Dell Battery Explosions... Why?

Dell and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that 4.1 million laptop batteries could short-circuit under the right conditions, causing an explosion or a fire. The massive recall isn’t the first to hit the computer industry HP and Apple both recalled laptop batteries between 2000 and 2006. But the threat of explosion does set it apart. How could something like a battery actually catch on fire?

To understand what’s going on, it’s helpful to know a little bit about how batteries work. Batteries have a negatively charged terminal and a positively charged terminal. In a battery, energy from electrochemical reactions causes electrons (negatively charged particles) to collect at the battery’s negatively charged pole. Charged particles are attracted to opposite charge, so if you connect a battery to a circuit, the electrons will flow from the negative pole, through the circuit and to the battery’s positively charged pole. In other words, the battery generates a moving charge, or electricity. (See How Electricity Works and How Batteries Work for more details).

The exact reaction that generates the electrons varies, depending on the type of battery. In a lithium-ion battery, you’ll find pressurized containers that house a coil of metal and a flammable, lithium-containing liquid. The manufacturing process creates tiny pieces of metal that float in the liquid. Manufacturers can’t completely prevent these metal fragments, but good manufacturing techniques limit their size and number. The cells of a lithium-ion battery also contain separators that keep the anodes and cathodes, or positive and negative poles, from touching each other.

Dell laptop batteries
Image courtesy U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
These Dell laptop batteries can overheat and catch fire
or explode.

If the battery gets hot through use or recharging, the pieces of metal can move around, much like grains of rice in a pot of water. If a piece of metal gets too close to the separator, it can puncture the separator and cause a short circuit. There are a few possible scenarios for what can go wrong in the case of a short circuit:

* If it creates a spark, the flammable liquid can ignite, causing a fire.
* If it causes the temperature inside the battery to rise rapidly, the battery can explode due to the increased pressure.
* If it causes the temperature to rise slowly, the battery can melt, and the liquid inside can leak out. 

There are several reasons why multiple laptop battery models have been recalled in the past few years. People want small, lightweight laptops that they can use for long periods. They also want their laptops to have bright screens and lots of processing power. For these reasons, laptop batteries have to be relatively small, but they also have to hold a lot of energy and last a long time.

Making lithium-ion batteries that can hold more power for a longer period requires vital components, including the separators, to be small and thin. The reduction in size makes it more likely that the batteries can fail, break, leak or short circuit.

I got it from: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/ref/d … m?cid=rss1

Sorry to C&P but i wanted to share this with y’all…

hmm…hey that reminds me of the laptop that burst into flames during a conference somewhere around here…

[quote=“ArcAngelD”]
Sorry to C&P but i wanted to share this with y’all…[/quote]

C&P?

Anyway - there is always a danger of a melt down and explosion - considering the chemical contents of a battery, especially lithium-ion polymers commonly used in cellphones and notebooks.

Dell’s affected batteries were manufactured by Sony I think. There’s going to a lot of investigations into whether it’s a design problem or a manufacturing defect.

You’re thinking of this, [url=http://www.miricommunity.net/viewtopic.php?t=1959]this, and [url=http://www.miricommunity.net/viewtopic.php?t=1578]this.

Source:http://www.engadget.com/2006/08/18/a-dell-laptop-goes-boom-in-the-night/
Posted Aug 18th 2006 9:56AM by Ryan Block

[size=150]Another Dell laptop goes boom in the night[/size]

Dude, just because you’re in the Netherlands doesn’t give you any reason or excuse not to have traded in your Dell laptop battery for one that isn’t so, shall we say, explosive? This unfortunate Latitude (appears to be a D610 D510) met its fate when, like so many others, it was cut down before its time in a violent and easily prevented explosion. We’d tell you more, but unfortunately the article is in a tongue we don’t speak (sorry, we took Zulu in high school), but if any of our Dutch pals want to apprise us as to the situation, we’d be most obliged.

[Thanks, Jeroen]

Update: Jeroen gave us the skinny on this one. Apparently the unit’s owner, Ewout, was on holiday in Hungary with the laptop when it caught fire; of course it would not be extinguished by mere water, so sand was found and thrown on the machine. Thankfully Dell was, um, gracious enough to replace Ewout’s laptop, so there ya go.

http://www.lowyat.net/v2/images/stories/Exploding%20batteries/dell-explosion.jpg

scary :frowning:

another one?! I wonder what happens after the explosion…does DELL replace, refund, or could they not care less…?

Man mine is a dell…better keep in low heat from now on…or will that work anyway…scary thought though…

Better yet - call up Dell, tell them your model number and ask if it is one that is affected.

I’ve got a dell too, while using it i was sitting as far back as i can and was thinking of wearing my bicycle helmet too.

:lol:

[quote=“Peter Choy”]I’ve got a dell too, while using it i was sitting as far back as i can and was thinking of wearing my bicycle helmet too.

:lol:[/quote]

Better mount it with a USB wireless Keyboard and mouse like I do…just so we can use it ten feet from the source…just for safety measures…

[quote=“Sileast20”][quote=“Peter Choy”]I’ve got a dell too, while using it i was sitting as far back as i can and was thinking of wearing my bicycle helmet too.

:lol:[/quote]

Better mount it with a USB wireless Keyboard and mouse like I do…just so we can use it ten feet from the source…just for safety measures…[/quote]

… good idea, not forgeting the long extension cord to put the dell outside the house so you can peep at it from inside your window.

[quote=“Peter Choy”][quote=“Sileast20”][quote=“Peter Choy”]I’ve got a dell too, while using it i was sitting as far back as i can and was thinking of wearing my bicycle helmet too.

:lol:[/quote]

Better mount it with a USB wireless Keyboard and mouse like I do…just so we can use it ten feet from the source…just for safety measures…[/quote]

… good idea, not forgeting the long extension cord to put the dell outside the house so you can peep at it from inside your window.[/quote]

:lol:

…or you could just take out the batt and use it on A/C mode…

hey, i just read that Dells net profit for this quarter has dropped 50% as compared to the same time last year…from 1.02 billion to 502 million to be exact…tsk tsk…its coz of the many battery explosion cases…

It sounds like it spread into a wild fire after the explosion incidents…I hope they can clear it up or I would not have warranty for any of my spares later…

not only that…but if you bought it during that “explosive” period, resale value will drop as well…boy, am I glad I didn’t get the Dell after all… I love my ASUS ( I duno how many times I’ve said that already, I apologise)

Different bread, same mayonaise. :smiley:

DELL is pulling back their batterys, but for certain models only, mostly the old models.So those have bought that should be happy cause can have new battery :lol:

where’s your sense of adventure?
:lol: