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Best Buy Recalls MacBook Pro Batteries 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-be-rebranded-as-iGrills dept.
redletterdave writes "A recent line of complaints from MacBook Pro users forced big box retailer Best Buy to finally issue a recall notice for 5,100 MacBook Pro replacement batteries after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advised customers to 'immediately stop using the recalled battery.' Both the CPSC and Best Buy received 13 individual instances of the MacBook Pro battery catching fire, with one incident resulting in 'a serious burn to a consumer's leg.'"
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Best Buy Recalls MacBook Pro Batteries

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  • Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday June 21, 2013 @06:13PM (#44074459) Homepage
    The summary might have mentioned that these were third-party batteries, yeah?
      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday June 21, 2013 @06:49PM (#44074715)
        You mean with batteries made by Sony? As such the issue wasn't isolated to Apple laptops but affected Dell, IBM, basically everyone who used Sony batteries. Yes Apple really was at fault for that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          YES, it is. Subcontracting doesn't absolve you of shit. You are ultimately responsible for any tasks you assign to others.

          Dell, IBM, "basically everyone else" are equally responsible - although of course any who have packaged the batteries as removable are showing a much more responsible approach.

          • YES, it is. Subcontracting doesn't absolve you of shit.

            This ^. Apply this to many other topics here on /. We may offload our work, but we don't offload our responsibilities. Not and be considered "responsible". Think about it.....

          • So Best Buy are responsible for this. They ordered the batteries from a third party. Apple is not connected in any way, nor responsible.

          • I can see where blame really resides. Apple releases mapping technology that isn't ready; that was their fault. Apple used batteries from a third party that had defects that everyone experienced and no one knew about forehand. How is that their fault?

            Um at the time of the Sony battery recall (2006), everyone including Apple used removable batteries. It wasn't until the MacBook Air (2008) was first introduced that Apple started sealing batteries. Also everyone else started doing the same.

        • by scdeimos (632778)
          I would have loved for this to be a Sony problem, but it was a Chinese manufacturer going by the name of ATG.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Apple is responsible for every component that they choose to put in their electronics. They are also responsible for the layout and design of their electronics, which may be the cause of these exploding batteries. This has happened many times with Apple products, since the first PowerBook computer/desktop hibachi. to exploding iPods, iPhones and Macbooks.
      • By your logic, if I modify my car, we should continue to hold $car_manufacturer accountable for any problems I have with the parts I added from other manufacturers, so long as $car_manufacturer had a problem with that part at some point in their history. That's moronic.

        Not only that, but as someone else has already pointed out, those batteries you're referencing were manufactured by Sony, not Apple, and affected a wide range of brands [cnet.com], not just Apple. Everyone involved made things right by engaging in the l

    • by tlambert (566799) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:13PM (#44074873)

      It could also have mentioned "2008"... the year the black and white plastic case Mac laptops and the replacement batteries from ATG were sold.

      Best Buy has been fighting this recall of the third party batteries they sold to these consumers for about 5 years now.

    • All Apple batteries are 3rd party, last I checked Apple doesn't actually make any batteries. The only difference is that Apple has learned from past fiascoes to install better quality 3rd party batteries then what you are going to get from Best Buy.

  • More Battery Issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by organgtool (966989) on Friday June 21, 2013 @06:27PM (#44074563)
    It's interesting to note that it's only a certain replacement battery offered by Best Buy. However, Apple's batteries haven't been much better in the past. I had two bulge out of their case before I decided to go with a third party battery. The third party battery has worked great ever since. However, incidents like these make me very hesitant to buy or recommend a unibody design since the battery is not user-replaceable.
    • by sincewhen (640526)

      And yet, I don't recall hearing about machines (from Apple or any other manufacturer) having battery problems lately.

      Could it be that this is just a bad batch of cheaply made 3rd party batteries? I think so.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:06PM (#44075365) Homepage

      First, the unibody Macs have batteries that are replaceable by anyone with a Torx driver and enough eye-hand coordination to use it. Secondly, if the Apple branded battery squashed bits inside the Mac, you'd have a good warranty claim to replace the whole computer. What's not to like?

      Currently, I think LiOn batteries are a crap shoot. Of the dozen or so I have on various bits of equipment, I've had one Apple brand battery expand rapidly, one aftermarket battery for an older white MacBook do the same, one Nikon battery actually start smoking, two Wasabi batteries go tits up and one GoPro battery just petulantly refuse to do anything right out the box.

      That's why all my battery chargers sit on a nice 1/4 thick aluminum plate with 72 inches of clear ceiling above them.

      • by cforciea (1926392)
        I think I'm obligated to say that only an Apple user would assume that one's laptop will replaced before its warranty expires.
      • by Agripa (139780)

        Secondly, if the Apple branded battery squashed bits inside the Mac, you'd have a good warranty claim to replace the whole computer.

        This is the standard failure mode for lithium polymer batteries. When they are overcharged, deep discharged, or wear out with age, they expand into any available space distorting their prismatic form factor and crushing anything in the surrounding environment. Normally there is no available space since products are designed to hold the maximum possible battery volume. The ba

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Currently, I think LiOn batteries are a crap shoot. Of the dozen or so I have on various bits of equipment, I've had one Apple brand battery expand rapidly, one aftermarket battery for an older white MacBook do the same, one Nikon battery actually start smoking, two Wasabi batteries go tits up and one GoPro battery just petulantly refuse to do anything right out the box.

        The problem is not the battery, it's energy density. Unfortunately, energy density is also related to two important factors - battery life

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:25PM (#44075857) Homepage
    • by antdude (79039)

      Does Apple even sell new non-unibody designs these days?

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Friday June 21, 2013 @06:55PM (#44074745)
    I'm going to say it right now: between the sensationalist and misleading summary (missing a slightly important point), and what the actual article says... this is going to be one giant "go RTFA fest" as the apple haters jump to conclusions and don't read the article.

    I'll give you a hint: why would Best Buy and not apple be doing the recall?

    Nothing personal against apple haters, my best friend is one. All I'm saying is, for a site where people often go off of the summary, without RTFA, this is a complete and total setup.

    I love you Slashdot, I've been here under one account or another since day one. Sometimes I think your editing is actually based on keeping me sentimental. Kisses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:18PM (#44075815)

    Please don't flame me into oblivion for saying that. I know Apple stuff is manufactured as cheaply as possible these days, but the fact of the matter is that Apple at least has standards given that they're a major corporation. They generally know what they're doing on the hardware end of things, and can be held accountable if a battery explodes or bursts into flames and burns down your house.

    I have personally dismantled one of these effected batteries (on a consultation contract from an insurance company). The insides look nothing like the equivalent Apple replacement P/N. For one, the Apple batteries are actually pretty advanced- they've got a built in uC that actually monitors a bunch of variables pulled off the cell, and even keeps track of the number of cycles the cell has gone through and some min/max stuff from the last charging cycle. There's a temperature sensor and a whole bunch of fuses/disconnects designed to protect the unit from a hard short. The SMC built into the computer side communicates with the battery uC and provides a bunch of variable reporting, error handling, and emergency shutdown stuff.

    The third party battery basically has none of this. The external chassis is compatible with the Apple unit (as to fit in the laptop properly), but that's about it. The micro controller built into the third party battery basically does nothing- it only implements enough functionality to keep the SMC happy and allow the laptop to identify and use the battery. There are no thermal safeties, no fuses, nothing. The laptop should be able to detect a defective cell on the Apple branded unit and actually refuse to charge it- but that is impossible on these third party batteries because the uC is hardcoded to basically return "I'm OK!" irregardless of the physical state of the lithium packs.

    IMHO; these things shouldn't have been sold at all. The fact that they're going up in smoke now is absolutely no surprise. I can only compare the cheapness of these batteries to other "Apple compatible" accessories that come from third party companies in China. They skimp out on everything possible, and you get something that if you're lucky just barely works- and if you're not, then it burns your house down. If you want to check that kind of thing out, just google the difference between the official Apple USB wall chargers, and the design of the Chinese 3rd party equivalent. It is vastly the same thing with these lithium batteries.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)

      The laptop should be able to detect a defective cell on the Apple branded unit and actually refuse to charge it

      It is. Shortly before my last MBP went out of warranty the battery symbol was replaced with a warning sign and the dropdown menu informed me that the battery required attention from a service technician and wouldn't be charged until then. At the local certified reseller they connected a Firewire drive and booted into a diagnostic program, which informed them that the battery was damaged and needed to be replaced.

      I don't know if it's a reaction to the time when Sony accidentally sold IEDs instead of batter

    • I don't know if this was the site you were referring to, but it was a really interesting read and has lots of graphs and measurements and such:
      http://www.righto.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html [righto.com]

      It's shocking how different everything is!

  • Ship by air! The passengers don't have to know.

  • typical (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @02:49AM (#44077019)
    You go to the manufacturer of any laptop and a brand new original battery is usually $150+. Ebay gets you a $20 3rd party battery with sketchy cells, a 6 month useable life, and typically the wrong chip so it won't charge. Batteries Plus or Best Buy charge at least $100 and then give you a sketchy 3rd party battery, making them both the worst possible option. Why people even still go to them is beyond me.

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