Dell Details on Notebook Battery Recall


Dell announced a recall today of lithium-ion batteries sold in many of our notebook computers over the past two years. You may have seen the recent New York Times story or have seen other details in the blogosphere.  As the leader of the mobile business for Dell, I wanted to share my thoughts on this recall.

Lithium-ion is a proven technology which has been widely used in our industry for over ten years. These batteries are not just for notebook computers – they are found in many electronic products including cell phones and music players. For more information on lithium-ion safety, you can visit the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association.

I don’t mind telling you this recall follows an extensive investigation, but the decision to err on the side of safety was never in doubt. My team and I come to work in Austin and around the world every day so we can put great products in the hands of our customers. There were very few incidents to go on here, and it would have been easy to justify them as anomalies. However, we’re not willing to do that, because in everything that we do, it is absolutely about safety first.

This is a voluntary recall of approximately 4.1 million batteries, making it one of the largest in Dell’s history. Many of you are thinking that this action is a direct result of the notebook fire at a business meeting in Osaka, Japan back in June, as well as a couple of other incidents that have been posted on the Internet.

The fact is, we are looking at safety data every single day, and this did not start when we heard about the incident in Osaka. Our technical support agents are trained to look out for anything that comes up on a call that might be indicative of a safety matter, no matter how small. When we hear about these things, we work with the customer to get them a new replacement system right away, so they can get back up and running. We then work with the customer to get the affected system back to Dell (we call this a “capture”) so we can take a good, hard look at it. Dell has a global safety organization with engineers and experts at our centers around the world. In most of these cases, we are able to determine that the cause of the customer complaint is not a hazard for other customers. Nevertheless, we learn a lot from our customers’ experience and we use this information in the future development of our products. That’s one reason it’s great having a direct relationship with our customers.

In very rare instances, a real safety hazard does present itself. In these cases, the customer captured systems are sent through a detailed forensic analysis, kind of like what you would see on “CSI.” Dell has extensive lab capability for these investigations and a lot of the work is done right here. We also work with third-party labs to complete and verify this analysis, because we value independent outside opinions. In any case, our safety engineers are involved every step of the way.

Analyzing the data is the tricky part—that’s what brought us to where we are today. We’re lucky that in being direct we have access not only to real-time customer data, but also can correlate that information with data from our component supply partners such as Sony, who is the manufacturer of the battery cells in this particular case. We look at product performance data all the time, but we give it extra scrutiny when there is a problem that might impact our customers and their well being. In this case, there was not much to go on, especially considering how few incidents there were in relation to how many notebooks Dell sells as the largest notebook brand worldwide. Since we engage directly with our customers and build every system to each customer's unique order, we know what product we have shipped to whom. We are now focused on communicating to those notebook customers impacted by this recall and making the replacement process as simple as possible. Some might say we are being conservative and even overreacting in taking this broad action, but even one more incident is too many.

On behalf of Dell, I’d like to apologize to all affected customers. Above all else, your safety is important to us. We also understand that the work that you do on your notebook is invaluable to you, and we’re committed to getting replacement batteries shipped out to you as quickly as we can.

To determine if your laptop battery is part of this recall, you can go here. This website will be live shortly after midnight Central Time. This site is now live.  You’ll find answers to FAQs and new information as it is available here on Direct2Dell.

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60 thoughts on “Dell Details on Notebook Battery Recall

  1. Hopefully, this should stem the overflowing number of customers who are logging to the Chat Support for queries related to their Battery recall. If possible, can this be included in the IVRs or the Chat Presentations so that customers are informed while they are waiting to speak to an agent?

    Romanick A


  2. All the hyperlinks about the battery recall placed by Dell are non functional to this point. Please contact me by e-mail.

  3. I bought my Inspirion E1505 in March 16.  I believe my battery is part of the recall.  I will check the website when it goes live later tonight.  I hope there are no problems.  I am wondering id I should remove my battery now.

  4. Will you contact all people who have the batteries in question?

    When will this happen and how will we ship the questionable batteries back to you?

  5. Just amazed at the number of units involved, over 4 million.  Curious to see the number of which come back over time.  If lucky, 25% of these units will come back post-recall, all of which will not have exploded.  This is a widely used product in other mobile devices so we shall see what the other companies involved will do.

    cited no. of inolved:

  6. Would you not characterize this a systemic problem with Dell laptop batteries considering that there were similar (albeit smaller scale) recalls in Dell laptop batteries in 2000, 2001, 2005 and now?

    I believe if consumer safety is of the utmost concern then Dell may want to re-evaluate relationships with its battery manufacturers.

  7. Good luck with the recall. If these are all batteries manufactured by Sony, good luck working out the details with Sony. Common use technologies such as batteries come with inherent potential risks. However, their prevalence in our daily lives dictates a greater than usual quality and safety testing regimen, that obviously failed here for Dell to consider over 4 million units to be at risk. This one is not on Dell, it is on the actual manufacturer of the batteries.

    Del,, it took longer than it should have, but good going on looking out for your customers safety. The battery manufacturer isn’t the one putting this recall out, or the warning, and risking their reputatio. Dell is, and in this particular instance, it’s not Dells fault.  

    But then, maybe it’s just karma.

    Still, I appreciate the recall. Now I have to go check some batteries.


  8. Alex,

    Thank you for erring on the side of safety.  I know that a recall of this magnitude is a massive undertaking and I appreciate Dell’s committment to consumer safety.

    Best of luck,

    Jason Bryan

  9. Dell has done the right thing by recalling the batteries; the batteries can be replaced, but people cannot – and as Alex so correctly noted, it is all about customer safety.

    I can only hope that our replacement batteries are shipped out as quickly as is possible.  How Dell handles a recall of this size and scope will be interesting to watch.

    One question for Dell:  I presume that our batteries will be replaced with an identical battery? (for example, a 9-cell with a comparable 9-cell)

  10. It would be nice during recalls like this, if you would explain to people how to sign up to get email/phone/mail notices of future recalls.

  11. My battery has overheated twice (my CPU was emergency downclocked by the BIOS) after using it almost completely and then letting it charge. I had to disconnect the batter both times. Dunno what would have happened if I didn’t.

    And my battery NOT on the recall list. My laptop model and a model that looks EXACTLY like mine is on the recall list. Dell’s reputation is not very good for me ATM…

  12. I commend Dell for looking out for the consumer on this issue.  I have been fearful of leaving my system on while unattended.  It’ll be nice that I can leave my system on over night and not have to worry about my house catching on fire.


    <a href="">RunFatBoy</a&gt; — Exercise for the rest of us.

  13. Thanks Alex for the heads up.

    Hey Cecilia, I read in the NYT piece that:

    “Dell said it would notify affected customers by mail and online, or through corporate sales representatives, and arrange to send a replacement battery. In the meantime, it advised owners to remove the original battery and use a power cord.”

  14. I think you should also explain somewhere why some batteries are involved and others aren’t.  A lot of customers are worried that you’re "missing" their specific model #.  Especially on the same model of a laptop, what specifically makes one battery involved in the recall different from other batteries for the same model not involved in the recall.

    Moreover, can you explain why certain batteries are not included.  Sometimes for food recalls, it may be that rat droppings were found in a certain plant and thats why those specific packets are recalled.

    What specifically makes you so sure that only these batteries are involved.  Were they made at a faulty place or something? From the articles, it sounds like it was a manufacturing defect and not specific to  a certain plant.

    Please, please for our peace of mind, elaborate on this.

    Thank you.

  15. Hey,

    Just wanted to note something on the replacement page – you can get different messages about replacements being required if you type a letter "O" instead of a number "0", or vice versa; as an example, mine with two zeros requires replacement (as part of the C5446 series), but a typo of a letter "O" gives no replacement required

  16. I’m a loyal Dell customer and an IT Manager for a small consulting firm, and I find the recall, frankly, unneccesary.  6 out of 4.1 million batteries have this problem, I’d like to take my chances.

    Unfortunately, this logic doesn’t go over well with our paranoid user community, so I’m dutifully arranging the return for those of our Latitude D-series fleet which require it.

    A bit of feedback on the page for entering numbers:

    The requirement to enter each part of the code individually is unnecessarily onerous for those of us who have to enter multiple codes.  I have a list of 35 codes, and if I had a blank open field, such as those used by UPS and DHL to track packages, I could copy and paste the entire thing in.  If one of them comes back in the wrong format, just kick out an error.

    Please, pass on this feedback to those who might be able to do something about it.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi

    Why did Michael Dell not tell everyone about the recall at yesterday’s press conference in Sydney, Australia? When he was asked about the the recent problems and if there were any developments, he did not volunteer the information that a new battery recall was in the works. If he was so concern about customer safety, why was the announcement held over until after the press conference was over?

  18. I am floored at the number of people who can not follow directions.  I am simply amazed that some of you can even turn on your computer.  Alex clearly said that "This website will be live shortly after midnight Central Time".  Yet, in the comments, people are complaining that they can’t get to the site well before that time.  Come on, people… learn to read.  You found the link, but not the sentence RIGHT NEXT TO IT that said it would be live later that night.  

    Geez, people… read directions.

  19. Why should it matter if the batteries are a Sony product. It should still be Dell’s responsibility to make sure incidents like these do not happen. They are the ones putting these batteries in the laptops and selling them off. I’m angry that Dell is trying to blame Sony. I believe if they are going distribute these batteries to consumers, they should be held full responsibility. I was in the process of purchasing a second dell laptop XPS M1210, but now I feel that Dell products can’t be trusted. I wish I hadn’t bougth my first dell laptop and want a full refund. I will be contacting dell services for this.

  20. Good work.. do ensure that the regional Tech Support/ Customer Care crew has sufficient capacity to take the additional calls..

    Perhaps battries should be regarded as key commodity to be closely watched in terms of supply and quality going forward..

  21. Just a suggestion.. I think all Dell employees should participate in contacting the end users on this issue if the contact team is swamped with request.. I am sure they have firends who may be affected as well..

  22. Will I be allowed to take my dell computer with this battery on to an airline? What would happen if it exploded on an aircraft? Could it cause a castrophic situation? Has Dell contacted the TSA for there evaluation?

  23. It is NOT Dell’s fault that Sony produced faulty batteries. Whenever you people buy Dell computers go ahead and buy the 4 year Premium Warranty. It is 100% worth it.

  24. I just bought a new Dell Inspiron 1505.  It’s being delivered today (Aug. 15).  Did Dell stop installing the batteries in question as soon as the issue became known or do I still have to check it?

  25. My battery was recalled.

    Will I be receiving a battery equivalent in the number of cells as the original battery or will I be getting a basic standard good-enough-for-government-work battery?

    When I originally bought my laptop, I purchased a higher costing battery from Dell that had more cells. I’d like to know that I will be receiving something similar.

  26. Why isnt the Dell 1300 or B130 part of the recall.
    Story below indicates fire incident  with this laptop.

    “Exploding” Dell Laptop Destroys Truck, Imperils Outsdoorsmen… morning — before Forqueran’s Dell Inspiron 1300/B130 set his truck ablaze. … Battery Recall. Dell, in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety …

  27. Ken,

    Dell isn’t blaming Sony, Sony is taking the blame on there own.  Sony admited to manufacturing defective battery cells.  And in case you haven’t read, Dell is taking the responsibility for this recall.  Considering Sony admits that they sell these battery cells to other vendors including Apple and HP,  I would say Dell recalling these batteries is outstanding and they have gained even more of my respect for taking these actions.    

  28. I have not been able to really read the details of the "recall".  I don’t see where batteries are "recalled" but how a new battery will be sent out if you bought a product with a suspect one.  What are you requesting that customers do with their targeted batteries?  I hope you are not requesting that they ship them back to you – by air – and expose them to altitude/thermal issues that are more extreme than just depositing at a Radio Shack or Staples collector.


  29. I am completely frustrated… I have tried to log on to the battery recall website numerous times, and on 3 different computers (Mac and PC) with 3 different browsers and every time I get a timed out message. So – I called the 800 number for the recall (1.866.342.0011), which took forever to ring and answer, and got numerous recordings stating that my call was important and promising I would get help in less than 3 minutes – and then suddenly the recorded voice said "thank you for calling" and HUNG UP! No wonder I’m a Mac lover!! Please tell me how I can find out if I need to get a new battery for the XPS M170 that I just paid over $1600 for in May!

  30. This recall program is a nightmare for corporate customers with a large amount of Dell laptop in use.

    Dell is unable to provide a list of purchased laptop with service tag & battery manufacturer / battery concerned by recall.

  31. Good job by Dell on taking care of the behind-the-scenes headaches before opening the consumer flood-gates.

    This was handled in a very professional manner with Dell demonstrating focus solely on ensuring consumer safety, with apparently little concern for the cost.

    Dell took their time to set everything up correctly instead of tossing out a knee-jerk responsive action, which demonstrates experience and business aptitude.

    I’ll surely purchase more Dell stock.

  32. Let’s see… 25 reported instances, of which 6 were Dell laptops. That leaves 19 "other" makes. Have we heard from them yet? Hmmmmm?

    Dell is willing to step up to the plate while others (HP is even bashing Dell in the press) are saying it’s "Dell’s problem".

    Give it a few days… other manufacturers will "join in".

  33. i think i don"T received any dell notice

    i don"t think dell will do inform me of any addtional update of battery repllacement process.

  34. I heard the TSA is now interested in these faulty batteries.  Also Lenovo had their first fire pubilshed.  I guess a fire extinguisher will be an accessory soon to be offered. 

  35. Well, getting a replacement battery has proven a total nightmare.  I was told in mid-August that I would have a replacement within 20 working days.  It is now mid October and I have not received it despite 8 phone calls to the battery recall centre and now to general customer services.  All anyone seems able to do is “send an escalation email”… This clearly has no effect.  The agents on the phone are unable to do anything themselves and are unable to put me in touch with anyone who can.  Customer service is a huge misnomer in this case.

  36. Lithium batteries are really dangerous when punctured They evidently go into thermal overload this is where all available energy turns into heat and the cell catches fire. As each cell in the battery heats up this in turn will catch fire and before long the whole battery is on fire. Lithium cells burn at 700 degrees Centigrade. I am surprised they allow them on aeroplanes. battery waste solutions advertised on their website

  37. A few questions:  1) “ Batteries subject to recall should not be used while awaiting a replacement battery from Dell” Does that mean they must be removed, or just not used. If removed, what harm is risked by the open compartment? and 2) Why, four months into the recall, would it take 20 days to process this? 3) Can replacement batteries be obtained from other vendors more quickly?

  38. How do I turn off the “Dell Updates Battery Recall” popup window?  My battery is not affected.

  39. Hi you all.
    i have the inspiron 6400 ram 1 gb, hdd 120, display intel graphics video 256 but i cant update it. it says that there is a file missing. please help me out i am hopeless.

  40. Thanks for the clear directions regarding battery recall for the inspiron  E1505. I just inherited my brother’s computer and have been really impressed by how much customer support Dell has. This is not a familiar experience to me as a consumer, so I am thrilled to find it!  If you’ve ever had  to experience the death of a close family member, you’ll know that right now  pretty much everything looks flat and grey and  uninspiring. So  I take  anything that presents an exception to that, however momentary, very much to heart. These items or details provide evidence that once grief passes, there is life out there and it will go on. I hardly expected one of these brief flashes of reminder/enthusiasm to come from  some element in the marketing of consumer goods. Not these days. Noticing this much, my attention was directed toward the computer sooner than it would have been otherwise. I wound up finding files on it with things my brother had written about which I think some of the friends and family gathering at his memorial service this weekend would find some comfort in. Mind you, I’d still trade the computer back in a hot second if it would restore my brother to me, but since that isn’t within the realm of possibility I guess it’s okay to enjoy the inherited item. 

  41. I admire Dell leadership for their decision to create this blog. I’m
    fond of my Dell Latitude D520 which I’m typing on now however I
    frequently find myself in need of a longer battery life.  

    of battery safety issues in addition to extended battery life, our
    company specializes in safe external battery packs which give Dell
    laptops up to an additional 30 hours of run time per charge. 

    Ever since we started manufacturing our external battery packs back in 2002 there have never been any recalls
    nor have there ever been any safety related incidents.

    of our external battery packs have been designed and manufactured with
    a PCB (Protective Circuit Board) which provides the following internal
    protective safety features:

    1. Internal battery safety protection against thermal run away (overheating).

    2. Internal battery safety protection against over charging.

    3. Internal battery safety protection against over discharge.

    4. Internal battery safety protection against over voltage and over current.

    5. Internal battery safety protection against short circuit.

    a result, many of our satisfied customers are Dell laptop owners which
    has lead us to wonder if perhaps any of the leadership at Dell would
    have any interest in offering our external battery packs as an optional
    accessory to their laptop customers.   

    All the best,

    Sean Murray
    President & CEO
    The Battery Geeks
    “Home of the 30+ Hour Per Charge External Laptop Battery Packs”

  42. This happened to me.  I was using the computer and it got super hot.  I always use the fan unit below the laptop to prevent overheating, but it didn’t do anythig.  The computer turned itself off.  I unplugged it, but it stayed really really hot for a long time (like an hour?).  Remember, I had unplugged the computer.  It was scary.  My battery is not covered under the recall and I didn’t call in on it until after the year was up.  I called and the dell people suggested that I upgrade and renew my service contract.  I paid $250 so that I could have someone come out to fix it.  I didn’t realize it is really easy-dumb me!  When I called in to have it done, I was told that I had waited too long and the battery was not covered under the warranty, that it wasn’t covered by the recall, so I will have to buy another one (it is $129.99 plus tax and shipping).  Bummer.  I really hope that the new one I buy doesn’t have this problem.  On the other hand, I guess that I am luck that it didn’t fry my computer.  In all the years I have been dealing with Dell, this is the only time I have had a bad experience……

  43. I bought 3 desktop and 1 laptop a few years ago, when i bought the laptop i also purchased the 56hw battery. with in 3 months that battery went from 2hrs run time to 45 minutes on minimal power usage (low brightness, 1024 res). i called dell and tech support told me it was out of the 90 warantee and i need to purchase a new on. even though the battery still works (sort of) if does get very hot and my battery was not on the defective recall list. Litium ion over heating is no joke even if its not on the recall list. I cant complaint about the prices but i guess the cost of cheap laptops means dealing with India call centers. Its starting to sound like Packard Bell (Pacakrd Dell).

  44. Hi you all. i have the inspiron 6400 ram 1 gb, hdd 120, display intel graphics video 256 but i cant update it. it says that there is a file missing. please help me out i am hopeless. Thanks.

  45. My Dad and step-mom bought this Inspiron 1501 laptop for me around January 2007. It is now March 15th 2008. Today tech support tells me the battery is nearing the end of its life. Literally less than 1.5 years and the 6 cell lith-ion battery in this thing is dying of electronic cancer. That is nuts. This is my first experience with laptops and laptop batteries, and I still expected to go about 2 to 3 years before experiencing issues with batteries that I have heard of.


    As pleased as I am with the Inspiron 1501 product, I am completely not with the batteries that dell sells. I see reviews are terrible for this battery in the products center of the dell site, but the 9 cell seems to have gotten good ratings which I have yet to read. My qualm is if dell is cheap enough to outsource to foreign countries for cheaper labor/production, then I assume the company will be cheap enough to dismiss customers on the basis of battery issues (I firmly believe that countries economies crumble when they oursource jobs to people other than their own; less jobs, less money spent by consumers, etc etc at the gain of the 1 person or group that owns the company, rather than the country and its citizens). Anyhow I am sorry to interject that, but I felt it was necessary to stress a point that logically supports my conclusion of companies dismissing customers on the basis of having to replace any items or parts whatsoever.

    I am a college student for web/software development and constantly need portability for notetaking and working on code on the fly (being hearing impaired and handwriting doesn't work at all, being a fast typer and reading lips while typing I can do well). Quickly getting to a point where I will have to plug the laptop in any time I use it defeats the purpose of laptops and the concept of portability. This system could very well become a simple sleek desktop computer which is what happens when a battery cannot be put in it or maintained. Being a full time student like many in the country and world, we're quite financially disadvantaged and cannot justify 135 bucks for another battery that will fail in 1.5 or less years, nor 300 bucks for the 9 cell battery.  


    Now we all know upset customers have threats to vent and what not, I don't. But I can share what a likely outcome will be of my upset. If dell will not make amends and compensations to it's victims of shoddy batteries, I myself would not purchase another dell product or recommend dell products (at least laptops anyhow) on the basis of marketed portability that quickly resolves to un-portability (deception, misleading) at precisely some very small point in time beyond the warranty coverage time. I find it highly suspicious that any part of any purchased product begins to die rapidly or loudly very shortly after the warranty goes kaput. In liu of my choice when the time comes to not use dell products or not recommend them, I know of one or two people with direct associations to business accounts that use and purchase dell products. It would be sad for dell if those accounts were horrified by my story about shoddy batteries and such, and took computing business elsewhere.

  46. Hi you all. i have the inspiron 6400 ram 1 gb, hdd 120, display intel graphics video 256 but i cant update it. it says that there is a file missing. please help me out i am hopeless. Thanks.

  47. Thank you for this outstanding article.I thought Centrino was the best technology for laptop battery performance.
  48. I purchased my XPS | M1210 through QVC in July or August of 2006.  From that time to present day, I have seldom used my computer on battery only.

    The other day I took out my computer to watch a movie and the battery was already dead.  The thing is, it was unpluged from the AC outlet to be transported to me at the hospital.  The battery should have been fully charged. 

    The I got was that my battery was at the end of its life.  Why is it going dead so soon?  I don't use any USB attachments when it is on battery use.

    My question is, is the battery up for recall? and if it is, are you replacing them at no cost to the customer.  I love my laptop, but I am very unhappy with the battery.  When I bought it, the salesman said it should last up to three (3) hours.  It never lasted more than two and a half hours.

    Please let me know what I should do before I go shopping for a new battery.


    Violet Mitchell



  49. Thank you for this outstanding article.I thought Centrino was the best technology for laptop battery performance.

  50. I bought a inspron 1501 for my wife for christmas 2006, since then I have had two software problems one that dell's tech support charged me to fix only for them to tell me there was noting eles they could do and i had to hire some to fix the problem in 10 minutes.  Now the computer is shutting down in the and the battery won't take a charge, and I almost foget the case around the hinge cracked.  I have all dell computer products in my house but it will not remain that way if thay don't stand behind their products.

  51. I want to know the battery number of mobile model -nokia 1600. Type-RH-64, Code:o525392 IMEI:356413/01/607743/5

  52. well this ended up being a dead end for me because unfortunately my computer is doing all they say it is and the underneath is burned and melted yet it isn't in their recall! I am going to call the 866 number anyway and see what can be done.

  53. I have been trying to get Dell to replace my battery for several years.  Numerous confirmations that a battery is on its way, but nothing ever delivered.   I called support several times and was eventually told to dial a number in Germany (International call !) which rang out for an hour without being answered.  I then submitted an "unresolved issue" – which has not been replied to – and two letters to UK and European HQs – unanswered.  Dell's internal systems seem to be confused that I bought the laptop in the US but am resident in the UK.

    I accept that I only noticed the recall three years after its announcement – but a recall is a recall.  My house insurers would probably be quite interested in the event of a fire!

  54. I bought my Inspirion 1525 battery in March 16.  I believe my battery is part of the recall.  I will check the website when it goes live later tonight.  I hope there are no problems.  I am worried and  removed my battery now.

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