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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the maker of consumer electronics known for its Panasonic brand, on Tuesday announced that it is recalling batteries for 6000 of its laptops, as those may overheat or fire. The firm said that the problem has nothing to do with massive recalls of notebook batteries made by Sony, however, this outlines threat that more mobile computer batteries may fire.

Panasonic has begun recalling about 6000 lithium-ion batteries used in some of its notebook computers because they could self-ignite or become damaged, reported AFX news-agency, citing Japanese news-paper Nihon Keizai Shimbun. According to the news-paper, the company will replace initial shipments of its “Let’s Note CF-W4” notebook launched in May 2005.

A representative for Panasonic reportedly stressed that the problem does not stem from the lithium-ion battery itself but from the battery cover and has nothing to do with faulty battery cells supplied by Sony to companies like Apple or Dell. The batteries could produce heat and change shape if the battery cover is damaged due to the poor strength of the latch, according to Dow Jones news-agency.

“But such cases are extremely rare and only occur when the computer suffers a strong impact such as a drop,” the spokesman is reported to have said, confirming two of such cases and denying to comment on the cost of the batteries recall.

Back in August Apple and Dell have recalled combined 5.9 million batteries for notebooks after 9 and 6 incidents, respectively, in which batteries produced by Sony flamed and/or exploded. A spokesman indicated that Sony Electronics is “speaking regularly with its battery customers” and expressed opinion that the recalls will stop with Apple and Dell, implying that HP and Lenovo, another notebook suppliers who used batteries by Sony, will not recall their products.

Sony said in an official statement that the recall arises because, on rare occasions, microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit within the cell. Typically, a battery pack will simply power off when a cell short circuit occurs. However, under certain rare conditions, an internal short circuit may lead to cell overheating and potentially flames, the company indicated. The potential for this to occur can be affected by variations in the system configurations found in different notebook computers.


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