a kid deliberately ruptured the battery in his dead iPod as a product failure. That was a user failure.

                      The point is that these explosive failures should not occur as part of normal use. Normal use of a gas can doesn't call for having it next to a bench grinder. Normal use of a cellphone includes having it in your pocket and holding it in your hand. Dropping is all part of normal use for a devi

                    • by jo_ham (604554)

                      That is my point - consider how many iPods and iPhones there are, and all the testing that goes into them that will include dropping them from height, and subjecting them to extremes that are far outside normal user abuses. If they really were popping and exploding frequently we would know about it.

                      The iPod and iPhone batteries are not different to any other lithium battery in devices of similar size - many, many manufacturers use them. It's just that the Apple cases are very high profile.

                      The guy who droppe

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      There's a zillion LiIon devices out there. Laptops seem to have a real problem, but with pocket sized devices, it's overwhelmingly i* devices that go boom.

                    • by jo_ham (604554)

                      Yes, the top google results all point to LG phones, Dell laptops and LG's Xnote with two stories and a youtube video about an MPB.

                      "overwhelmingly" iDevices, certainly.

                      Cell phones, flashlights, portable DVD players, GPS gadgets, even cordless drills also have all been recalled in recent months over concerns about dangerous batteries. During that time, there have been nearly 200 reported incidents of fires and explosions resulting from battery failure.

                      All of these recalls involve lithium ion rechargeable batteries, which now are the industry standard, because of their ability to yield high power in small spaces. It’s that concentration of power which makes these batteries more dangerous.

                      From: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2006/08/exploding_gadge.html [msnbc.com]

                      Before the Dell recall, there were 23 recalls related to lithium batteries. Apple don't even make 23 handheld devices unless you count each iPod generation as a separate device. I'm failing to see how "overwhelmingly" i* devices are catching fire in the small device category.

  • by starbugs (1670420) on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:02PM (#30702312)

    So what do I have to say into the microphone for this "melting" condition to occur?

    I didn't know these laptops were so sensitive.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:03PM (#30702328)

    Ow, my balls!

    • You joke, but I'm on holiday and sitting with an Acer Aspire in my lap right now. I was already worried about the safety of my junk!

      • I was already worried about the safety of my junk! ...your Acer should be fine!

        Disclaimer: I also have an Aspire notebook, and quite like it, actually.

        • by reboot246 (623534)
          I've had one for about three years now. I increased the memory and replaced the hard drive with a larger one, and it runs like a charm. It's been with me on dozens of road trips, been tossed into the back of my truck, endured heat and cold, and still keeps going. What a bargain for $500!
        • by uptownguy (215934)

          Totally offtopic -- but I've got karma to burn and I love this thing...

          I own an Acer Aspire One 751H (not the model mentioned in the recall) -- it is my favorite laptop of all time -- And I've had around a dozen.

          It has a 11.6" screen, 1366x768 resolution, a 160 GB hard drive, comes with an internal webcam and mic and mine came from the factory with 1GB of RAM -- (a $20 DIMM later and it had 2 GB.) The 1.33GHz Atom processor only overlocks to about 1.56 GHz but doesn't feel slow at all. It weighs 2.9lbs an

          • I own an Acer Aspire One 751H (not the model mentioned in the recall) -- it is my favorite laptop of all time -- And I've had around a dozen.

            Yes, it's very nice. Comparable to my old 12 inch PowerBook. Too bad it uses that crappy video chipset. Poulsbo sucks on every platform. It doesn't last anywhere near that long in Linux.

          • I've got 3 Acer laptops, and bought the most recent one in May '09. Only problem I've had with this one is that I've not been able to figure out how to get the built-in webcam to work with OpenSUSE (so once every couple of weeks, I reboot into Vista for an hour or two so I can have a video call with my daughter, who lives with her mum in another country -- I can live with that, I guess). Everything else works a treat -- even did the Linux install using the wifi. That was pretty funny, actually -- started th

  • Slight, eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <`philip.paradis' `at' `palegray.net'> on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:04PM (#30702348) Homepage Journal
    When it comes to something I might have in my lap, no amount of melting plastic is really "slight."
  • Digital mics (Score:5, Informative)

    by marcansoft (727665) <hector@marcansof ... com minus distro> on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:11PM (#30702430) Homepage

    Acer uses digital microphones (at least on my Aspire, anyway, so I assume they do on these recalled laptops too). Typical electret analog mics require power, but it's delivered via a resistor on top of the audio path, so it's safe if short circuited. Digital mics have a separate power connection. They probably hooked this up to a system power bus (5V/3.3V/whatever) with no current protection. The current available on these buses will easily feed a short circuited thin wire, which will cause significant heating.

    Sounds like someone at Acer needs to learn to put safety fuses between power domains, especially when you're feeding power from a fat power bus into a tiny wire.

    • Sounds like someone at Acer needs to learn to put safety fuses between power domains, especially when you're feeding power from a fat power bus into a tiny wire.

      Until they can get fuses for free, don't count on it.:(

  • Detonators (Score:5, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:18PM (#30702524) Homepage Journal

    Acer should just exchange the computers and sell the faulty ones in Yemen.

    • Right, except for the whole "that would be in contravention of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976" thing.

      • Right, except for the whole "that would be in contravention of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976" thing.

        Oh that ole thing? Wno knows? Maybe some of these laptops are going to be recalled from countries covered by that act.

  • tx2500 (Score:1, Offtopic)

    My HP tx2530ea (dual Turion64 X2 Ultra @ 2.1) with ATI Radeon HD 3200 rocks Oblivion at 20-60fps, Fallout 3 at just a little less, X3 Reunion, and Far Cry 2 all without burning my lap, whilst charging. I have it with me and on, 24/7.

    It also offers a sexy swivelling touchscreen and "book-in-bed-mode"... Acer could do a lot better. I bet this thing has Intel graphics and still gets hotter than my tablet! My last Acer was hotter, definitely. I traded it for this. (for the record, it was a 5920 with Intel X3100

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It actually runs quite cool normally, and performance is decent. It is not a gaming laptop, though, given the Intel graphics.

      Fantastic battery life, though. 6-7 hours real-world usage.

      It's also extremely thin and light.

    • by IorDMUX (870522)

      My HP tx2530ea (dual Turion64 X2 Ultra @ 2.1) with ATI Radeon HD 3200 rocks Oblivion at 20-60fps, Fallout 3 at just a little less, X3 Reunion, and Far Cry 2 all without burning my lap, whilst charging. I have it with me and on, 24/7.

      The issue with the Acer laptops is not melting plastic due to overloading the system, but rather a potential electric short involving the microphone that pumps unprotected current through the device, potentially melting the casing and burning the user.

      It is certainly a serious issue and a dumb design flaw, but it has nothing to do with the heating/cooling of the CPU or its performance at load or while charging.

  • Bought two Acers last year. About had a heart attack when I saw the headline, but thank god I'm not that guy that bought fire hazards for his family at Christmas.
  • by Simon80 (874052) on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:45PM (#30702756)
    The last article on aviransplace.com (Windows GodMode features) was copied from CNet. Slashdot could have found a less ad-laden website to send traffic to this time around.
    • by Da_Biz (267075)

      The last article on aviransplace.com (Windows GodMode features) was copied from CNet. Slashdot could have found a less ad-laden website to send traffic to this time around.
      Editors: PLEASE stop sending your readers to adfarms. Either that, or clearly tag each article with "ohnoitsaviran" or "ohnoitssonofroland"

  • Nice of them to recall it anyhow, before the "slight melting of the external casing" leads to batteries slightly exploding, or laptops slightly catching fire and houses slightly burning down.
  • by lemur3 (997863) on Friday January 08, 2010 @09:53PM (#30703440)

    This website gets posted front page again ?

    The content is from: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10103.html [cpsc.gov]

    lame!

  • Tagged "burnnotice" because Gabrielle Anwar is hot and Bruce Campbell is perfect for that show...
  • Not surprising. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by n1hilist (997601) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @04:07AM (#30705628)

    My previous notebook was an Acer Travelmate 4403 or something, AMD Turion 1.8ghz, etc; but the HDD would IDLE at 56 degrees C and peak at 62 or so, this thing made my palms sweat - the drive ran cool outside the notebook, putting in a new HDD did the same - there was almost no breathing room. This thing made my palms sweat, Acer refused to fix/replace it on the basis that this was "acceptable" Even a letter I acquired from Seagate explaining the drive was running way out of their thermal guidelines didn't convince Acer that this was a potential risk.

    I sold it for cheap and got me a Thinkpad T61 a few years ago - never looked back.

  • The Acer Aspire laptop that I bought was advertised to come with Bluetooth capabilities. However, lo and behold, when I get it home, I come to find out that Acer did not ship a number of their North American laptops with Bluetooth despite advertising that did and even having the computer equipped with a switch as if you could turn it on. Overall, I'm just not pleased with the quality of computer that Acer offers. The '3' key fell off of my laptop a couple of months back, as did one of the clasps from me ju
  • I have the recalled notebook, i filled the form, and months passed with no contact from Acer. I wrote an e-mail and no feedback. If this is the build quality, if this is the support, what will happen to my notebook when they will get it?

Brain fried -- Core dumped

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