January 20, 2018

HP laptop battery alert: We're recalling these models due to overheating fears

05 January 2018, 02:42 | Ross Houston

Image courtesy of WAVY

Image courtesy of WAVY

The announcement applies to batteries in 15 models of laptop sold globally between December 2015 and December 2017, as well as any replacements or spares bought from HP or their authorised suppliers.

"We are taking immediate action to address this issue including a voluntary recall and replacement of the batteries", HP's statement says.

The problem seems to affected a tiny percentage of the laptops HP sold in this two year period (0.1 percent), and of those impacted, only 3 percent could potentially overheat. Included in the recall are a number of HP ProBook G2 and G3 models, ZBook 17 and Zbook Studio laptops, and Pavilion x360 and Envy m6 laptops, among others. As these batteries are sealed inside the laptop, a qualified technician will be called upon to carry out the replacement.

Critically, though, the modern obsession with thin-and-light - and, to be less generous, built-in obsolescence - means that numerous above models have internal batteries which are not user replaceable. This includes affected devices shipped between December 2015 and December 2017.

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And according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice, "HP has received eight reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500 with one report of a minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand".

To keep users safe while the recall is in progress, HP has also released a firmware update which introduces a new Battery Safety Mode setting. While in "Battery Safety Mode", the laptops can still function safely while connected to an HP power adaptor. The update puts the battery in "Battery Safety Mode", which forces the battery to discharge and cease charging again until the mode is disabled.

Full details of the recall are available on the official website, along with a Windows utility to check the installed battery.

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