Watch What You Put in Your Lap: Dell Investigating Notebook Fires

Dennis Faas's picture

For those of you who missed the rather sensational story a few weeks ago, Dell is apparently having a small problem with their laptops. That is, they are becoming known in the industry -- especially amongst the "tech tabloids" -- for products that spontaneously combust.

Now there's word from UK insiders that Dell has a stockpile of the burnt out systems, and is (hopelessly, perhaps) trying to keep the problem on the "down-low".

Last month, video surfaced on the worldwide web showing a laptop burst into flames not far from its Japanese owner. You can see a picture here.

Since the mishap, word is that Dell HQ has received a mountain of (literally) grilled technology, some where the outer casing has been so damaged by heat that it has melted away.

The cause? Reportedly, Dell is having difficulty with some of its batteries overheating. The problem has become so rampant that there is a formal investigation -- we are told -- at Dell to uncover the exact issue.

Thing is, this isn't the first widespread case of battery blowouts for Dell.

Not so long ago, right around last Christmas, Dell asked upwards of 35,000 Inspiron, Precision, and Latitude notebook owners to send their wares in under recall. Those affected were many of the mentioned laptop sub-brands built between October 2004 and October 2005. The problem then? Reports that three batteries had overheated (no word on if anyone's house burned down). (Source:

Clearly, Dell is not the only company experiencing problems with overheating technology. In April, HP recalled almost 16,000 of its own notebooks, and both Apple and and Fujitsu have requested recalls for hundreds of thousands of batteries (but rarely the entire system).

Nonetheless, it's a laptop -- a scary place to imagine flames pouring out.

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