Charred and melted: HP issues a battery recall for some models
HP has issued a safety recall for lithium-ion batteries in certain models sold between December 2015 and December 2017, including some replacement batteries. From the recall notice:
“The batteries were shipped with or sold as accessories for HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series), HPx360 310 G2, HP Envy m6, HP Pavilion x360, HP 11, HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) Mobile Workstations. The batteries were also sold as accessories or replacement batteries for the HP ZBook Studio G4 mobile workstation or for any of the products listed above.”
This recall affects models that sold for between US$300 and US$4000, so this wasn’t an issue of cost-cutting on budget models and this also affects models sold through retail shops and via online stores. This was a fault affecting units from one of HP’s battery suppliers, but to add some context, this isn’t a widescale problem across HP’s portfolio. There have been a relatively low number of reports (total of eight over two years) for overheating, melting, or charring, although three resulted in property damage that totaled US$4500, and one involved a first-degree burn to the hand. HP state that this only affects 0.1% of their total sales over that time. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission says that there are 50,000 units in the US and 2,600 in Canada that are affected by the recall, but we have no official figures for international sales.
HP provides a website and utility to check if your model is involved in the recall, which will offer to put the device into ‘battery safety mode’ where the battery will discharge and then refuse to accept a charge until this mode is disabled. HP recommends enabling the safety mode but leaves it up to the user to decide on whether they disable the ability to use the notebook without the charger connected. Models that are verified via the app are eligible for a battery replacement at an authorized repair center with no cost to the owner. Since a number of these are business laptops, HP has set up a system for validating and replacing bulk quantities of notebooks which can be found via the FAQ.