Hitachi joins Sony battery recall

Hitachi joins most of the leading notebook computer makers in recalling batteries from Sony that are known to overheat and potentially cause fires.

The recall is one of the smaller ones, affecting 16,000 units only sold in Japan. The Hitachi Flora 210W and Flora Se210 laptops ship with the Sony batteries.

Hitachi doesn't use the batteries in any other products and hasn't received any complaints from users about problems with them.

Hitachi's recall pales compared to Dell's, which was the first and affected 4.1 million of the Sony batteries. Apple Computer recalled 1.8 million batteries and Toshiba, Lenovo Group, IBM and Fujitsu have recalled hundreds of thousands each. Combined, the companies have recalled more than 7.9 million batteries.

HP is one of the few remaining large computer makers not to issue a recall, claiming that an HP system configuration prevents overheating. Acer is considering issuing a recall but is still investigating the issue.

Sony is hammering out a plan with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch a global replacement program for the batteries.

Sony blames the problem, which affects some lithium ion batteries, on tiny metal particles that might come in contact with parts of the battery, possibly triggering a short circuit. Normally, the battery should power off when that happens, Sony said, but in some cases the short circuit could cause overheating and flames.

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