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Fire Risk From Panasonic Batteries In Sony Vaio Laptops

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the reclassified-as-variable-BTU-heating-units dept.

Sony 36

jones_supa writes: "Sony is warning about a potential fire risk in some of its Vaio Fit 11A portable notebooks (the final model under the Vaio brand, which was sold off in February). The company is asking customers to stop using this laptop model as soon as possible. Sony said it had received three reports of overheating batteries causing partial burns to Vaio computers. The company stopped selling the product at the beginning of this month, with nearly 26,000 units in the wild. The manufacturer and company responsible for the faulty batteries is Panasonic. 'A Panasonic spokeswoman confirmed the company had provided the batteries to Sony under an outsourcing contract. She declined to say which other computer makers had received Panasonic batteries, as such information is confidential. However, she said the batteries are customized according to clients' requirements and differ depending on client.'"

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Buy American!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724055)

Let that be a lesson folks. Korea is the new knock-off culture infested China.

Re:Buy American!!! (3, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#46724321)

Who exactly is Korean here? Panasonic = Matsushita = Japanese.

Cue The Flames (5, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46724107)

Shit! I left the Vaio in my Tesla.

Re:Cue The Flames (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724129)

These deals are scorching hot. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Re:Cue The Flames (1)

galloog1 (3433335) | about 4 months ago | (#46724231)

Well, then it is Tesla's fault.

Re:Cue The Flames (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#46724295)

Shit! I left the Vaio in my Tesla.

Pray it's not bumped by a Pinto.

What's a "partial burn"? (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#46724135)

...and how does it differ from a "total burn"?

Re:What's a "partial burn"? (4, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46724153)

A partial burn is when your girlfriend tells you that, of all your friends, you have the largest dick.

Sony? Panasonic? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#46724167)

Screw you those cheap third party knockoffs.
I am going for a Sorney and a Genuine Penaphonics!

Re:Sony? Panasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46725439)

I'm liking "Magnetbox"!

Well Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724175)

Thank HP.

User loss risk from Slashdot due to Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724201)

Beta sucks guys, ok? Give up on this utter failure. It makes Windows 8 look like a brilliant idea.

Re:User loss risk from Slashdot due to Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46728333)

Couldn't agree more!

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724243)

Fuck this whole, "I outsourced it so it's not my fault!" bullshit. It's worse when the government does it, but it's still endemic in the private sector. From the consumer PoV, Sony are 100% responsible.

Re:No. (3, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46724819)

From the consumer PoV, Sony are 100% responsible.

Sony is taking full responsibility. From the article: "Sony said in a statement Friday it was identifying the affected computers by serial number and developing a program to repair or replace them."

Re:No. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46726527)

Came her to say this too. We use Panasonic batteries in a couple of products at work (Eneloops and Evoltas). We even managed to blow up a couple of Eneloops as we were assembling them into a pack. That was out fault though (well, the fault of the temp we took on to do it who ignored our instructions), nothing to do with Panasonic. All batteries are dangerous, they pack lots of energy in the form of somewhat volatile chemicals into a small space. You have to treat them carefully, especially the Li-po/Li-ion cells that most laptops use.

So it is completely Sony's fault.

Re:No. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46727089)

So it is completely Sony's fault.

In my opinion, it is completely Panasonic's fault. They delivered a faulty component. From the customer perspective though, Sony must take responsibility, as they integrated and sold the product, and ultimately stand behind the decision to choose Panasonic batteries for the project.

Re:No. (1)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#46727539)

There is nothing in the article to indicate the batteries are defective, that's entirely conjecture by the submitter.

It could well be that the Sony charging circuits are defective and causing perfectly good batteries to overheat.

Re:No. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46727735)

That's a good point actually.

Re:No. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46728061)

The cells Panasonic supplied were not fault. The way Sony used them was incorrect, resulting in overheating. If you go read the datasheets and app notes from Panasonic on charging various types of battery they all make it very clear that you must carefully monitor temperature.

Re:No. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46728157)

The cells Panasonic supplied were not fault. The way Sony used them was incorrect, resulting in overheating.

Citation?

User error? (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 4 months ago | (#46724259)

I wonder how many people were using laptops on their laps with a blanket or pillow or something that helps obstruct the vents on the bottom. It's fun to blame Sony but some times it really does come down to user error. Those vents on the bottom aren't there just for show...

Re:User error? (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#46724329)

I wonder how many people were using laptops on their laps with a blanket or pillow or something that helps obstruct the vents on the bottom. It's fun to blame Sony but some times it really does come down to user error. Those vents on the bottom aren't there just for show...

I think it's reasonable to expect these laptops to contain thermometers and to automatically shutdown with there's a risk of fire. They're designed to be used in domestic environments with little to no training of the user.

Re:User error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46725451)

They're designed to be used in domestic environments with little to no training of the user.

So, they didn't ship with Windows 8?

Re:User error? (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 4 months ago | (#46726155)

Its an issue with the inherent chemistry of Li-ion batteries. The overall heat management of the machine isn't significant. Once the batteries fail from the power supply drawing or charging more than a designed current they start a thermal runaway reaction. The batteries will eventually vent a hot fiery gas. There are battery designs that are considered extremely tolerant to thermal runaway, but they have significantly lower energy density.

Re:User error? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#46729831)

They need to be bloody hot before they get to that point. Most problems which are capable of destroying the battery are detectable by monitoring current, voltage, and temperature. The rest are the result of physical battery damage which can not be fixed by isolating the supply.

Try it yourself. Short the terminals of a fully charged Li Ion or LiPo battery briefly. It won't burst into flames. Hooked the terminals together for about 20 seconds on the other hand and you have a problem.

Re:User error? (1)

mamba-mamba (445365) | about 4 months ago | (#46749217)

The battery packs do have thermometers. While I haven't seen this specific design, it is industry standard practice to incorporate negative temperature coefficient thermistors (NTC's), which allow the charger to detect battery temperature. The battery charging circuitry would definitely be designed to stop charging the battery when it is hot.

The problem is most likely caused by faulty battery components (separator), or manufacturing impurities (particles in electrolyte) or poor process (damaging separator during assembly of the battery cell).

--MM

Re:User error? (1)

namgge (777284) | about 4 months ago | (#46724357)

A foreseeable user error, of the type you describe should not result in equipment catching fire.

Re:User error? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46724847)

All hardware today will either underclock or shut down when the temperatures get toasty. It's a far cry from being able to ignite a fire.

The lack of irony (2)

Markvs (17298) | about 4 months ago | (#46724267)

The laptop manufacturer with an decade long ongoing power supply issue in almost every model now has battery issues? Say it isn't so! Oh, wait, this isn't 2009. We've already done this.
http://hothardware.com/News/So... [hothardware.com]

Slashdot Beta is back? (1)

BenFenner (981342) | about 4 months ago | (#46724299)

I was just pushed to Slashdot Beta. Truthfully, this is the first time I've taken a hard look at it. After some time giving it a real chance, I've decided the comment section is the most troublesome (still?) with the lack of truncated comments and abysmal contrast between the background and the separation delineations.

I thought they backed the fuck off of beta? Why is it back?

hitchcock's revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46724359)

nobody read the book? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpS2N_9fHiA keep trying to disbelieve is the goal

where they on MH370 and will need to be ban (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#46724777)

where they on MH370 and will need to be ban them on other flights as well?

Re:where they on MH370 and will need to be ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46725731)

Err, that's a bit crusty English. :) That sentence should probably be "Were they on MH370 and will they need to be banned on other flights as well?"

ZspongE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46725505)

'first post' p!roblemMs that I've at least.' Nobody

What Happened to Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46726251)

In the 1980's Sony was the shit. Their products were the standard by which all others were measured. Everybody had Sony Walkmans, Sony TVs, Sony components in their home stereos. Today Sony is almost synonymous with 'piece of shit.' What happened?

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